Men sentenced to life in Barrow murder

WINDER - Michael Flournoy and Maurice Williams will likely spend the rest of their lives in prison for the May 27 murder of 21-year-old Aaron Lamar Gaddis.

Judge David Motes gave each man two life sentences plus 25 years in prison for felony murder, kidnapping with bodily injury, kidnapping, armed robbery and possession of a firearm during the commission of a crime.

Williams, formerly convicted of theft by receiving, was also sentenced to five years for possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.

The eight-man, four-woman jury deliberated about four hours before returning guilty verdicts. On the men's charges of malice murder, the jury deemed Flournoy not guilty and it reached no verdict on Williams' charge.

The men will be eligible for parole in 85 years, said prosecuting attorney Tim Madison, who is Barrow's district attorney.

Madison did not seek the death penalty.

Michael Williams burst into loud sobs shortly before sentencing while Flournoy's grandmother, Mary Green, pleaded with Motes to "have mercy on my child." She collapsed immediately after speaking.

Gaddis was shot in the heart during a drug transaction when the two men robbed him of 5 pounds of marijuana. Evidence pointed at Williams as the gunman and Flournoy, a former Marine and University of Mississippi wide receiver, as the scheme's mastermind.

Both men apologized to Gaddis' family and begged their forgiveness. Flournoy blamed his actions on a failed NFL bid.

"I didn't make it into the NFL, and I wanted people to see Maurice is still the man," Flournoy told a sobbing courtroom before sentencing.

Gaddis leaves behind a 3-year-old son, Tyce, his mother, Tracey Cooper, and his father, Gary Gaddis. Cooper recalled the last time she saw her son alive, just prior to the fatal drug deal.

"He hugged me so close and so tight and said, 'I'll see you tomorrow,'" Cooper said. "For awhile (after his death) I was mad at him because I thought he had lied to me. But I don't know what heaven time is like. The next time I see him it will be tomorrow."

Green, Flournoy's grandmother, said she continues to pray for the Gaddis family.

"It gives me peace to know Aaron was a born-again Christian," she said.