Man sentenced to life for murder of cousin at Stone Mountain apartments

A 35-year-old man will spend the rest of his life in prison after he was convicted for the murder of his estranged cousin at a Stone Mountain apartment complex.

On Feb. 22, a DeKalb County jury found 35-year-old Michael Blair Stewart, Jr. guilty on charges of felony murder, aggravated assault, and possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony.

Officials say on Dec. 5, 2020, 911 operators received a call from 30-year-old Jireh Morris.

"My cousin just shot me," Morris told the 911 operator.

A witness later testified to police that she heard gunshots and saw Morris slowly driving through the parking lot until his car hit a tree.  

When officers arrived at the apartment complex off Bouldercrest Road, They found Morris, who had been shot three times. Body camera footage from an officer on the scene captured Morris' last words, in which he once again identified the man who shot him as "Michael Stewart."

Medics rushed Morris to Grady Memorial Hospital, where he was pronounced dead. 

Investigators say the victim and his cousin had not spoken for years but reconnected through their love of music. Phone records provided during the trial revealed Stewart had made plans with Morris to meet at the apartment complex so that they could work on a song together. Police never determined a motive for Morris' murder. 

After the jury's verdict, DeKalb County Judge Brian K. Ross sentenced Stewart to life in prison plus five years.