Moments before she was shot dead, Marvine Bailey sat inside a Forsyth Street home with a 2-year-old grandson in her lap.
The boy adored his grandmother, relatives said, and four years after her death, he still does.
“He talks about her all the time,” Marvine Bailey’s mother Sally Bailey wrote in a letter a daughter read aloud Monday in court, where Anthony Deshon Walker was sentenced for aggravated assault in Marvine Bailey’s fatal Jan. 2, 2014, shooting.
The family fears the child’s memories of his grandmother eventually will fade.
“He would run up to her, anywhere she would be, and would not let go of her,” said the boy’s mother, Shamika Dubard.
“A week after she was killed, her brother rolled by in her car,” she recalled. “My son jumped out of my hands, and ran in the street. He thought it was her. It hurts me so bad that he will never feel that love no more.”
The story of the little boy looking for his lost grandmother was among the heartfelt testimony relatives gave Monday before Judge Ron Mullins sentenced Walker to 20 years in prison, the maximum penalty.
A jury on May 2 acquitted Walker, 26, of murder charges in Marvine Bailey’s death, but convicted him on the assault charge.
Walker was accused of shooting Bailey while gunning for Keith Turner, with whom he was feuding. Turner had shot up a Curry Street home where Walker’s mother lived, and then taunted Walker over the phone.
Walker was hunting for Turner on Forsyth Street because that’s where Turner hung out with Marvine Bailey’s son, Rashad Bailey, authorities said.
Assistant District Attorney George Lipscomb said Walker and Turner had a confrontation over the holidays in 2013. The shooting on Curry Street, off Buena Vista Road near Steam Mill Road, was on Jan. 4, 2014. On the following Jan. 6 and Jan. 20, someone in a black car shot up 2318 Forsyth Street, off Buena Vista Road near Lawyer’s Lane.
Marvine Bailey had family living at 2318 Forsyth St., which was directly across a courtyard from a house her mother owns at 2322 Forsyth St.
The night of her death, she was inside the 2318 Forsyth St. home, holding her 2-year-old grandson in her lap, and talking with her family about hosting a Super Bowl party. Those gathered there were using the restroom in the house next door.
Around 7:30 p.m., she handed her grandson to his great aunt and went next door. Outside a witness saw a black car come down the street, slowly, then circle back and park under a tree.
Wearing a hooded sweatshirt, Marvine Bailey stepped out of her mother’s house to walk back across the courtyard, and a barrage of gunfire erupted from the driver’s side of the black car. One shot hit Bailey in the chest. She may have tried to make it back inside before she collapsed and died.
“I never thought that I would have to bury one of my own children,” Sally Bailey wrote in the letter daughter Mico Bailey read for the court Monday. “I always thought they would bury me. I’ll never get to see my daughter on earth again.”
She will never see her daughter smile again, and now has “only pictures, videos and old voice messages” left of the woman who was her “go-to person for advice” and “confidant and friend,” she wrote.
“I have no hatred in my heart for you,” she wrote to Walker. “I hate what you did. I hate it for your mother. I hate that she is losing her child this way…. No mother should feel what either of us is feeling right now.”
Also addressing the court Monday were Marvine Bailey’s oldest daughter Octavis Bailey and cousin Sherry Purchase.
Testifying on Walker’s behalf were his mother and two women who had children with him.
Lakethia Ford said she and Walker share a daughter, 7, whom he has helped care for, buying gifts for the girl and giving the mother money for support.
Somalia Bryant said Walker was the father of her two girls, ages 5 and 10, and he has always helped raise the two children.
Walker’s mother Latrina Walker told Mullins her son grew up in Columbus and graduated from Carver High School. “He’s always been a good father to his kids,” she said.
Defense attorney Stacey Jackson said Walker has no prior felonies, and noted the jury acquitted him on most of the charges. Jackson asked Mullins to sentence Walker to 15 years in prison with four to serve.
Because Walker spent four years in jail awaiting trial, he would have been released on probation, had Mullins given him that sentence.
In seeking the maximum sentence, Lipscomb cited the quotation, “Those who live by the sword die by the sword” and said, “It’s time for Mr. Walker to get a taste of that.”
He alleged Walker was a drug dealer and a danger to others, and deserved the maximum penalty. “All we can ask for is 20 years of his life, and I’m asking for that today.”
Mullins chose the maximum.
“She was well loved,” he said of Marvine Bailey, adding, “Her life was cut short by the actions of this defendant.”
Keith Turner, the man investigators said Walker meant to shoot, later was killed in a drive-by shooting, while Walker was in jail. The 24-year-old fatally was shot around 3 a.m. July 11, 2015, on Interstate 185 northbound near the Cusseta Road exit.
His homicide remains unsolved.