Man convicted in Katrina evacuee slaying

By SARA PAUFFspauff@ledger-enquirer.com

A man accused of killing a Hurricane Katrina evacuee was convicted of murder Friday and sentenced to life in prison.

Antonio Jerome MaGee of Gulfport, Miss., was found guilty of one count each of malice murder, felony murder and reckless conduct during a trial in Muscogee County Superior Court. He was found not guilty on a charge of armed robbery.

MaGee was arrested in November 2005 in connection with the slaying of his girlfriend, Mary Rodgers. Rodgers, 24, was a Hurricane Katrina evacuee who came to Columbus to be with her sister before the storm hit. She was found dead from a gunshot wound inside her E.J. Knight Gardens apartment a few weeks after she arrived. Her infant daughter was found alive near her body, witnesses said.

Judge Robert Johnston III sentenced MaGee not only to life in prison for the murder charges, but an additional year for the reckless conduct charge.

"The jury finds you guilty of murder and I believe that you murdered this person," Johnston told MaGee in court. "I believe you shot her three times."

Read more in Saturday's Ledger-Enquirer.