Office of the DeKalb County District Attorney

Stone Mountain Judicial Circuit

Sherry Boston, District Attorney


Thursday, November 2, 2023

Sentencing Update: State v. Joshua Ellis

Decatur, Ga.- A Stockbridge man who shot and killed a man while robbing him will spend the rest of his life in prison. 

Today DeKalb County Superior Court Judge Tangela Barrie sentenced Joshua Cortez Ellis, 25, to life without the possibility of parole, plus five years. 

Jurors returned guilty verdicts against Defendant Ellis September 25 on charges of Malice Murder, three counts of Felony Murder, Armed Robbery, Aggravated Assault, Possession of a Firearm During the Commission of a Felony and Possession of a Firearm by a First Offender Probationer stemming from an incident on June 4, 2019. 

According to the investigation, Ronald Peters, 28, was walking near his home on Orchard Circle in unincorporated Decatur around 8:30 a.m. when two men got out of a maroon Chevy pickup truck and robbed him at gunpoint. 

Witnesses told police the men demanded Peters give them his backpack and when he refused, one of them, later identified as Defendant Ellis, shot Peters.  Peters fell to the ground.  Defendant Ellis grabbed the backpack and then fired at Peters again.  Witnesses reported hearing another shot as the men drove away. 

When officers from the DeKalb County Police Department arrived, they found Peters suffering from gunshot wounds to his neck, arm and torso.  Paramedics transported Peters to Atlanta Medical Center where he died. 

Detectives found Peters’ phone and saw multiple alerts that his debit card had been used after the shooting, including at a gas station on Fairington Road in Lithonia. 

Investigators obtained surveillance footage from the gas station of Defendant Ellis as he made a purchase with the debit card and then got into a maroon truck. 

Next, the video showed the truck travel across the street to a Walmart.  Footage from the Walmart showed Defendant Ellis, along with his Co-Defendants Tyreese Johnson, 23, and Shaleeya Moore, 23, exit the truck and go inside the store. 

Investigators recovered the truck a few days later in the City of Atlanta and found a possible bullet hole in one of its doors.  The truck had been reported stolen after a carjacking in Clayton County a day before the murder. 

During police interviews, Defendant Ellis admitted to being in the truck and to using Peters’ debit card at the gas station.  Defendant Johnson told investigators that they were only going to rob Peters, but said Ellis shot Peters before Johnson made it around the truck.  Defendant Moore testified that both Ellis and Johnson got out of the truck with guns and masks.  She also admitted to driving the truck away from the scene after the shooting.   

The cases against Defendants Johnson and Moore on two counts of Felony Murder, Armed Robbery, Aggravated Assault, and Possession of a Firearm During the Commission of a Felony are still pending.    

The case, assigned to the Homicide and Gangs Unit, was prosecuted by Senior Assistant District Attorney Tauri Thomas with assistance from ADA Emily Donkervoet, DA Investigator Christopher Hollowood, and Victim Advocate Ikwo Nyong.  DeKalb County Police Department Detective Kelley Hoyt led the initial investigation.