Ledger-Enquirer - - Front page - BY TIM CHITWOOD tchit­wood@ledger-en­

A jury con­victs Mer­rick Emory Red­ding of killing high school jan­i­tor Joseph Davis with a punch at a 2016 cook­out.

Mer­rick Emory Red­ding faces life in prison af­ter a jury con­victed him Mon­day of killing a lo­cal high school jan­i­tor with a sucker punch dur­ing a 2016 La­bor Day cook­out.

Af­ter about two hours’ de­lib­er­a­tion, the jury Mon­day found Red­ding guilty of felony mur­der and ag­gra­vated as­sault in the at­tack on Joseph Davis around 3:30 p.m. Sept. 5, 2016, at 2342 Bond Ave., in Colum­bus’ Oak­land Park neigh­bor­hood off South Lump­kin Road.

Pros­e­cu­tor Ray Daniel said Judge Bobby Peters must sen­tence Red­ding ei­ther to life in prison with pos­si­ble pa­role af­ter 30 years or to life with­out pa­role. Be­cause of Red­ding’s crim­i­nal his­tory, Daniel said he will ask for life with­out pa­role.

A sen­tenc­ing date has not yet been set.

Tes­ti­mony showed Red­ding had been us­ing drugs at a house across the street from the Bond Av­enue home where Davis was grilling food, and the woman who lived there kicked him out. So Red­ding walked over to the bar­be­cue, where he be­gan to bully Davis, who was cook­ing by a pickup truck un­der a car­port.

Wit­nesses said Red­ding ap- peared to be drunk when, with no ap­par­ent provo­ca­tion, he abruptly called Davis a “p---y m----r f----r,” twice.

Davis ini­tially was wary of Red­ding, fear­ing he’d be hit, but even­tu­ally he let his guard down, in­ves­ti­ga­tors said. That’s when Red­ding punched him hard in the face, and Davis fell onto the con­crete drive­way.

First re­spon­ders found him un­con­scious, and rushed him to The Mid­town Med­i­cal Cen­ter, now Pied­mont Colum­bus Re­gional. Later the 47-year-old was air­lifted to Grady Me­mo­rial Hos­pi­tal in At­lanta, where he died from head trauma the next day.

He was a jan­i­tor at Colum­bus’ North­side High School, where stu­dents and staff mourned his pass­ing.

Red­ding, who’s now 53, had left Bond Av­enue by the time po­lice ar­rived, so they ob­tained war­rants for his ar­rest. He turned him­self in a week later.

Dur­ing Red­ding’s pre­lim­i­nary hear­ing in Colum­bus Recorder’s Court on Sept. 14, 2015, po­lice Cpl. Donna Baker said wit­nesses told in­ves­ti­ga­tors Davis was lean­ing against the pickup truck as he and Red­ding talked, and then Davis raised an arm as if “pre­vent­ing Red­ding from strik­ing him.”

Baker added: “Once Mr. Davis low­ered his arm, Mr. Red-

ding acted as if he was about to walk away. Then he turned around and struck Mr. Davis on the side of his face. At which point in time, Mr. Davis fell to the ground.”

The jury found Red­ding not guilty of mal­ice or de­lib­er­ate mur­der, but guilty of felony mur­der for caus­ing Davis’ death while com­mit­ting the felony of ag­gra­vated as­sault, and of ag­gra­vated as­sault. Red­ding was rep­re­sented by de­fense at­tor­ney Ken­non Pee­bles Jr. of Du­luth, Ga.

Daniel filed pre­trial doc­u­ments out­lin­ing Red­ding’s pre­vi­ous of­fenses, which dated back to a bur­glary con­vic­tion in 1982.

His other cases in­cluded theft by re­ceiv­ing stolen prop­erty, in 1987 and in 1993; es­cape in 1998; be­ing a ha­bit­ual vi­o­la­tor in 2003 and 2015; and ob­struct­ing a law en­force­ment of­fi­cer in 2009, ac­cord­ing to court records.


Mer­rick Red­ding, 53, lis­tens to tes­ti­mony in Su­pe­rior Court dur­ing his trial. The jury found Red­ding guilty of felony mur­der and ag­gra­vated as­sault in the at­tack on Joseph Davis in 2016.

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