Macon – Bibb County jurors deliberated for more than an hour Friday before finding a Macon teenager guilty of murder and burglary.
Aurie Mathis was found guilty of two counts of felony murder and one count of burglary in the first degree. A Bibb County Superior Court judge sentenced him to life in prison plus an additional 20 years.
Prosecutor Dorothy Hull presented the following evidence during the three-day trial:
A Macon woman testified she was alone at her Bradstone Circle home in east Macon on the morning of June 9, 2017, when she heard her doorbell ring twice. She went to a window to look outside and saw a dark-colored car backing into her driveway. While watching the car, she heard the doorbell ring again.
The woman said she went to her walk-in closet to put on more clothing. Then, she heard a loud crash and knew that her front door had been kicked in.
She said she came face-to-face with an intruder at her bedroom door. They startled each other and the woman began screaming. She said she could see a man holding her TV in the living room. Both men started to run for the front door, but one of them turned and pointed a gun at her. She saw the muzzle flash and heard the shot fire, but the bullet instead struck the man who’d been holding her TV.
After hearing a car door close and the car drive off from her driveway, the woman called 911 and ran to a neighbor’s house.
When police arrived, they found 41-year-old Robert James Young Jr. fatally shot in the front doorway.
Young’s wife testified her husband left home that morning driving her black Volkswagen Passat. She was at home when her nephew, then-16-year-old Mathis, drove up in the Volkswagen and said Mr. Young – his uncle – had been shot and likely killed. Mathis described the general location of the shooting and Mrs. Young began driving in that direction. She followed emergency vehicles responding to the burglary victim’s 911 call to the house on Bradstone Circle.
Mathis’ mother admitted to police that Robert Young had picked up her son that morning.
Mathis was arrested at a Macon motel on June 30, 2017.
A crime scene investigator testified Mathis’ fingerprint was found inside the storm door of the house on Bradstone Circle.
Another east Macon woman testified that a few days before the shooting she’d been home alone when someone rang her doorbell. She said she went to the door and a young man asked if there were any houses in the neighborhood for rent. She answered and he left. The woman said she soon saw law enforcement officers in her neighborhood and learned that a house across from her had been burglarized. Her description of the person who rang her doorbell matched Mathis. She also said she’d seen a man in a dark-colored new-looking sedan.
“It’s a recipe for disaster anytime a gun is used during the commission of a crime,” District Attorney David Cooke said after the trial. “I hope this verdict and sentence send a message to Macon’s youth that burglary isn’t a low-risk crime. All too often, the day of the crime is the last day of freedom for one man and the last day of life for another.”
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Contact: Amy Leigh Womack