RIVERDALE, Ga. — A young suburban Atlanta man accused of shooting and killing a homeowner who gave him a place to stay says he’s not guilty of murder.
His mother, however, thinks her son did it and turned him in.
Joseph Stephens, 21, is being held without bail in the shooting death of Goldy Watkins, 59, after Watkins was found shot twice inside his Clayton County home after trying to kick Stephens out for stealing from him.
Stephens was on the run from authorities until his mother tricked her son into thinking she was going to help take him to another state and hide him. Instead, she stopped at a gas station and called the police.
Police said Stephens had a weapon on him when they arrived. They didn’t indicate if it was the murder weapon.
“(The mother) did the right thing and overall she facilitated his arrest, but it made him safe,” Clayton County police Maj. Joseph Woodall said. “It kept my officers safe and it kept him safe as well.”
Another resident inside the home said he hear the shots rang out.
“I heard the shots when I was upstairs,” Michael Isler told Channel 2 Action News.
Isler said he rushed downstairs and found Watkins tied up inside a room. ”He was shot. I asked him who shot him and he say, ‘Black shot me,’” Isler said.
Woodall said Watkins also told detectives Stephens shot him. ”Mr. Stephens had been living with him for some time, and I believe he found out that he was in fact utilizing his debit card, unauthorized to do so,” Woodall said.
He said there was an argument and that’s when Watkins was shot. Officers said Stephens left in the victim’s black 2007 Dodge Ram pickup truck.
Neighbors said Stephens is the brother of Watkins’ girlfriend. They said Stephens didn’t have anywhere else to stay.
“And he was nice enough to let him stay here with him,” neighbor Ed Norris said. ”He opened up his house. He would do it for anybody around here. He was that type of a person. He was a good man,” neighbor Floyd Jones said. Watkins gave Isler a place to stay, as well. He said his friend didn’t deserve to die this way.
“Good, they need to get him and stick him up under the jail,” Ed Norris said. “He’s the only one that’s there that could do it.”
This is the final chapter in a tragically sad year for Watkins. Neighbors told reporters that Watkins’ wife and twin brother also died this year.
Stephens, according to police, wanted to relay to his mother that’s sorry and to take care of his children.