HomeNewsCrime & CourtsFamily of Augusta man dispute finding of suicide

Family of Augusta man dispute finding of suicide



Jevonte Romeo Lyons’ death last year made no sense to the people who loved him.

The tall, slender 21-year-old old had a job and plans to marry. His family contends he wasn’t suicidal. The night of Nov. 10, 2021, he wasn’t drunk, or high. He wasn’t traveling with anything illegal except, according to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, a stolen Taurus 9 mm handgun.

That night, Lyons died from a gunshot wound to his head.

Law enforcement officers and the district attorney, whose circuit includes Wrens in Jefferson County, contend Lyons shot himself that night. Lyons’ family, now represented by Atlanta attorney and former Fulton County district attorney Paul Howard, suspect police killed Lyons.

On Oct. 22, Lyons family held his delayed funeral, and Howard conducted a press conference. Dr. Michael Baden, who has spent the past 40 years building a persona as a renowned forensic pathologist, opined Lyons didn’t shoot himself because there was no gunshot residue around the entry wound on the right side of his head.

A medical examiner with the GBI classified Lyons’ death as suicide. Dr. Rochelle Simon noted in her report there was no sign that the gunshot wound was either a contact wound or one caused by a gun fired at close range.

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Neither Dr. Baden nor Dr. Simon noted in their opinions whether the medical personnel who tried to save Lyons’ life might have cleaned or otherwise altered the condition of the gunshot wound.

The Augusta Press obtained a copy of the GBI investigative report from Middle Georgia Judicial Circuit District Attorney Tripp Fitzner. He was the district attorney who indicted three Washington County sheriff deputies in the death of 58-year-old Eurie Martin who died after being repeatedly tased in 2017. Fitzner also successfully appealed a trial judge’s ruling to dismiss the murder charges.

Lyons’ case was different, though. Authorities decided not to pursue formal charges after reviewing the evidence, Fitzner said.

“Anytime there is a loss of life, it is an absolute tragedy. I wish they had their loved one and didn’t have to go through this at all,” he said of Lyons’ family.

Lyons’ encounter with the Wrens Police Department started about 8:30 p.m. Nov. 10, 2021, as he traveled south on Georgia Highway 4 in his white 2017 Toyota Corolla.

Wrens Police Officer William Jenkins was checking vehicles with a speed gun. He said he clocked Lyons going 64 mph in a 45-mph speed zone. Jenkins hit the lights and siren and followed Lyons who pulled over.

When Jenkins walked up to the driver’s side window, Lyons already had his window lowered and his driver’s license in hand. Jenkins told him he was getting a speeding ticket. He took Lyons’ license back to his patrol car and started writing up the ticket. He also called in to check for warrants on Lyons, a standard police practice.

Jenkins reported there was a hit, a probation violation warrant out of Henry County. He went back to Lyons and told him to get out the car. On the passenger side of Lyons’ Toyota was Cpl. Glenn Edwards who had decided to join Jenkins on the traffic stop. Jenkins said Lyons started arguing, saying there was a mistake that that warrant was already taken care of. The officers insisted he had to get out of the car and Jenkins and Edwards pulled on the door handles. That’s when, both later wrote, Lyons threw the car in gear and hit the gas. They said he did a U-turn in the road and headed back north. North is towards Augusta. It was also towards his home.

Jefferson County Sheriff Deputy Josh Hopper, who worked for the Wrens Police

Department on his days off, arrived as Lyons allegedly peeled out. All three officers jumped back in their vehicles and chased after Lyons as he drove – depending on who is reporting – 100 or 70 plus mph back through Wrens.

Jefferson County Sheriff Sgt. Chris Robinson also heard the pursuit on his radio and joined the chase.
Near the James Funeral Home at Quaker Road, Lyons hit a curb and busted his right front tire. Lyons didn’t stop though, the officers reported. He continued to flee until, about five miles outside city limits, he lost control of the Toyota, and flipped at least once. The vehicle came to rest right side up in the median.

The officers said they were approaching Lyons’ vehicle on foot when they heard what sounded like a gunshot. Around the deployed airbag they could see Lyons slumped over. At least two of the officers reported they saw Lyons right hand with a handgun nearby.

The handgun, according to the GBI was stolen in Conyers, Ga., on Feb. 21, 2020, from a vehicle parked outside a restaurant. The owner had left it in the car’s center console.

According to the GBI investigative report, Lyons’ mother failed to show for an appointment to view the officers’ bodycam footage as she had requested. A message left on her voicemail wasn’t returned.

According to attorney Paul Howard, the GBI refused to allow the family’s attorney to view the bodycam video. He also questioned what happened to Lyons’ cell and speculated that it was possible Lyons had recorded at least part of what happened that night.

The GBI file noted that an investigator also looked for Lyons’ phone in the vehicle and later at the scene of the crash where he encountered members of Lyons’ family also searching the area.
Howard indicated Lyons’s family may file suit. No lawsuit has been filed yet, however.

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  1. I’m sure the Lyons Family is still grieving their loss. I for one believe that all potential-inflicted tragedies should be investigated. Especially the one of November 15th 2022 that in my opinion was caused by potentia black male and political bullying. My heart and prayers go out to the affected families.

  2. I’m sure the Lyons Family is still grieving their loss. I for one believe that all suspected -inflicted tragedies should be investigated. Especially the one of November 15th 2022 that in my opinion was caused by potentia black male and political bullying. My heart and prayers go out to the affected families.

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