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DA: Two killed in self-defense

Photo by Carly Farrell

Photo by Carly Farrell

ALBANY,Ga. -- Last week's killings at the rear of Applejax Sports Bar & Lounge in East Albany were in self-defense, said a Dougherty Judicial Circuit official.

Jerro Toye, 23, and Joshua O'Neal Walls, 22, were stabbed to death with a steak knife by Willie Frank Lowe, 42, at about 2:40 a.m. March 3 on a grassy area behind the bar's parking lot.

District Attorney Greg Edwards said the two deceased men and at least one other man attacked Lowe before the stabbings.

"An investigation led to the conclusion beyond a reasonable doubt that Lowe acted in self defense in relation to the deaths of Toye and Walls," Edwards said. "Forensic evidence and witness statements were given to the grand jury and it returned no true bill. In terms of a crime, there is no prosecution."

According to Edwards, Lowe was walking along a street behind the bar when Toye, Walls and at least one other man got out of a car and tried to sell him marijuana. When Lowe refused to buy the drug, the men turned violent and tried to rob him, investigators said.

Lowe threw more than $100 on the ground to stop the robbery while he was being pistol whipped with a .380 caliber semi-automatic handgun, Edwards said.

The district attorney said an attacker shouted we are "gonna burn him" and tried to shoot Lowe. The handgun misfired and left a magazine with live ammunition of the ground.

Lowe pulled a steak knife out and began stabbing his attackers, Edwards said. Kyonta Byrd, a witness and person of interest in the case, drove away from the scene, he added.

"He (Byrd) is probably a party to the crime," Edwards said. "He is under current suspicion."

Toye and Walls fell to the ground bleeding and died. Edwards said that Lowe, afraid his attackers were in pursuit, ran to a nearby relative's house.

Lowe was "distraught" when he turned himself in at the Albany Police Department Law Enforcement Center at about 5 p.m. Thursday, Edwards said.

Although Lowe will not be prosecuted in the Albany deaths, he will be returned to Randolph County on outstanding probation violation warrants.

The case remains under investigation as police search for the gun that was used to beat Lowe and at least one other assailant.

When Lowe's other attacker or attackers are arrested, they will face robbery charges, Edwards said. Edwards also said there could be "potential" murder charges "because (the robbery) did result in death."

Anyone with additional information should call Crime Stoppers at (229) 436-TIPS (8477) or investigations at (229) 431-3288. The Spanish speaking APD-COP Tip Line is (229) 434-2677.

Crime stoppers is an anonymous tipline. People with information could become eligible for cash rewards.