Office of the DeKalb County District Attorney

Stone Mountain Judicial Circuit

Sherry Boston, District Attorney


Wednesday, May 8, 2024

State v. Drew Brooks

Decatur, Ga.- DeKalb County District Attorney Sherry Boston announces a Stone Mountain man has been sentenced to more than two decades behind bars after his conviction for murder. 

On April 15, 2024, jurors found Drew Brooks, 40, guilty of Voluntary Manslaughter, 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 Ashley Watkins, 33, on May 25, 2022. 

Tuesday DeKalb County Superior Court Judge Tangela M. Barrie, who presided over the trial, sentenced Defendant Brooks to 25 years in custody and an additional 10 years on probation.   

According to the investigation, officers with the DeKalb County Police Department responded to a call about a person shot in the 4000 block of Autumn Circle in Stone Mountain.  When they arrived, they found Watkins lying in the street suffering from a gunshot wound to her abdomen.  Paramedics transported Watkins to Atlanta Medical Center where she died of her injuries. 

Investigators learned that Watkins was Defendant Brooks’ landlord and they both lived at the home.  In the months leading up to the shooting, the relationship between Watkins and Defendant Brooks became strained and Watkins tried to evict Defendant Brooks from the house.  She also made multiple unsuccessful requests for a Temporary Protective Order against Defendant Brooks.

According to witnesses at the scene, Watkins and Defendant Brooks were involved in an argument that escalated to violence.  Defendant Brooks shot Watkins and also pointed a gun at a second woman who lived in the home with Watkins, threatening to kill her.

Defendant Brooks claimed the shooting was in self-defense after he said Watkins pointed a gun at him.  Video of the incident, however, showed Watkins holding her keys. 

The case, assigned to the Homicide and Gangs Unit, was prosecuted by Senior Assistant District Attorney Tauri Thomas with assistance from Senior Assistant District Attorney Michael Costello, District Attorney Investigator Christopher Hollowood, District Attorney Supervising Investigator Jacques Spencer and Supervising Victim Advocate Ikwo Nyong.  DeKalb County Police Department Det. Crowe led the initial investigation.