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Richmond County DA drops earlier murder charge against man implicated in Arbrie Anthony shooting

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UPDATE: Story updated Jan. 19 at 5:50 p.m. with comments from the former district attorney Natalie Paine.

District Attorney Jared Williams released a statement Wednesday, Jan. 19, saying that he had a duty to dismiss previous murder charges against the man now accused of participating in a drive-by shooting that left an 8-year-old dead.

Antoine Redfield, 21, was charged with murder within days of the Jan. 8 fatal shooting of Arbrie Anthony. Anthony was shot in the head while outside her Dogwood Terrace home as she petted a horse brought to the public housing complex for children to visit.

On Nov. 16, 2021 multiple felony charges, including murder charges, were dismissed against Redfield in Richmond County Superior Court. The prosecutor assigned to the case wrote in the motion that there was no way to disprove claims of self-defense presented by Redfield and by a second man, Charvez Lawson. The orders dismissing the charges against both men were signed that day.

In his press release, Williams wrote: “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.

“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,” Williams wrote.

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Redfield and Charvez Lawson, 29, were charged in the Dec. 7, 2019, fatal shootout in the parking lot of the Private I Sports and Entertainment Complex. Private I is a on Thomas Lane near Hillcrest Memorial Park where Anthony was buried Jan. 19. The shooting left Charles E. Lawson III, 28, and JaBrie S. Dominguez, 23, dead.

In addition to murder, Redfield was also charged with being a First Offender probationer in possession of a firearm, fleeing, reckless driving, driving without a license and driving without headlights. Redfield allegedly fled the scene after the shooting. Charvez Lawson drove his brother to the hospital.

Although the murder charges were dropped against Redfield, he was not in jail on a pending probation violation warrant. No written judge’s order for Redfield’s release on that warrant was filed with the clerk’s office as required.

Redfield has been on probation under the First Offender Act for possession of schedule II drugs, family violence battery, carrying a firearm without a permit and trespass. He was given an eight-year probation sentence in August 2019. The probation violation warrant is still pending.

In his press release, Williams noted that prosecutors under the former district attorney Natalie Paine had reviewed the case before he took office Jan. 1, 2021, and indicated in the file that the case was unlikely to result in a conviction.

Wednesday, Paine responded that the month after the murder indictment was returned, a judicial emergency order stopped all grand jury and jury trial sessions in Georgia. She had planned to take the case back to the grand jury for reindictment to add gang and related weapon charges.

“There are always complications with cases that must be overcome,” Paine wrote. “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.”

After Redfield’s arrest in Columbia County on drug and gun charges Jan. 11, another probation violation warrant was filed against him in the 2019 case, according to court records.

In his press release, Williams wrote: “The circumstances that bring this case back to the forefront today are gut-wrenching, sad, and heart-breaking.”

He added, “The district attorney’s office stands ready to prosecute violent criminals to the fullest extent of the law.”

Sandy Hodson is a staff reporter with The Augusta Press. Reach her at [email protected]. 

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