Office of the DeKalb County District Attorney

Stone Mountain Judicial Circuit

Sherry Boston, District Attorney


Friday, August 11, 2023

Victim Was Targeted After Dispute Over $20

Decatur, Ga.- DeKalb County District Attorney Sherry Boston announces a conviction by jury trial in the murder case against a Lithonia man accused of shooting into a motel room and killing a transgender woman.

Jurors returned guilty verdicts Thursday against Deontavious Brewer, 24, on charges of Felony Murder, Involuntary Manslaughter, Possession of a Firearm during the Commission of a Felony, and two counts of Aggravated Assault.

On November 11, 2020 officers with the DeKalb County Police Department responded to a call about a person shot at the Knights Inn on Panola Road in Lithonia.

They discovered Kenneth “Peaches” Armstrong, 39, a transgender woman, unresponsive suffering from multiple gunshot wounds. Damon Allen was also inside the hotel room but was not harmed.

According to the investigation, Allen told police he and Armstrong were asleep when he heard gunshots from outside the room.  Allen saw Armstrong had been hit and called 911.  Allen said he did not see the shooter but knew who it was because of an ongoing dispute between the victim, Defendant Brewer, and Co-defendant Terrel Battle, 29, another transgender woman, over money.

Armstrong and Defendant Battle had been longtime friends and referred to one another as sisters.  Armstrong inherited a large amount of money after her father died and had shared some with Battle, but later refused to give Defendant Battle an additional $20.

Detectives found surveillance video from outside the motel that recorded the shooting.  The video showed Defendant Brewer get out of the passenger seat of a silver BMW, walk to the victim’s room, and fire 11 rounds through the window of the room.  During that time, Defendant Battle had pulled the car around to the back side of the motel and propped open the passenger side door.  Brewer then ran back to the waiting BMW, and the two defendants drove away.

Management at the motel told investigators that Defendant Battle drove a silver BMW and had lived next door to Armstrong until Armstrong stopped paying for Battle’s room and Battle was evicted.

A day after the murder, a member of Defendant Battle’s family called detectives to notify them that she believed Battle had killed Armstrong.  She told investigators about a Facebook post Battle made saying she was going to shoot and kill Armstrong.  The family member said Defendants Battle and Brewer had shown up at her home in North Carolina after the shooting and talked about having killed someone.

Detectives arrested Battle and Brewer at an apartment in Atlanta where the silver BMW was parked outside.  In interviews with investigators, Defendant Brewer confessed to shooting Armstrong, and Defendant Battle said she drove the getaway vehicle.

Defendant Brewer is scheduled to be sentenced Sept. 5, 2023 at 1:30 p.m. by Senior Judge David B. Irwin, who presided over the trial.

On October 11, 2022, Co-defendant Battle pled to a reduced charge of Voluntary Manslaughter and Possession of a Firearm During the Commission of a Felony.  Battle was sentenced to 25 years to serve 20 with the balance on probation.

The case, assigned to the District Attorney’s Firearm Violence Prevention Unit, was prosecuted by Senior Assistant District Attorney Tyshawn Jackson with assistance from ADA Elyce Loutzenhiser, DA Investigator Christopher Usiak, and Victim Advocate Vonda Darrisaw.  DeKalb County Police Department Officer B. R. Smith led the initial investigation.