7 March 2022
District Attorney Keith Higgins announces that Everett Belafonte Bennett, 21, and Travis Tyrone Kates, 21, both of Brunswick, were convicted of Malice Murder, Felony Murder (2 counts), Aggravated Assault, Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon and Possession of a Firearm During Commission of a Felony, following a jury trial which concluded on March 3, 2022. A third co-defendant, Ethan Bell Bennett, 20, brother of Everett, was tried separately and convicted of similar charges on February 3, 2022.
The charges stem from the July 22, 2019, death of Antonio Randolph, 35, who was shot multiple times in front of his mother’s home in the Arco area of Brunswick. The investigation, led by Sgt. Sheila Ramos of the Glynn County Police Department, revealed that Antonio Randolph had struggled for years with drug addiction. Randolph had become involved with the mother of Ethan and Everett Bennett. She also battled addiction, and witness statements and text messages showed that both brothers blamed Randolph for her addiction and intended to do him harm. In the hours before the shooting, Ethan and Everett, along with Kates, were seen multiple times in the Arco area, interacting with their mother.
They were in a vehicle that belonged to Everett Bennett’s girlfriend. A grainy security video from a neighbor’s home partially captured the shooting. It showed Randolph crossing the street from his mother’s home and coming into contact with at least one individual. He is seen running back to his mother’s home while the other person fires at least one shot at him. In total, Randolph was shot four times, all from behind.
Following the shooting, the defendants met up with Everett Bennett’s girlfriend and asked her to drop them off at different locations. When questioned by police, the girlfriend initially denied any knowledge of what happened, but eventually admitted that Everett told her “something happened to his mother’s boyfriend” within an hour of the shooting and before Randolph’s body was discovered. Kates was the only defendant to make a statement to police, wherein he claimed that at the time of the murder, he was home sleeping after he had gotten high on marijuana. Text messages found on his phone refuted that statement and Deputy Chief Assistant District Attorney, Nigel Lush, who prosecuted the cases, argued that the texts were an admission of his involvement in the murder.
The Bennett’s mother had been held in jail on a material witness warrant to ensure her presence for trial and was released upon conclusion of her testimony. Following her release, the District Attorney’s Office arranged for her to return to a drug rehabilitation program.
The trial, presided over by Superior Court Judge Stephen G. Scarlett, Sr., began on February 28, 2022 in Glynn County Superior Court, and members of the jury returned their guilty verdicts on all counts on March 3, 2022. According to Deputy Chief Lush, “This was a difficult case to prosecute given the circumstantial nature of the evidence and the reluctance of many witnesses to cooperate in both the investigation and trials. While we know these verdicts won’t fill the hole in the hearts of Antonio Randolph’s family, we are thankful that there was justice and we hope that can give them some peace. We also pray for the Bennett’s mother as she returns to rehab to fight her addiction.”
Deputy Chief Lush also thanked Sgt. Sheila Ramos and the Glynn County Police Department for their exhaustive investigative efforts in this case.
Sentencing is scheduled for all three defendants on March 18, 2022 at 09:30 a.m. in the Glynn County Superior Court. Each defendant faces a mandatory life in prison sentence for the murder convictions.
Members of the media with further questions may contact the Brunswick Judicial Circuit District Attorney’s Office at 912-554-7200.