Clayton County man killed during drug deal

Photo by Heather Middleton

Photo by Heather Middleton

By Kathy Jefcoats


A Jonesboro man made his first appearance Tuesday in Clayton County Magistrate Court on charges he shot a man in the back during a June 5 drug deal.

Jose Hugo Ortiz, 20, said nothing as a magistrate read his charges aloud during the brief hearing. He is being held without bond in the Clayton County Jail pending a June 28 preliminary hearing.

Police say Ortiz shot Kerrith Bryce Peterson, 20, in the back during a drug deal at Ortiz's Tara Boulevard apartment. Officers arrived at the apartment about 9:40 p.m. June 5, and Peterson was taken to Grady Memorial Hospital where he died.

Officers found one pound of marijuana in the kitchen, two handguns inside the apartment and three outside on the ground.

Police also said they found methamphetamine in Ortiz's roommate's bedroom and charged Benito Soto, 22, with drug possession. He is also being held without bond in the Clayton County Jail. Ortiz fled the scene.

Police interviewed Ortiz Monday, according to warrants filed in Magistrate Court, and he admitted to shooting Peterson because he said Peterson and an unidentified man were planning to steal the marijuana. He also told police that he threw four pounds of marijuana in nearby woods after the shooting.

Court records show Ortiz has a prior conviction for felony theft by shoplifting and drug possession.