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Three face murder charges in fatal home invasion

Posted: April 24, 2012 - 9:27am  |  Updated: April 24, 2012 - 11:12pm
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Leonard Jamal Walton, 18, of Maywood Drive in Martinez.  Hand Out
Hand Out
Leonard Jamal Walton, 18, of Maywood Drive in Martinez.

Twitter @ValerieRowell

Three men allegedly involved in a fatal home invasion last month will face murder charges.

The men, along with another fatally shot during the Feb. 29 attempt to rob a Martinez apartment, targeted the homeowner believing he had cash for buying video games.

Leonard Jamal Walton, 18, of Maywood Drive in Martinez; Jose Lopez-Gamero, 21, of North Belair Road in Evans; and Edward Albert Brown III, 19, of Bridgeton Road in Augusta, were indicted last week on murder, criminal attempt to commit robbery, burglary and simple battery, according to court documents.

The murder charge stems from the fatal shooting of Justin Anthony Stephens, 19, who died while the three were in the process of committing a felony.

Authorities say Barrett’s 15-year-old son twice shot intruder Stephens as he and Walton forced their way into the Cedar Lane apartment and struggled with his father.

Lopez-Gamero and Brown were alleged accomplices who acted as the getaway driver and lookout, respectively.

At about 7:30 the night of the home invasion, Barrett told police he heard a knock on his door. When he answered, Stephens and Walton, wearing masks, forced their way in.

Barrett’s son saw the men struggling with his father and got a rifle from a bedroom.

After yelling at the men to leave, the boy fired two shots. Both bullets struck Stephens, who died just outside the apartment door.

Authorities say Walton ran away. After the shots, Brown got into a car driven by Lopez-Gamero and they went to a nearby convenience store. Walton ran out of the woods near the apartment and joined them in the car. They then went to a motel near Interstate 20.

All three men are being held in the Columbia County Detention Center.

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