The family of Dequavious Mapp, the Rockdale County High School student who was shot and killed at a Conyers house party in 2010, is asking for the public’s help and offering a $25,000 reward for information that could help move the case forward.
The reward comes after the Rockdale County District Attorney’s office filed a notice in November 2011 that charges would not go forward to the grand jury on James Wansley Edwards, one of the persons arrested who reportedly fired a gun that night, because of a lack of evidence. Edwards had been held in jail until then.
The DA’s office reportedly plans to file similarly in the near future for Tevin Williams, the other suspect arrested in connection with the incident, who has been out on bond.
The Dec. 13, 2010 house party at Treeleaf Lane was at one point was estimated to have about 300 people and hosted by the 21-year-old son of the homeowner. A $3 cover charge was being collected in what had started as a 16-year-old's birthday party and progressed to where young men with unloaded shotguns were serving as “security.” Mapp had reportedly arrived at the party via taxi a short time before animosity flared up again between the “IBN” and “Street Boyz” groups. Shots were fired and Mapp, who died from his wounds, as well as two other teens were hit.
Sandra Snow, Dequavious’s mother, said she hoped the reward would convince people it would be worth the time and hassle of being involved in a murder investigation and trial.
“Somebody saw the shooting and may not think it may not be significant enough,” said Snow. “I’ve heard that people don’t want to take time off work to be in a long hearing.”
“People talk to each other but they don’t talk to the police. A lot of his friends have more information than they’ve given to the police, for whatever reason,” she said. “They’re more afraid of the police than they are of the other people.”
“Hopefully it’ll generate enough support and encouragement for people to come forth.”
In the November 2011 Notice that Charges Will Not Be Presented to the Grand Jury filing, District Attorney Richard Read said there were no witnesses that could identify a shooter or shooters.
Testing from the Georgia Bureau of Investigations and independent testing of the gun that Edwards brought investigators to reportedly showed that gun was not the one that fired the bullet that killed Mapp.
“At present, the weapon used to kill Mapp has not been recovered,” Read wrote.
The notice concluded, “Given the information outlined above, there is insufficient evidence to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that James Wansley Edwards caused the death and murder of Dequavious Mapp.”
Read told the News, “I believe there is a small group of individuals who know what happened to Dequavious Mapp and they know the circumstances of the shooting. However, that small group has either not come forward or has not provided truthful information to law enforcement at this time.”
He continued, “Sometimes with a particular type of case, law enforcement and prosecution cannot do the job themselves. They need members of the community who have influence over young people who possess information and evidence to step forward and do the right thing. This is that type of case.
“We need folks who have influence to encourage the young people to step forward and tell us what they know about the circumstances of the shootings.”
Snow said she moved Dequavious and his older siblings to Rockdale from Stone Mountain about two years before his death.
“I got divorced and gave up the home and moved my children to a place where I thought education was free. It wasn’t as crowded,” she said. “I expected to raise my kids, not watch them die.”
Dequavious’s older brother was killed in 2009 in a robbery turned murder in DeKalb.
“I was hoping for a better future for my kids,” she said.
Snow said she and the parents of the other two teens wounded by bullets that night, Andre Peterkin and Khaleel Sylvester, are reportedly filing a civil lawsuit against the city of Conyers and the Conyers police.
“They had a telephone call earlier that there was a lot of trouble at the house. The kids that was securing the house had (guns),” she said. “The party should have stopped. Whether the bullets was in that gun or not, they should have stopped the party at the first sign of overcrowding.”
Anyone with information can call Sandra Snow at 678-934-2076 or the Conyers police at 770-483-6600.