By Linda Looney-Bond
A Stockbridge man was found guilty Thursday in the 2007 shooting death of his wife.
A Clayton County jury found Antonio Bernard Gresham, 43, guilty of malice murder, felony murder, aggravated assault with intent to kill, aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, and possession of a weapon during the commission of a crime.
Gresham shot his wife, Carol Gresham, twice in the head on Dec. 31, 2007 with a .45-caliber Taurus handgun, after the two argued over money, according to court records.
The shooting occurred at the couple's Stockbridge apartment, located at 1601 Knight Chase Drive, court records show.
Clayton County Superior Court Judge Albert Collier sentenced Antonio Gresham to life in prison on the malice murder charge, 20 years on the charge of aggravated assault with intent to kill, and five years on the charge of possession of a weapon during the commission of a crime - all to be served consecutively. The two remaining charges were merged with the other three, for a total sentence of life in prison plus 25 years.
"I miss her. I still love her, and I'm deeply sorry for what I have done," Antonio Gresham told the court prior to sentencing.
Attorney Lloyd Matthews, the Clayton County public defender who represented Antonio Gresham, told Collier that his client plans to appeal. Matthews also told the court that Gresham is requesting that he not be housed at the Phillips State Prison because, he said, Antonio Gresham worked as a prison guard there more than a decade ago.
Collier said Antonio Gresham will have to make that request with the state Department of Corrections.
Melissa Young, 39, of Jonesboro, Carol Gresham's sister, said she was pleased by the verdict, and the sentence. "We weren't looking for [the] death [penalty]. Putting him to death would have been too easy," Young said.
"She [Carol Gresham] was the bread winner. He didn't work. It was truly senseless. It was New Year's Eve. She had given him $60 ... he wanted more money," Young said. "He wanted another $80. He didn't allow her time to go to the ATM."
Nancy Allen, of Fayetteville, Carol Gresham's aunt, wiped away tears as she exited the courtroom. She said her niece was in an abusive relationship with Antonio Gresham.
"You can't get Carol back, no matter what the verdict," Allen said. "I'm thankful he'll have to spend time thinking about what he's done. I hope ... young girls get something out of this. If you're in an abusive relationship, you should get out of it.
"He [Antonio Gresham] made her life so miserable. She was a hairdresser. He never could hold a job," Allen added. "He was so demanding. She [Carol Gresham] would have to leave her clients sitting in the chair if he wanted her to go somewhere."
"It was a very violent crime, when you shoot your wife in the head two times," said Clayton County Assistant District Attorney Luana Popescu, who assisted Deputy Chief Assistant District Attorney Bill Dixon in prosecuting the case. "It's an extremely just verdict for this family that's been waiting two years, almost. They seemed relieved, so I felt good about that verdict," Popescu said.
Antonio Gresham has 30 days to appeal the verdict, though Matthews said would not continue to represent him. Matthews said he is working to find another defense attorney to represent Gresham in an appeal of the verdict and the sentence.
"I don't agree that the judge didn't charge the jury on voluntary manslaughter, and I don't agree that the judge gave consecutive years on aggravated assault, but I do admit that my client killed Carol," Matthews said.
"My client appeared remorseful that he had taken this woman's life . He did say at sentencing that he still loved her."