Two indicted for murder in slaying of Athens man in April 2023

Two Athens men this week were indicted on murder charges in the slaying of an Athens teen who was gunned down almost a year ago outside his home in Athens.

The shooting claimed the life of 19-year-old Brynarius Smith, who was shot to death along Cone Drive in the Nellie B Homes complex.

Athens-Clarke police announced the indictments Tuesday of Jacquavious Tyreek Smith, 22, of Rose Hill Drive and Shamon Ontae Elder Jr., 22, of Little Street.

Jacquavious Smith is not related to the victim, according to police.

Both suspects are also charged with four counts each of violating the state’s street gang law, a charge that brought in the assistance of the Georgia Attorney General’s Gang Prosecution Unit.

Birthday part: Block party in Athens straps police force as problems mounted

The gang involved was identified as the Red Tape Gang, which the Attorney General’s Office said has “strong connections to the east side of Athens.”

As recently as August, a suspect identified as a Red Tape member pleaded guilty to manslaughter in the death of a 19-year-old Athens man who was gunned down on Gaines School Road. In that case, the Attorney General’s Office also handled the prosecution.

Tuesday’s indictments include felony and malice murder and possession of a firearm during a felony crime. The murder charges carry life in prison sentences upon conviction.

Police said Smith was arrested Tuesday by the department’s street gang unit with assistance from the Safe Streets Task Force. The circumstances of his arrest were not released.

Street gangs: Two more sentenced in slayings of 3 Athens men targeted by street gang

Elder was already in the Athens-Clarke County Jail without bond at the time of his indictment.

Elder was arrested on Aug. 4 on charges of simple battery, aggravated assault, armed robbery, possession of a firearm during a crime and a misdemeanor charge of riot.

The evidence against both suspects was presented to the grand jury by the state's Gang Prosecution Unit with testimony from detectives in the robbery and homicide unit, gang unit, and Georgia Bureau of Investigation agents.

Police have not disclosed what they think is a motive for killing Smith, who was the father of a daughter. He was shot more than once and died at the scene, according to police.

Athens-Clarke Police Chief Jerry Saulters released a statement that he was proud of the efforts officers made in working the case and the assistance provided by the attorney general.

Attorney General Chris Carr also released a statement commending the gang prosecution unit for combating violent crime.

“When gang activity occurs, those responsible must be held accountable and anything less poses a significant risk to the entire community,” Carr said.

This article originally appeared on Athens Banner-Herald: Alleged gang members indicted for murder in death of Athens teen