Clayton County

‘I want to know why they decided his life didn’t matter;’ Clayton Co. mother looks for son’s killer

CLAYTON COUNTY, Ga. — The search for a father’s killer continues more than a year after his murder. His family is desperate for the public to take action to prevent it from happening to someone else.

Jonathan McWilliams would have been 24 years old Friday. But, instead of celebrating with him, his family gathered outside where he died to bring awareness to his case.

It’s the second birthday his mother, Paulette Smith, has spent without him.

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“I want to know why they decided his life didn’t matter,” said Smith. “They took him away from me and his daughter. She was one and a half at the time. Now, she’s three, and just the other day, she asked me, ‘Grandmama, why can’t we Facetime my daddy?’.”

She found her son shot to death inside his bedroom at the Laurel Pointe Apartments in Forest Park on Aug. 31, 2021. She said the back door was wide open.

She and her sister, Sheree Smith, have spent the past year and nine months knocking on old neighbors’ doors and handing out flyers to notify them of the homicide case.

“We want some answers,” said Sheree Smith. “We are not going to stop until we get justice.”


Then, Thursday, they received a glimmer of hope. They said Clayton County Police Department received a tip, and detectives interviewed a new person about McWilliam’s homicide. However, they did not make any arrests.

So, the family gathered outside the apartment complex Friday to spotlight his case on his birthday.

Releasing balloons, Smith sent up a message to her son. “I miss you so much. I miss you in the morning. I miss you when I open my eyes and when I close them every night and every time I wake up, it’s the same mess again,” said Smith.

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There is a $2,000 Crime Stoppers reward for anyone leading police to the suspected killer.

You can contact the agency at or Call Detective Alston at 770-603-5266.