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Verdict reached in shooting death of 7-year-old Atlanta girl

Kennedy Maxie was shot and killed by a stray bullet as she rode in her aunt's car past Phipps Plaza days before Christmas in 2020.

ATLANTA — A man standing trial in the 2020 shooting where a 7-year-old girl was killed by a stray bullet near Phipps Plaza was convicted of murder on Thursday. 

Daquan Reed was found guilty by a Fulton County jury on all eight charges he was facing. Here's a breakdown of the charges listed in Reed's eight-count indictment:

  • Murder (count 1) - Guilty
  • Felony murder (count 2) - Guilty
  • Felony murder (count 3) - Guilty
  • Felony murder (count 4) - Guilty
  • Aggravated assault with a deadly weapon (count 5) - Guilty
  • Criminal damage to property in the first degree (count 6) - Guilty
  • Possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony (count 7) - Guilty
  • Possession of a firearm by a convicted felon (count 8) - Guilty
Credit: Fulton County Sheriff's Office

Atlanta Police said Reed got into an argument with someone on Dec. 21, 2020, in the mall parking lot. They said he left and fired his gun out his car window. One of those bullets hit Kennedy Maxie in the head as she was riding in a car along Peachtree Road with her aunt and mother. She died the day after Christmas. 

During the trial, her mother, Mariah, recalled the moments she realized Kennedy had been shot.

"When I got in the back I was trying to sit her up, so blood was getting on my hands, I started to try to find where she was hurt from," the mom said. "At one point of trying to get her to sit up and respond to me, I touched the back right side behind her ear and she winced in pain."

Prosecutors told the jury Reed was in another car with three other people. They said someone robbed Reed in the mall parking lot and investigators believe he then was irate as he left the parking lot.  

"He was ranting and raving, angry. He pulled out his gun and he shot out the window," prosecutor Pat Dutcher said during his open statement on Friday.

One of the two shots prosecutors claim Reed shot traveled through the trunk of Maxie's car and then went through Kennedy's seat before hitting her.

Reed's attorney though told the jury during her opening statement last to question any testimony from the people Reed was with at the time of the shooting, as she claims their stories don't add up. 

"No scientific evidence will match, the crime scene won't match, the video footage won't match, the autopsy, the trajectory won't match their story," Defense Attorney Nicole Fegan said. 

The judge said sentencing is scheduled for August 29 at 9 a.m. However, one of the attorneys in the courtroom let the judge know they have an upcoming trial that begins next week that could carry over into the week of the sentencing.

Kennedy's mother, Mariah, issued a statement after the trial ended, calling the last five days "incredibly hard." 

"It’s the second time in my life where I’ve had to trust other people with my child’s life. Where I’ve had no direct say in the outcome." she said. "When Kennedy was in the hospital, I was in awe of the team of doctors and nurses responsible for her care. I was so grateful for how they took care of my baby. For how focused they were in their work; for how diligent and meticulous they were in caring for her. They worked hard for her. They worked even knowing that Kennedy’s life in the end was not up to them."

Included in her statement, she also thanked the district attorney's office and the jurors for "delivering a verdict today of justice based on truth and fact."

Even with Thursday's outcome, her heart still aches behind the loss of her daughter. 

"This doesn’t change the fact that I’ll continue to eat breakfast at a cemetery every Sunday morning. Or that she won’t have the opportunity to be a big sister. Nor does it change me missing her beyond comprehension, in some moments beyond what I can bear," Mariah's statement said. "But it does move a dark cloud out of the sky for those that love her today, and for that I am grateful.”


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