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Jury finds Covington man guilty of murdering cousin in 2019
Ivan Lovejoy Williams
A Newton County jury Thursday, Sept. 30, said Ivan Lovejoy Williams, shown, was shot and killed by Darnell Depriest in October 2019. (Special Photo | Newton County District Attorney's Office)

COVINGTON, Ga. — A Newton County jury has found a Covington man guilty of murdering his cousin almost two years ago despite his claim he acted in self-defense.

Darnell Depriest, 48, was found guilty of Felony Murder, Aggravated Assault, Possession of a Firearm During the Commission of a Felony, Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon, and Cruelty to Children in the 3rd Degree Thursday, Sept. 30, in Newton County Superior Court.

Judge W. Kendall Wynne, who presided over the case, set sentencing for a later date.

The jury found DePriest guilty of the Oct. 11, 2019, murder of his cousin and friend, Ivan Lovejoy Williams.

The two were drinking and got into a verbal altercation, during which Depriest retrieved a handgun and shot Lovejoy in the head. Lovejoy died a few days later at Grady Hospital in Atlanta. 

The jury rejected Depriest’s claim of self defense made at trial, according to the Newton County District Attorney's office.

Chief Assistant District Attorney Amber Dally, Assistant District Attorney Briana Carter, Investigator Colin Cunningham, Victim Advocate Ellen Bales, and Legal Assistants Cindi Hendrix and Sheila Cornelius prosecuted the case, the DA's office stated in a news release. 

Newton County Sheriff's Office, with Clinton French as the lead, originally investigated the case.