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Crime News The Real Murders Of Atlanta

Pregnant Woman and Her Fiance Shot Execution-Style By Killers Who Met In Prison

A "butt dial" leads Atlanta investigators to two men who murdered a young couple whose unborn baby miraculously survived.

By Joe Dziemianowicz

In Decatur, Georgia, snug homes and tree-lined streets were part of the peaceful community vibe.

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But on August 30, 2014, around 12:30 a.m., a frantic resident called 911. Calvin Reddick reported that masked men were outside his house.

“They were demanding that the occupants of the home allow them to come inside,” said Clint Rucker, former executive A.D.A with the Fulton County Attorney’s Office.

“They didn’t open the door,” Rucker told The Real Murders of Atlanta, airing Fridays at 9/8c on Oxygen.

Search for Abducted couple Jeronta Brown and Briana Brooks 

When officers arrived, the masked invaders were gone. But Reddick’s stepson, Jeronta Brown, 23, and his pregnant fiancee, Briana Brooks, 21, had been abducted by the criminals.

The young couple had gone food shopping and returned home while the masked men were there, according to journalist Linda Looney.

As police interviewed Reddick, the assailants called him from a blocked phone number. They demanded $150,000 for the pair’s safe return. The caller hung up before the call could be traced.

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A short time later, the phone rang again. Jeronta was on the line. He was in fear for his life, Briana’s, and their unborn baby’s, according to Rucker. When Reddick handed the phone to police, the caller hung up.

“That was last time that there is any communication to the family from the victims or the kidnappers themselves,” said Brett Zimbrick, a former detective with the Atlanta Police Department.

Reddick had seen the assailants drive away in a light-colored van. A BOLO was put out on the vehicle. It was “all hands on deck” in the surrounding jurisdictions, said Adam Abate, assistant district attorney for the Fulton County D.A.

Investigators learned that the missing couple had met two years after she graduated high school. Their inner circle described Briana as “spunky and feisty” and Jeronta as “very quiet.” They were opposites who attracted.

By 2014, they had two children with a third on the way. She was seven months pregnant and her baby shower was scheduled for later in the day on August 30.

(L-R) A photo of Jeronta Brown and Briana Brooks, featured in Real Murders of Atlanta 213

Jeronta Brown found dead, Briana Brooks clings to life

Shortly before dawn, two bodies were found along a remote road in northwest Atlanta. They were identified as Brown and Brooks, who’d both been shot in the back of the head. Brooks was dead, while Brown was clinging to life.

She was rushed the hospital where her baby daughter was delivered healthy by emergency C-section. Brooks was placed on life support.

Investigators searched the scene were the bodies were found. Shell casings recovered indicated this was where the murders occurred.

Detectives focused on Reddick’s cellphone to try to track down the killers. They also set out to determine why Reddick would have been targeted in the first place. Why did they believe he had money to steal?

“Calvin admitted to us that he had received a $37,000 Social Security settlement,” said Zimbrick.

In addition, through gambling he had won $8,000 from David Bradshaw, who “was not happy” about that, according to Abate. Bradshaw’s airtight alibi cleared him from suspicion.

Bradshaw was able shed light on the case. “Calvin had been flashing a lot of money,” said Abate.

Money emerged as a motive behind the crime, which took another devastating turn two days after the shooting. Brooks was declared brain dead. Before being taken off life support, her organs were donated to help others.

“I had to do this for her because that’s what she wanted,” said her mother, Sadria Strong. “So if I couldn’t have her, other people would have her in other ways.”

With no leads in the double homicide, investigators searched for similar crimes in the area. On August 30, a woman in her 20s was reported kidnapped. She was recovered unharmed 18 hours later.

Zimbrick interviewed this victim. She was “not interested whatsoever in cooperating with the police,” he said. “It turns out that it was all staged.”

Phone records and a "butt dial" provide a break in the case

A week into the investigation, Reddick’s phone records came in. The call from the blocked number the night of the murders was from a burner phone.

Investigators sorted through a week’s worth of calls. Nearly 90 calls, including ones made the night of the murder, were to Tamikia Cook, according to Abate.

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“We asked her to identify the individual that called her from this particular phone number,” said Zimbrick.

She said she met him at a club and knew him only as E. She was released after the police interview.

Detectives called other numbers in E’s burner phone for possible leads, but were unsuccessful.

Police turned to the media to get the public’s help and a $20,000 reward was offered. Tips poured in, including one from James Wilson. He reported getting a disturbing voicemail at 12:56 a.m. on August 30.  

Andre Gay and Richard Wilson emerge as suspects

Investigators determined that it was an unintentional call — “a butt dial,” said Rucker. Wilson identified the caller as his nephew Andre Gay. A voice is heard in the recording saying, “We ain’t trying to hurt your baby, ma’am.”

Gay had just been released from prison eight months earlier after being convicted in a murder case involving a 39-year-old woman and her 17-month-old child, according to Rucker.

Police also identified Cook’s voice on the message. They confirmed that her phone had been used near the murder scene.

In exchange for her cooperation with investigators, Cook was granted immunity from prosecution. She told them that Gay and a man she knew only as “Fathead” planned to rob Reddick.

When they couldn’t gain access to Reddick’s house, they abducted Brooks and Brown and demanded the ransom.

When Reddick put the police on the line, “they got spooked,” said Looney. “That’s when things took a turn for the worse.”

Mugshots of Richard “Fathead” Wilson and Andre Gay, featured in Real Murders of Atlanta 213

Cook said she drove the van to the murder scene and heard the gunshots. Fathead was identified as Richard Wilson, who’d also been convicted of murder. He and Gay had served time in the same prison.

On September 25, Gay was taken into custody. Police informed him that he’d left a damning voicemail. He essentially told them, “Prove it,” according to The Real Murders of Atlanta.

In October, Richard Wilson was arrested at a pawn shop in Alabama and brought to Atlanta. He told police everything.

He detailed how Brooks and Brown were abducted and killed. “The investigation ultimately revealed that Briana and Jeranta were not the intended objectives of these masked gunmen,” said Rucker.

Andre Gay and Richard “Fathead” Wilson were indicted on multiple counts of murder, armed robbery, kidnapping, aggravated assault, and weapons charges.

They pleaded guilty to all charges and each received four consecutive life sentences without the possibility of parole.

To learn more about the case, watch The Real Murders of Atlanta, airing Fridays at 9/8c on Oxygen.