By Joe Johnson
An Athens man has been arrested for murder in connection with the shooting death last week of 15-year-old Keshawn Gainer.
The former Cedar Shoals High School student was fatally shot at about 9:30 a.m. Thursday between the 100 and 200 blocks of Westchester Circle, the same street on which he resided, according to police.
At 6:37 p.m. Tueaday, 20-year-old Kenyas Trevion Yearby of Summerbrook Circle was booked into the Clarke County Jail on a charge of malice murder for allegedly killing Gainer.
He was arrested by detectives with the Robbery/Homicide Unit.
“This senseless crime was solved quickly because of the dogged determination of the officers and detectives of the police department, the coroner’s office, the GBI, and a vigilant community,” Police Chief Cleveland Spruill said. “The case will be turned over to the District Attorney’s Office for further consideration and prosecution.”
Athens-Clarke County police have not released a motive for the killing.
Gainer’s body was found Thursday morning at a fence in the wood line across the street from his home on Westchester Circle, with the fence located behind some apartments on Cole Manor Drive, according to a police incident report.
An officer described in the report that Gainer’s arms were extended out in front of him, as though he had been reaching for something.
He had a wound to the side of his neck that was described in the report as “a gouge,” in which muscle tissue was exposed.
The report noted that a bullet cartridge casing was located near the victim’s feet and another was found nearby at the crime scene.
At the time of the alleged murder, Yearby was on probation for an arrest three ago, when he was found in possession of a loaded gun on the Clarke Central High School campus in April 2017.
The gun was found in Yearby’s backpack, along with a cellphone that he allegedly robbed the previous month from a 16-year-old girl.
The armed robbery allegedly occurred April 10 at the Holland Youth Sports Complex off Vincent Drive, where Yearby reportedly arranged to meet with a 16-year-old girl who had advertised that she was selling an Apple iPhone 6s.
After the girl gave the $700 phone to Yearby so he could inspect it, Yearby reportedly refused to give it back and showed the girl and her companion that he had a pistol tucked into his pants waistband.
Yearby was initially charged with possession of a firearm on school grounds and was later indicted on the additional felony offenses of armed robbery, aggravated assault, possession of a firearm in the commission of a crime, possession of a firearm by a person under 18 years old.
According to court records, Yearby and the Western Judicial Circuit DA’s office struck a plea bargain in which the armed robbery charge was dismissed and he pleaded guilty to the remaining charges.
In accordance with the plea deal, a judge handed Yearby a 12-year sentence with the first two years suspended upon completion of 12 to 15 months in the county Diversion Center’s work-release program and the balance to be served on probation.
This story will be updated when additional details of Gainer’s alleged murder are made available.