Percy Lee Burdine Jr., 31; Jalin Dewayne Collins, 20; and Brandon Tyler Love, 19; are all on trial, accused in the killing of 53-year-old Milton Carl Kelley at his Leicester Drive home in the Canterbury West subdivision off Bells Ferry Road near Kennesaw on April 21, 2012.
They are accused of assaulting Kelley and shooting him with a handgun. Neither the arrest warrants nor the indictments state which suspect actually pulled the trigger or what led to the shooting.
Love was arrested April 24, 2012, and Collins and Burdine were arrested the following day. They all remain in the Cobb County jail without a bond.
According to the May 30 indictment, all three face charges of murder, two counts each of aggravated assault and one count each of possession of a firearm during the commission of a crime and misdemeanor marijuana possession.
The maximum penalties for the charges are: death or life in prison with or without the possibility of parole on the murder charges, five to 20 years in prison on the aggravated assault charges, five years on the possession of a firearm charge and up to one year in prison on the charge of possession of less than an ounce of marijuana.
Burdine is being represented by Marietta attorney Gary Jones, who said his client is not guilty because he wasn’t even at the scene when Kelley was killed.
“He was dragged into this because he is acquainted with the deceased,” Jones said. “(Burdine) doesn’t really even know these other two guys really well.”
Jones said in his understanding of the case, Love and Collins went to Kelley’s home for a reported drug transaction with two women. One of the men supposedly shot Kelley, they fled back to the car and one of the women drove them away.
Jones said at no point was his client at Kelley’s home during this incident, but investigators said Burdine spoke to Kelley sometime that night before the shooting to arrange a drug transaction and purchase of marijuana.
“My guy was somewhere else but he’s being charged as an accessory, but I really don’t see the evidence there to convict him of murder,” Jones said. “Felony murder is such a dangerous rule, no one is safe.”
The Marietta attorney also doesn’t understand why the case is being treated like an attempted robbery or why the two women in the getaway car were not charged.
“It’s a really weak case and a stretch for a robbery gone bad,” he said.
In response, Cobb Assistant District Jesse Evans, who is handling the case for the state, said he would not comment about the facts of a case.
But, he did say that two important legal concepts can be applied in this case where two or more people committed a crime — “party to the crime” and “conspiracy culpability.”
“Under these legal principles, individuals can each be held legally accountable for the others’ actions,” Evans said.
Collins’s attorney is listed as Terrence Bradley of Marietta and Love’s is Michael Ivan, also practicing in Marietta.
The trial will be held in Judge Stephen Schuster’s courtroom.