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Shooting victim’s family calls for murder charge

‘I want justice for my nephew,’ aunt says

Divonte Lester

Divonte Lester

JONESBORO — The shooting death of a state representative’s nephew should merit murder charges instead of involuntary manslaughter, the victim’s aunt said Tuesday.

Divonte Jiles Lester made his first appearance in court, in connection with Quinn Kevon Heckstall’s death, and Myuah Johnson-Duboise, Heckstall’s aunt, was at the courthouse, though she missed the proceedings. The charges against Lester are involuntary manslaughter, reckless conduct and tampering with evidence — but Johnson-Duboise said that’s not enough.

The arrest warrant for Lester alleges he pointed a handgun at Heckstall and “unintentionally caused it to discharge. The bullet struck Heckstall in the chest and he died as a result of his wounds.”

But Johnson-Duboise doesn’t accept that.

“I just want justice for my nephew,” she said. “I don’t feel that it was an accident based on the charges. I feel that this was a premeditated murder. So our family is asking that justice prevail considering the unfortunate circumstances that occurred this weekend. The charges are not sufficient enough for this kind of crime, especially based on the information that was provided to the family from witnesses.

“We feel that this situation was concocted and planned out and the individuals conspired along with Divonte Lester, the gunman, to murder my nephew, and yet the police [are] treating this situation as if it was an accident. Our family does not believe that. So we will do everything in our power to seek justice for our loved one, Quinn Kevon Heckstall.”

Johnson-Duboise said she was told her nephew was at home when young men picked him up.

“They made him think they were going to work on some music tracks and that’s when the murder occurred, they shot him in the chest,” Johnson-Duboise alleged. “The neighbor heard the gun shot and called police, then came outside and saw them trying to move the body. The boys were placing his body in a car when the police arrived at the scene. We are just trying to figure out why the other boys were not arrested.”

Another arrest warrant accused Lester of “knowingly [concealing] physical evidence. The accused shot Quinn Heckstall with a handgun resulting in Heckstall’s death. The accused left the location of the shooting and took the handgun with him and hid the handgun used in the shooting.”

Lester, 19, who turned himself in Monday night, appeared before Clayton County Magistrate Chief Judge Daphne M. Walker. She denied him bond.

Heckstall, also the nephew of state Rep. Joe Heckstall (D-East Point), was shot and killed Saturday, at 7:30 p.m., at 7291 Wagon Wheel Court, according to the arrest warrant.

“According to a witness, the victim went into the duplex and was shot,” Clayton County Police spokesman G.A. Syblis said. “The victim was taken to Southern Regional Medical Center, where he died as a result of his injury.”

Rep. Heckstall said while the family is relieved that an arrest has been made, “Both families are experiencing death. The Heckstalls [are] obviously experiencing physical death and the other family emotional death. Neither family can ever escape the damage, frustration and forever altered harmony in both families.”

Funeral arrangements are scheduled for Saturday at 1 p.m., at Gus Thornhill Mortuary, located at 1315 Hendrix Avenue, in East Point.

Johnson-Duboise described her nephew as a great dancer.

“He strived to be a leader in all his adventures,” she continued. “He was in the process of designing T-shirts with logos on them. He took the ASVASB (a military) test a week ago, he had a recruiter getting ready to work with him. Kevon was a well mannered young man, he said ‘Yes, ma’am,’ and ‘Yes, sir’ to all his seniors, or boss.”

“He was very articulate in speech. He had a Godly spirit, he was baptized at Cascade United Methodist Church at age 8. He was an honor roll student through the 8th grade. He played baseball at a young age, he was very athletic in football as well. Quinn Kevon Heckstall was into a loving family and we will miss him dearly.”

Quinn Heckstall was a graduate of Youth Challenge Military Academy at the age of 17. He attended Atlanta Technical College and had taken some time off from college to work full-time, according to another of his aunts, Ivory Heckstall-Cloud.

“He had a personality that was larger than life, he loved his mom, dad and four siblings,” said another aunt of the victim, Ivory Heckstall-Cloud. “He enjoyed spending time with his family and extended family.”

She said her nephew enjoyed writing music, and he worked out several times a week.