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Decatur man found guilty of 2019 murder at Covington residence
Keyonte Preston faces Tuesday sentencing; was 18 at the time of shooting that followed home invasion
Judge Horace J. Johnson Jr. Judicial Center
The Judge Horace J. Johnson Jr. Judicial Center - photo by Courtesy of Newton County

COVINGTON, Ga. — Sentencing was set for Tuesday, Oct. 26, for a Decatur man found guilty of a murder during a home invasion and armed robbery in Covington in 2019.

A jury found Keyondre Bernard Preston, 20, guilty of the April 2019 murder of Shelvis Hillman and other crimes, according to information from the Newton County District Attorney's office. 

The jury in Newton County Superior Court Thursday, Oct. 21, found Preston guilty of Malice Murder, Felony Murder, three counts of Armed Robbery, three counts of Aggravated Assault, two counts of Burglary, and three counts of Possession of a Firearm During the Commission of a Crime.

Preston, at the time of the murder and other crimes, was out on bond from two separate armed robbery arrests in DeKalb County. The jury heard from the armed robbery victims and law enforcement that investigated the crimes, said District Attorney Randy McGinley. 

Deputy Chief Assistant District Attorney Jillian Hall, Senior Assistant District Attorney Alex Stone, Investigator Lisa Brown, Victim Advocate Shay Payne, and Legal Assistant Sheila Cornelius prosecuted the case, McGinley said. 

The Covington Police Department led the investigation with assistance from the Crisp County Sheriff's Office, Cordele Police Department, DeKalb County Police Department, and the GBI Crime Lab, McGinley said. 

His conviction follows an incident that began April 3, 2019, when Preston fired a shot at Stanley Hillman's dog. Hillman's son, Shelvis Hillman 40, confronted Preston about the shooting, Fox5 News reported.

Later that day, Preston, who was 18 at the time, and two other suspects forced their way into Shelvis Hillman's home and tried to rob him and the other residents. During that robbery, police said Preston shot Hillman in the abdomen.

A BOLO (be on the lookout) was issued and a $4,000 reward announced by Covington Police for information about the suspect following the incident at 4177 Washington St. in Covington. 

A Covington Police Department Facebook posting said Preston was known to have gang affiliations and had the nicknames “Peanut” and “Nephew." 

Covington Police worked with the Crisp County Sheriff’s Department to track down Preston for more than a week before Crisp County deputies said they received a tip that Preston was at the Ashburn Inn motel in Cordele, Fox5 reported.

A tri-county SWAT team assisted CPD detectives in making the arrest, Covington Police spokesman Capt. Ken Malcom told the news station. Preston was found traveling with an unnamed female and juvenile, authorities said.

Sentencing was set for Tuesday, Oct. 26, in Newton County Superior Court. Preston faces a minimum of life in prison, the DA said.