Local Man Charged With Killing Bystander Indicted

ARRESTED | Robert Smith
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By: Lanetra Bennett
August 12, 2014

Bainbridge, GA - A man charged with shooting and killing an innocent bystander is headed to trial. A Decatur County Grand Jury made that decision Tuesday afternoon.

Robert Smith is charged with felony murder, aggravated assault, and possession of a firearm during a crime. The 19-year-old has been indicted on all three counts.

The grand jury met all day Tuesday behind closed doors at the Decatur County Courthouse.

After listening to the State's evidence, 23 jurors decided that there was enough evidence to send Robert Smith to trial.

Smith is charged with shooting an innocent bystander, 18-year-old Octavious Powell, on May 20th.

Authorities say Smith had a fight with a group of people early in the day, and later that night, authorities say Smith fired a gun toward a nearby graduation party at the American Legion.

Joe Mulholland, the District Attorney for the South Georgia Judicial Circuit, says, "The victim, unfortunately, just happened to be at the wrong place at the wrong time. He really had nothing to do with the prior altercation between the defendant and some other individuals here in Decatur County. He was needlessly killed as a result of him being present at the party."

Smith's trial is scheduled for November.

The grand jury decided on a total of 55 cases Tuesday. Included was Kenneth Wayne Meredith. He was charged with child molestation and sexual exploitation of a child.

The other cases ranged from attempted murder and aggravated batter, to theft and possession of drugs.

By James Buechele

Bainbridge, GA

"Everything about him just glowed," said Octavious Powell's father Elex Worlds.

Worlds says his son was friendly and everyone got a long with him.

"Tried to keep people laughing all the time."

Powell was at a graduation party at the American Legion. The party then moved to the Gibbs-Miles apartment complex.

That's when an argument between two groups of men turned into gunfire. Police say Robert Smith, 19, shot a hand gun which led to more bullets being fired. But only one did damage.

Octavious, an innocent bystander, was shot in the abdomen. He died from his injuries early Wednesday morning.

"The doctors said they did all they can you know. And he was a good boy."

It's still unclear what caused the fight but law enforcement officials say the group that fired shots started arguing earlier in the day.

"[Robert] Smith and some of his friends got in an argument with another group of guys and it just kind of lead over into the night," said Bainbridge Public Safety PIO Adrienne Harrison.

Smith faces one count of felony murder. As for Worlds, he now has the difficult process of planning his son's funeral. He hopes people can learn from this.

"What they need to really do is put the guns down and handle your thing like a man. You know, you'll live to see another day but as of this time, one shot took him out."

News Release: Bainbridge Public Safety
May 21, 2014

Bainbridge, GA - Shots were fired at the Gibbs-Miles Homes on Sims Street near the American Legion just before midnight last night.

20-year-old Octavious Powell was hit during the shooting. Powell was transported to Bainbridge Memorial Hospital where he later died.

There was a party at the American Legion, and the area near Gibbs-Miles Homes served as overflow parking.

Bainbridge Public Safety interviewed a number of witnesses at the scene. They said there were two groups of people arguing in the parking lot. Powell was not involved in the argument, but was an innocent bystander.

Witness identified Robert Smith as one of the shooters. Smith has been arrested and is charged with felony murder.

More arrests may be pending as the case is still under investigation.

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