A local man who was convicted of murder in Newton County, Georgia, after
driving there from Bridgeton and killing his ex-girlfriend’s son, was sentenced
to death this week over the tearful objections of cousins, friends and his
Rodney Young, 43, was convicted of murder, 2 counts of felony murder,
aggravated assault and burglary on Friday, Feb. 17, then sentenced to die on
Family members of the victim, 28-year-old Gary Lamar Jones, said that while the
sentence brings them some closure, nothing can ever bring back a life that was
cut far too short.
“Gary was everything. He was a model, a boxer, he went to church faithfully.
You couldn’t find anything wrong with him. He treated all the women in his life
like they were queens,” said his sister-in-law Malissa Solomon. “He worked with
kids at a school in Salem. He worked at the Devreux School for autism. And he
had just gone for his first orientation to be a sheriff’s deputy.”
Jones had moved to Georgia in 2001 and become a corrections officer before
starting to work at a Red Lobster in Covington, Ga., the city in which he was
His mother, Doris Jones, moved down there with him after a tumultuous seven
year on-again off-again relationship with Young.
On March 30, 2008, she came in the front door of her son’s home and found him
stabbed and beaten to death.
He had just come home from church and was still dressed in his Sunday clothes,
and had been tied to a chair with a telephone cord. A bloody butcher knife and
hammer were on the floor next to him and his cellular phone was missing.
According to a courtroom transcript, Young was not even on the investigators’
radar until he called Doris Jones a day after the murder to convince her that
Gary had come to him in a dream and told him to take care of her.
“She said that he had been crying and offered to come and get her and take her
back. . . Rodney Young told her he had a dream where the victim came to him and
told him to take care of his mom . . . she had heard Rodney Young had been in
the area when Gary Jones was killed,” the court notes read.
The investigators checked his place of employment, Aunt Kitty’s Foods, and saw
that he had requested off March 26-28 of 2008, a Wednesday through Friday. The
murder occurred Sunday and Young arrived 4 hours late for work that Monday.
He had requested those days off March 3.
Though he initially denied to investigators that he had even been in Georgia,
his cellular phone records showed that he had not only been in that state but
had only been two miles from the victim’s home.
Furthermore, the investigators found Jones’ cellular phone in Young’s bedroom.
He also had cuts on his knuckles that he claimed were from an unidentified
Young had exhibited violent tendencies during his relationship with Doris
According to court records from the penalty phase of the trial, she made an
unannounced visit to his home one night and he was noticeably displeased and
argued with her, then choked her.
She said in Aug. 2006 he started to call her telephone and bang on her house
window. When she looked outside, he smashed a brick into the hood of her car
and ran away.
She said she reunited with Young because he was persuasive, and after the
choking incident had started calling her and sending her nice gifts.
Jones lamented her son’s murder and said it had affected her life in strange
“G’s death has impacted my life drastically. There are days I don’t even want
to get out of bed. . . I am always depressed and find it hard to overcome. . .
I wake up screaming some nights because of the scene of my son’s death
replaying . . . I have a fear of unlocking doors,” she said in the court.
She sounded drained on the phone Friday afternoon, but said she and the rest of
Young’s family felt that justice had been served.
“I just got back last night,” she said.
She said she and about 10 other relatives traveled to Newton County to watch
When asked if she was satisfied with the outcome of the trial, she said, “He
did what he did. And no, God don’t choose no one to take no one’s life. But,
the judge went by the book, and actually everything he (Young) did fell right
underneath the death penalty requirements. I wasn’t the jury, my son can’t be
brought back, but it means some type of closure. It means that justice was
After Young’s conviction, some witnesses called by the defense asked for the
more lenient sentence of life in prison.
Mary Beth Galex, a former Bridgeton High School teacher, said she had tried to
teach he and other students that education was the way to a better life.
“Obviously we failed,” she said, adding, “We did what we could do. . .we were
the people who became their family.”
Wayne Hendricks, who knew Young since high school, said he could demonstrate
the value of life if they did not sentence him to die.
Young’s 16-year-old daughter, known only as A.R., said she wanted to go to
Clark Atlanta University to be close to her father, and then simply begged the
jury, “Please don’t kill my Dad!”
The jury of 7 women and 5 men unanimously sentenced him to death.
Malissa Solomon’s son, 8-year-old Terrance Jones, sat with her on Thursday as
he remembered his uncle Gary.
The 2 used to play baseball and football together, and he even recalled a time
when he was sitting in the rear seat of a car which his uncle was driving when
they hit a deer.
“I never liked (Young). The first time I met him he said ‘Hi,’ to me and I
didn’t say anything. I didn’t like him. I thought he was scary,” he said.
Solomon, who said the murder had a permanent negative affect on her
relationship with Terrance’s father, added that having her beloved
brother-in-law taken from her was a uniquely tragic experience.
“It’s a different cry when your life gets taken away by someone, than when
somebody dies of natural causes,” she said.
(source: The News of Cumberland County)