Georgia

Victims’ families waiting for justice years after quadruple murder

ROCKMART, Ga. — It has been three years since a quadruple murder in the small Polk County city of Rockmart and the families of the four victims are still seeking justice.

On the anniversary Monday, they gathered at one of the two crime scenes to hold a memorial and release balloons in remembrance.

“I’m sick of it. I’m tired,” said Diamond Watkins, whose daughter Arkeyla Perry was one of four shot and killed the night of Jan. 24, 2019. “Three years, a lot of unanswered questions. Three years, no justice. Three years going back and forth to court on dry runs.”

Within days of the murders, the suspect, Daylon Gamble, was found and arrested out of state, then brought back to Georgia.

Prosecutors charged him with the murders and are seeking the death penalty. But three years later, he has yet to be convicted or go to trial.

“It’s just frustrating,” said Tamara James, the mother of victim Dadrian Cummings. “I mean what if it were your kids? You would want justice to be served.”

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A fifth victim, Peerless Brown, was shot in the head but survived. He’ll be a key eyewitness during the trial.

“I’m blessed…blessed to be alive and really tell my story,” he said.

Brown also lost his mother, Helen Rose Mitchell, and cousin Jaequnn Davis in the shooting. The families claim they have been given little information about the case, what happened that night, or since.

The district attorney over the phone told Channel 2 Action News that delays were caused by the state’s Capital Defender Office, due to COVID-19 and turnover.

He said Gamble’s original attorney left the office and they had to find a new, qualified attorney to take over.

The Capital Defender Office says new council has now been assigned and the next pretrial hearing will move forward in mid-February. In a written statement, they said:

“We can never fully comprehend the pain the families and the community feel, but we share in the collective goal of beginning the healing process. Despite the recent setbacks and effects of the coronavirus pandemic, our team is committed to moving towards a resolution as quickly as possible while meeting our ethical and legal obligations required by the Georgia Supreme Court and the United States Constitution when the State is seeking the death penalty.”

“We’re ready for this part to be over … receive justice for our loved ones so we can move forward,” Watkins said.

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