ATLANTA — Little is known about Barron Brantley, the 21-year-old aspiring rapper accused of killing Clark Atlanta student Alexis Crawford. His girlfriend and Crawford's roommate, Jordyn Jones, also stand accused of her murder.
In the forefront of the headlines, a police report detailing how, after a night of drinking, Crawford told Atlanta Police that Brantley assaulted her in the apartment she shared with Jones. He then seemingly disappeared after taking Jones’ car. That was on October 26.
On November 1, Crawford’s family filed a missing persons report after they had not heard from her. Then on Nov. 8, police say Jones led them to her best friend’s body at a Decatur park on Columbia Drive.
From preliminary testimony by the lead investigator Friday, we now know her body was thrown in a bin after Brantley alleged the roommates began fighting in the early hours of Oct. 31.
Detective Michael Young said Brantley told him he’d been hiding in Jones’ room at the girls apartment for days. Crawford was unaware he was there.
Detective Young testified that on the night Crawford was killed, she and Jones had gotten into a fight. Brantley confessed that he appeared out of the bedroom, strangled Crawford and then Jones put a plastic bag over her head.
They cleaned up the crime scene, put Crawford’s body in a bin, drove the bin to the Exchange Park in Decatur and dumped it and Alexis’s body over a hill, according to Young's testimony.
'Every time I take a step forward, I take 10 steps back'
But for one woman, who did not want to use her name, Brantley’s high school friend and prayer partner, she has to show up to the preliminary hearing to make sure the Barron Brantley whose mugshot is plastered across the screen, is the same Barron Brantley she knows.
The one she called funny, well-dressed and a Christian.
She came to the preliminary hearing at the Fulton County Courthouse to make sure this wasn’t the same friend she graduated with from North Springs High School in 2017.
She recalled a time in high school where he was jumped by two girls. She alleged he didn’t swing back and just curled into a tight ball.
The friend said said she doesn’t excuse his alleged behavior towards Alexis or his prior arrests. She said they are a product of their environment.
She said the school was a mix of the “haves and have nots”. The rich and the really poor. She said she and Brantley weren’t one of the “haves.”
She said they attend the Dream Center in Decatur behind South Dekalb Mall. The same building that was owned by the massive House of Hope.
The friend said Brantley would go when he could, but frequently called her to pray with him.
“It seems like every time I take a step forward, I take 10 steps back,” she said he once told her. Frequent arrests and his inability to maintain a job she said, made him go back to a life of crime. She said he wanted to provide a better life for his one-year-old daughter.
The friend alleged their circle of friends wasn't too fond of Brantley’s relationship with Jones. They’d been together for about eight months she said, but said their relationship was toxic.
She still needed to make sure the Barron Brantley she knew was the same one on the docket at the preliminary.
She asked friends to come with her - they backed out. The friend said her mom wasn’t too fond of her going. But she needed closure.
Clad in a blue jumpsuit, she lowered her head and held back tears, when a shackled Barron Brantley was escorted into courtroom 1D. Confirmation. It was the Barron Brantley she knew.
She says she came - based on her faith-based principle. The same faith that kept them on the phone late at night, praying together. As friends. As prayer partners.
“In the eyes of God, you can’t go too far. You can still ask for forgiveness. I don’t want him to forget that,” the friend said.
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