Office of the DeKalb County District Attorney

Stone Mountain Judicial Circuit

Sherry Boston, District Attorney

DECATUR MAN CONVICTED IN SHOOTING DEATH OF COUSIN

Shooter Leaves Victim to Die While Hanging Out at Hookah Bar

Decatur, Ga.- DeKalb County District Attorney Sherry Boston announces a conviction by jury trial in the case against a Decatur man accused of killing his cousin and later shooting a friend. Jurors returned guilty verdicts on Friday, December 3, 2021 against Jamal Rashad Kerns, 25, on charges of Malice Murder, Felony Murder, two counts of Aggravated Assault, and two counts of Possession of a Firearm During the Commission of a Felony, in connection with the shooting death of Keschon Kerns,18, and the shooting of Malik Golar, now 24.
 
The fatal incident occurred on May 20, 2017 at a home on Harvest Hills Court in Decatur where the defendant, Jamal Kerns, and his cousin, Keschon Kerns, lived with their grandfather. According to the Defendant in a statement he made to the police following his arrest, he walked into the carport and encountered the victim holding their grandfather’s gun. Despite confessing later that he was not afraid of his cousin in that moment, Defendant Kerns slapped the gun out of the victim’s hands, then shot his unarmed cousin several times in the wrist, shoulder and back.  It is actually believed that the victim never had the gun and that the Defendant was the one who took his grandfather’s gun, later shooting his cousin. 

Defendant Kerns fled the scene and spent the next several hours at a hookah bar with his brother, who also lived in the home. The next morning, their grandfather found the deceased victim in the carport, where his cousin left him to die. The Defendant and his brother both claimed to be shocked by the shooting and the discovery of the victim’s body. The crime went unsolved for a short time until a second shooting involving the Defendant occurred just a couple of weeks later. 

On June 6, 2017, Defendant Kerns and his friend Malik Golar, were hanging out in a car outside of Golar’s mother’s home at Henderson Mills Apartments.  When the conversation turned to the shooting of the Defendant’s cousin, Golar stated that he didn’t believe the Defendant’s alibi. Defendant Kerns exited the car, went to his truck parked nearby, grabbed a gun and shot into Golar’s car several times, striking the right side of his head. A neighbor heard the shot and soon after saw the Defendant get back into his truck and speed off. The victim’s mother found Golar bleeding inside the car where he and Kerns had been sitting. Although he was in and out of consciousness,  Mr. Golar was able to tell the neighbor that Defendant Kerns shot him. Fortunately, the victim survived his injuries.

Defendant Kerns was arrested in connection with Golar’s shooting and later confessed to killing his cousin, leading police to the murder weapon which he had stashed in a shoe box in the trunk of his grandfather’s car.
  
Following his conviction, Defendant Kerns was sentenced to a term of life in prison, plus 25 years, by DeKalb County Superior Court Judge Shondeana Morris, who presided over the trial. 
 
The case was prosecuted by Senior Assistant District Attorney Nicole Finnie, assigned to the Major Case Unit, with assistance from Assistant District Attorney Jasmine Jackson, DA Investigator Christopher Hollowood, and Victim Advocate Lexi Markova. Sgt. L. Shuler of the DeKalb County Police Department led the initial investigation.