Life sentence in Windy Hill Road killing

photo of Cobb Superior Court building from the front with a blue sky with clouds in the background

A Riverdale man was sentenced to life in prison for a murder at a Windy Hill Road apartment in October of 2016.

Cobb County District Attorney Joyette Holmes announced that Charon Brazzel, 29, pleaded guilty to murder, aggravated battery, aggravated assault, and two firearms-possession charges after two days of testimony in his trial

The sentence of life in prison plus five years was handed down Wednesday morning by Cobb Superior Court Judge C. LaTain Kell. Brazzel has remained in custody since his arrest, and will get credit for the time he has already served.

The DA’s office described the crime and Brazzel’s arrest as follows:

The investigation by Cobb Police found that just before 10 a.m. on Oct. 4, 2016, Brazzel and Carl Maurice McCline, 29, of Smyrna, drove to a residence in the Belmont Place Apartments on Windy Hill Road. Brazzel was armed with a Rohm RG .38 special revolver, a distinctive-looking handgun that he was known to carry, and told McCline that he needed a ride to buy marijuana. McCline sat on steps outside the residence while Brazzel went inside, where he confronted Esmond Ford and unloaded his revolver, shooting and killing Ford, and shooting a second man twice, in the eye and arm. That man fled the apartment and called police. McCline, meanwhile, ran to his vehicle at the sound of gunshots, followed quickly by Brazzel, and they then drove to McCline’s home.

Police first caught up with McCline, who had Brazzel’s handgun with him. Cobb Police detectives then interviewed McCline and other people on scene and determined the shooter was Brazzel. The fugitive unit located Brazzel three days later, on Oct. 7 — which would have been Esmond Ford’s 26th birthday. Brazzel told detectives he went to the apartment with a plan to shoot Ford, to avenge an alleged wrong against his girlfriend and amid other disputes he had with Ford.

On Monday McCline pleaded guilty to aggravated assault and two firearms-possession charges. He was sentenced to 20 years, 10 years to serve in prison and the remainder on probation by Judge Kell.

“No resolution will ever bring Esmond Ford back, or undo the permanent injuries suffered by the other individual shot,” said Assistant District Attorney David Williamson, who prosecuted the case along with ADA Nicola Rossi. “Senseless violence and terrible choices mean four families are forever changed by the crimes committed that day. This is a fair and just resolution to an awful situation.”