Johnie Oliver, Jr. is on his way to prison for the rest of his natural life. According to the DeKalb County District Attorney’s Office, the Georgia man was found guilty of murder and other charges stemming from a June 2014 shooting over marijuana.
Reportedly, Oliver purchased marijuana from seller Rayonte Weems. He paid $13 for the illegal substance. After sampling the marijuana, Oliver called Weems to complain about the quality of his purchase.
Weems, Yani Connor and Theodore Rollins met with Oliver to discuss the issue. When Weems and Rollins out of the car on Swift Creek Drive, Oliver opened fire. He struck Weems five times in the back, killing him. Rollins was shot seven times and spent two weeks in a coma. Connor, who remained in the car, was hit once in the thigh.
Of the incident, DeKalb County District Attorney Robert James said, “This defendant chose a coward’s way to resolve his conflict … He killed someone over just a handful of dollars … and could’ve killed two more people. This was senseless, and he deserves to be in prison for the rest of his life.”
Oliver was also charged with possession of a firearm by a convicted felon and aggravated assault. In addition to his life sentence, he must serve an additional 45 years.
This situation and others like it mirror the ongoing violence mounting between many misled Black men who seem willing to kill without just cause or rational thought. Drugs, gangs, hopelessness and a lack of self worth have turned many Black communities into war zones where men, who are supposed to protect people, are turned into vicious killers.
We can only hope our streets are safer without the likes of Oliver, but we must know that locking him up isn’t the answer that will make the changes we need. The changes must come from within. Stop the violence. $13 isn’t worth a life.