Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard Jr. announced Friday the guilty plea and conviction of Gregory Favors, 33, on seven charges, including felony murder, aggravated assault on a peace officer, theft by taking and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.
The sentence handed down by Fulton County Superior Court Judge Shawn LaGrua is for life without the possibility of parole plus 55 years to be served consecutively.
Chadwick LeCroy was shot and killed December 27, 2010, after attempting to pull Favors over on a traffic stop for a broken tail-light, according to the Fulton County District Attorney’s office.
After a brief chase, Favors crashed the vehicle near the intersection of Hightower Road and St. Paul Avenue in Atlanta.
As LeCroy approached the wrecked vehicle, never drawing his weapon, Favors fired three shots, striking LeCroy once in the neck, said the Fulton County District Attorney’s office about the footage captured on the trooper’s dashboard camera.
LeCroy, 38, died at the scene, leaving behind his wife, Keisha, as well as their sons, Bret and Chase, who were 21 and 10 years old at the time their father died.
After Favors’ indictment, the state filed notice to seek the death penalty.
But after recent in-depth meetings with LeCroy’s widow, the Fulton County District Attorney’s office decided to only pursue life in prison.
“Normally, when an officer is killed in the line of duty under the circumstances outlined in this matter, the state would proceed with a death penalty prosecution regardless of the length of time involved in the disposition of the case,” Howard said. “In this case, however, Mrs. LeCroy and her family asked us to consider a life without parole sentence in an effort to shield her family, particularly her young sons, from a lengthy trial and appeals process.”
Why was Favors on bond, roaming the streets?
Favors was a repeat offender with a long criminal history, including 19 arrests and 10 felony convictions, according to the Fulton County District Attorney’s office.
At the time of the shooting, Favors was out on bond for charges of entering an auto, possession of cocaine and obstructing a law enforcement officer in Fulton. He was released on bond just two weeks before he shot LeCroy.
With an 11-year rap sheet, many Cobb residents asked why Favors was a free man, out driving the streets December 27, 2010.
Cobb Superior Court Judge Steven Schuster signed off on a plea deal for Favors in May 2010, putting him on probation for five years.
After an arrest just months later in Fulton, Schuster said he questioned why Favors’ probation officer didn’t seek a warrant revoking his probation.
“Why was he let out of Fulton County Jail twice without anyone ever picking up on this?” Schuster asked less than a week after the shooting. “It is so utterly senseless that this happened, and it never should have.”
On Tuesday, Schuster said it would be improper to comment on last week’s plea deal, but he said he stands by his statements from 2010.
Support from officers, community
A few days after the fatal shooting in Atlanta, the brotherhood of the Georgia State Patrol was evident as LeCroy’s casket was pulled by a horse-drawn carriage from Mayes-Ward Dobbins Funeral Home to Roswell Street Baptist Church where the funeral was held.
The ceremonial honor was just the beginning, says Roger Parker, the Executive Director of the Georgia chapter of Concerns of Police Survivors.
C.O.P.S. provides support mechanisms to Georgia agencies who lose an officer, as well as programs for peers and family, including retreats for spouses, parents, siblings and children.
“We want to be sure that we are there for them every day … to rebuild their shattered lives,” said Parker, whose nephew, Robert Ingram, died in July1993 while serving in the Cobb County Police Department.
C.O.P.S. has stayed in touch with the LeCroy family.
LeCroy has not been forgotten by the Cobb community either.
In March 2011, the Sandy Plains Wildcats youth baseball team dedicated their season to the fallen State Trooper by hanging a jersey with LeCroy’s badge number — 744 — in the dugout, one of many honors and remembrances conducted in the county over the years.