Suspect pleads guilty to lesser charges in 2016 house party murder

Published: Nov. 28, 2022 at 12:58 PM EST
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COLUMBUS, Ga. (WTVM) - A six year murder case comes to a conclusion today - with many twists and turns from start to finish.

The past six years have been a legal rollercoaster for the family of the late Richard Collier.

“This was the best, worst case scenario,” said Dawn Boyd, Richard Collier’s mother.

Drevon Johnson, the man accused of killing the late Richard Collier, owned up to shooting the 24-year-old at a house party on Hodges Street in Columbus in 2016.

Richard Collier with his niece
Richard Collier with his niece(Source: Richard Collier's family)

His guilty plea comes with 15 years in prison and another 10 on probation.

“It was communicated with us, we’re definitely not okay with it,” said Boyd on the sentencing of Johnson. And that’s for a number of reasons, says Boyd.

Johnson is pleading guilty to a lesser charge of voluntary manslaughter - not murder. Johnson’s attorney says he gets credit for time served - and he’s been in jail for the past six years.

“This is not the outcome we wanted,” said Boyd.

He is also pleading guilty to charges he’s accumulated while being in the Muscogee County Jail. Prosecutors say Johnson is seen on video chasing after three inmates who came into his cell with a shank in his hand.

He’s also charged with an obstruction of government property - a felony - for an altercation where he damaged a TV.

“At this point, the state is now represented by competent counsel who know what they are doing in terms of proceedings on this matter,” said Judge Mullins.

Here’s history on the case:

The case was first tried in April 2021 by former District Attorney Mark Jones - which ended in a deadlocked jury split 8 - 4, leaning towards Johnson being not guilty due to lack of evidence and witnesses.

You’ll recall this same case got caught in the middle of Jones’ ethics violation case for conduct between Jones and a potential witness after trial.

Previously, confidence was low that if the case would’ve gone to trial this time around, Johnson would get off. According to his attorney, what changed is Johnson picking up the charges in prison, which influenced the decision to take the plea deal.

Dawn Boyd says healing comes next for the family as they continue to remember and honor Richard Collier’s legacy.

“Now we don’t have to focus anymore on the defendant and we can focus more on Richard’s life and celebrating it,” says his mother.