CLAYTON COUNTY, Ga. - The man accused of murdering a homeowner who gave him a place to stay says he didn’t do it.
According to officials, the suspect's mother helped police catch him.
Joseph Stephens, 21, faces a felony murder charge in the death of Goldy Watkins, 59, inside Watkins' home, on Starks Court, Tuesday evening. Police say Watkins was shot twice after trying to kick Stephens out of the home for stealing from him.
Channel 2’s Tom Jones spoke with Stephens as he was being transported from the police department to the jail.
“Did you kill the man who gave you a place to stay?” Jones asked.
“No,” Stephens said.
“You didn’t kill him?” Jones asked.
“No,” said Stephens.
Police say Stephens was on the run until his mother told him to meet up with her. She made him believe she was taking him down south, but she actually called the police.
Officers say he had no idea she was preparing to turn him in.
Police say Stephens' mother stopped at a gas station and called police. When officers arrived, they say he had a weapon on him.
"She did the right thing and overall she facilitated his arrest, but it made him safe," Clayton County police Maj. Joseph Woodall said. "It kept my officers safe and it kept him safe as well."
Michael Isler told Channel 2’s Tom Jones he was inside the home at the time of the shooting.
"I heard the shots when I was upstairs," he said.
Isler said he rushed downstairs and found Watkins tied up inside a room.
"He was shot. I asked him who shot him and he say, ‘Black shot me,’" Isler said.
Woodall said Watkins also told detectives Stephens shot him.
"Mr. Stephens had been living with him for some time, and I believe he found out that he was in fact utilizing his debit card, unauthorized to do so," Woodall said.
Woodall said Watkins told Stephens he would have to leave. He said there was an argument and that's when Watkins was shot.
Officers said Stephens left in the victim's black 2007 Dodge Ram pickup truck.
Neighbors said Stephens is the brother of Watkins' girlfriend. They said Stephens didn't have anywhere else to stay.
"And he was nice enough to let him stay here with him," neighbor Ed Norris said.
"He opened up his house. He would do it for anybody around here. He was that type of a person. He was a good man," neighbor Floyd Jones said.
Watkins gave Isler a place to stay, as well. He said his friend didn't deserve to die this way.
“Good, they need to get him and stick him up under the jail,” Ed Norris said. "He's the only one that's there that could do it."
Even though Stephens said he didn’t shoot Watkins, he still apologized to his family, and he said he’s not mad at his mother for turning him in.
Neighbors said Watkins' wife and twin brother also died this year.
Stephens was denied bond Friday and wanted to send a message to his mother, telling her to take care of his children.