Atlanta man sentenced for deadly shooting over water bottle sales territory

Terrell Anderson (Credit: Fulton County Sheriffs Office)

An Atlanta man will spend the next 30 years behind for a deadly 2020 shooting stemming from a territorial dispute over selling bottles of water. 

Terrell Anderson entered a guilty plea to three counts of voluntary manslaughter, aggravated assault, and possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony. For that, Fulton County Judge Kimberly Adams sentenced him to 30 years in prison and five more years on probation. 

"Mr. Anderson made a grave mistake by resorting to deadly violence at the young age of 16, but his troubled upbringing warranted consideration," said District Attorney Fani T. Willis. "The victim’s family did not want to go to trial, and we strived to balance accountability and justice with this plea." 

Deadly shooting at Modera Midtown 

Anderson was just 16 the day he walked up to the Modera Midtown apartments' loading dock on 95 8th Street on June 27, 2020, to sell water to motorists getting on and off the nearby Downtown Connector. 

He was eventually joined by 16-year-old Jalanni Pless at the location. Prosecutors say things turned south when Pless was given $10 for a bottle of water. Anderson turned on Pless, accusing him of encroaching on his spot. A fight over the money ensued, eventually causing the $10 bill to be torn apart. 

Anderson left the scene, but returned a half hour later, this time armed with a gun. Prosecutors say surveillance video from the loading dock shows Anderson chasing down Pless and shooting him twice. Anderson left again, but returned a few minutes later to check on Pless, who was unresponsive. 

Anderson then fled the scene. Video a few minutes later from the Midtown MARTA station then shows Anderson handing a gun to a friend to dispose of before boarding the train. He got off at the Five Point station. 

He surrendered himself to the Metro Youth Detention Center on July 8, 2020. 

Terrell Anderson’s Fulton County Jail fight 

It was three years later that Anderson would again make news, this time from behind bars.  

Anderson was in the Fulton County Jail in August 2023 and appeared to be in a fit of rage. According to the Fulton County Sheriff’s Office, Anderson decided on his own that he was going to walk out of his housing zone at the Fulton County Jail. An officer ordered him to turn around, but he did not comply. 

The detention officer then took out his Taser and fired. Terrell Anderson, 19, was struck, but still did not back down, according to the officer. 

The Fulton County Sheriff's Office said Anderson pulled the Taser prongs from his body and charged the officer, assaulting him. 

The punches came quickly, but so did a group of back-up officers. 

Eventually, Anderson was taken down. 

Three additional charges were filed: obstruction, battery on a law enforcement officer and riot in a penal institution. 

Anderson pleaded guilty to aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and received at 15-year sentence, which will run concurrently with his 30 years in prison.