On July 22, 2008, Samuel Steward, 16, was shot dead at the corner of Avery Street and Allgood Road, in a neighborhood just north of the 120 Loop, near the Elizabeth Porter Recreation Center.
At 9:45 p.m. that night, two teenagers were robbed at gunpoint for a few dollars and a cellphone. Steward was shot in the head twice and died a few hours later. The other teen, DeMarco Tyler, survived and testified about the shooting.
On Friday, a jury found Dequontist Lucas, 29, of Lithonia, guilty of all 12 charges, including felony murder, armed robbery, aggravated assault, and use of a firearm by a convicted felon.
Steward’s mother, Cordelia Gober of Marietta, said she was in disbelief that July day in 2008 when she got the call about her son being shot.
“It wasn’t real at all,” Gober said about seeing her son lying motionless in his hospital bed.
The Cobb County Police Department investigation into the killing ran dry until a woman involved in the robbery confessed to what she witnessed that night.
In March 2011, a DeKalb County investigator was interviewing Lucas’ onetime girlfriend, Quatney Sapee, about a deadly shootout in DeKalb, when she volunteered information about the Marietta teen’s murder, according to the Cobb District Attorney’s Office.
Sapee, who testified at the trial this week, told investigators she was driving Lucas and another man that night in her Ford Explorer. Lucas and the second suspect got out of the car and told Sapee to circle around.
Sappe said she came back just in time to witness Lucas shoot Steward, according to the Cobb District Attorney’s Office.
The other man involved in the killing, a 6-foot-tall, light-skinned black man, has never been found by police.
“(Sapee) testified that she didn’t know his name. Lucas remained silent all along,” said Kim Isaza, spokeswoman for the Cobb District Attorney’s Office.
Gone, but not forgotten
Gober said waiting three years for an arrest was difficult, but she had to keep hoping and praying for a victory.
“Until somebody say something, that is all you can do is wait,” Gober said.
Gober credits her friends and neighbors for never letting the death of her son be forgotten.
“It is easy for people to lose focus,” Gober said. “You have to let people see you, and know you are still looking.”
Even though the guilty verdict will not bring Steward back, Gober said she feels safer knowing Lucas’ name.
“I wanted to see the face of the man who shot my son,” Gober said.
Cobb Superior Court Judge S. Lark Ingram will sentence Lucas at 9 a.m. Oct. 23, at which time he could receive two life sentences plus 20 years.
Lucas is already serving a 20-year sentence stemming from two DeKalb convictions involving a gunfight on Oct. 20, 2008, when a stray bullet flew through a nearby apartment window and killed a 30-year-old mother of three children.
Six or seven months before his murder, Gober said Steward had just returned home from California where he was touring with a rap group.
Gober said her son was shot a block away from their home. She has since moved away from the Allgood area, but still lives in Marietta.
Friday afternoon, Gober said friends and family were “toasting to Dra,” and sharing memories of Steward while standing on the corner where he was shot.
“I still just see his smile and I can still hear his voice,” Gober said.