AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF) – District Attorney Jared Williams has released a statement regarding a prior self-defense shooting involving 21-year-old Antoine Redfield who is charged with Murder in the drive-by shooting death of 8-year-old Arbrie Anthony.
After two years of investigation by two separate District Attorney administrations, the realities of the
Redfield/Lawson case forced the State to dismiss the charges. This was not a judgment call. This was not a choice. This was a requirement by law.
When I took office in 2021, we immediately began reviewing the file and preparing it for trial. Multiple memos from 2020 noted this case was likely unprovable from the beginning, as Georgia is a “Stand Your Ground” state, which requires prosecutors to disprove claims of self-defense and defense of others. After a year of diligent work by the previous administration, my office worked an additional year to strengthen the case and overcome its problems.
This was a chaotic gunfight at a nightclub between four gang members, two of whom died. The lead investigator testified that he could not determine who shot first. Neither witness testimony nor physical and ballistic evidence could prove who shot whom. No firearms were recovered from the scene. Video of the incident did not show who shot first, preventing the State from proving that this was not self defense or defense of others.
It became clear that despite our best efforts, the State could not prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Redfield shot for any reason other than to save his own life or his friend’s life. The probable cause standard required for arrest warrants is much lower than the standard the State is held to at trial. While no prosecutor wishes to let violent gang members back on the street, no ethical prosecutor can try a man for murder without the evidence to prove it.
The circumstances that bring this case back to the forefront today are gut-wrenching, sad, and heart-breaking. Our prayers and condolences are with the family of Arbrie Leigh Anthony, a young child who deserved so much better than to lose her life. We pray for our community that so desperately needs healing after too much senseless violence. The District Attorney’s Office stands ready to prosecute violent criminals to the fullest extent of the law.District Attorney Jared Williams
In response, former D.A. Natalie Paine commented on D.A. Williams’ statement.
On March 3, 2020, the Richmond County Grand Jury indicted Charvez Lawson and Antoine Redfield on murder charges. On March 14, 2020, the Georgia Supreme Court shut down the judicial system for COVID. This lasted the duration of the remainder of my term. We had to indict the case within 90 days of arrest or the defendant would have been entitled to bond. As such, even though we were still gathering information at the time, we took the case to Grand Jury anticipating adding gang charges once we had the completed file. Those charges were supported by the evidence just as the gang charges would have been.
First Offenders and Convicted Felons are prohibited from possessing firearms in this state. Additionally, gang members engaging in a shoot out in the parking lot of a public establishment most certainly constitutes a violation of the Criminal Street Gang Act. There are always complications with cases that must be overcome; however, in situations where loss of life has occurred and public safety is at stake, my position was always that a jury of the defendant’s peers should decide the fate of the accused. What I can unequivocally state is that nothing that I am aware of regarding the Lawson/Redfield case would have ever caused me to allow or consent to an outright dismissal.
Arbrie Anthony’s precious young life was cut short by senseless gang violence. At the end of the day, every single person who sits back and does nothing while gang violence continues to rob our youth of their lives bares responsibility. My heart goes out to her family.Natalie S. Paine Chief Assistant District Attorney
Redfield is currently in custody in Columbia County on unrelated charges stemming from a traffic stop in Grovetown; Possession of Schedule II Drugs, Firearm Possession by Convicted Felon and Possession of a Firearm or Knife During Commission of or Attempted Crime.