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DeMarcus Little Trial Updates

Demarcus Little found guilty of killing girlfriend, Fort Valley State student Anitra Gunn

Jurors deliberated for about three hours before coming to a verdict

FORT VALLEY, Ga. — After seven days of testimony and three hours of deliberation, jurors have found Demarcus Little GUILTY of murder in connection with the Feb. 2020 death of his girlfriend, Fort Valley State student Anitra Gunn.

The week of testimony was -- at times -- granular, particularly with the discussion of cached phone location data and pages upon pages of text messages, but it also included testimony from key witnesses; including Gunn's best friend, Little's aunt, Little's best friend, and even Little himself.

Charges are as follows: malice murder (not guilty), felony murder (guilty), aggravated assault (guilty).

After the verdict was read, several family members shared their thoughts on Little's actions, the jury's verdict, and the life Gunn never got to live. It was in an effort to convince the judge that Little deserves the maximum sentence -- life in prison without parole.

"The defendant's decision to put his hands around Anitra Gunn's neck and watch the life leave her body, and take the life of a human being with no regards for the effects it may have on others is unimaginable and very devastating," said her godmother. "The name of Anitra Gunn will not go away. We as a family will make sure of that."

In his final statement before Judge Connie Williford, Assistant DA Neil Halvorson asked her to consider imposing the maximum sentence against Demarcus Little for the death of Anitra Gunn. Halvorson became audibly emotional as he described the condition Gunn's body was found.

"Anitra Gunn will never be able to breathe air on this Earth again. The appropriate sentence is that Demarcus Little never be able to breathe free air for the rest of his life," said Halvorson.

Williford then sentenced Little to life in prison without the possibility of parole


10 hour jury selection for Anitra Gunn case

FORT VALLEY, Ga. (WGXA)-- Starting in the morning and ending after sunset, 12 jurors and two alternates have been selected to hear the State vs. DeMarcus Little.

Little is facing three charges for the 2020 death of Fort Valley University senior Anitra Gunn; malice murder, felony murder, and aggravated assault.

Gunn was found dead from strangulation, hidden beneath brush, after going missing on Valentine's Day in 2020.

Little was her boyfriend.

About 80 Peach County residents were summoned to the courthouse Monday morning (Mar. 7).

The courtroom was full but silent as the potential jurors sat, anxious to find out if they’d be called to serve.

As the process began, Superior Court Judge Connie L. Williford shared that this trial will not be a quick one.

Williford says she’s expecting the trial to run for the rest of the week with the possibility of it going into the weekend or even next week.

Jurors were not in the courtroom alone.

The defendant, DeMarcus Little, sat beside his attorney Benjamin Davis.

Little looked straight ahead throughout the proceedings, having little if any conversation with his lawyer.

Next to their table sat the prosecution.

Assistant District Attorney Dawn Baskin is the lead for the case. A.D.A Neil Halverson and Chief A.D.A. Cindy Adams sat the sides of Baskin.

At the end of the table was a special agent from the Georgia Bureau of Investigation named Kristen Nunez.

Anitra Gunn's family was also in the courtroom, they sat in the front row.

The jury pool quickly narrowed from 80 to 59 after a number of people asked to be excused.

As Judge Williford began to ask preliminary questions to the large group, four people expressed that they had a bias or had already formed an opinion on the guilt or innocence of Little.

All four were women. One was a part of the search party for Anitra Gunn. Another said Anitra was often her server at a restaurant she frequented.

The remaining jurors were separated into five groups.

Baskin interviewed those jurors and her line of questioning for all five groups led to domestic violence.

She asked, "When you heard about domestic violence, whether it’s a conversation between you and someone else or something maybe you heard on television, does anybody ever ask the question: 'why didn’t they just leave?'"

That question was followed by, "Is there anybody on the panel that agrees with this statement: ‘well if they go back, it’s really just their fault and whatever happens to them is on them.'"

Questioning of the potential jurors did not go without opposition from defense attorney Benjamin Davis.

Davis spoke out on two occasions, both in relation to potential jurors who told the court they knew Little's family.

He said that Baskin was "putting words in their [potential jurors] mouths," after a line of questioning on whether they could be impartial.

Davis asserted that they should instead be asked if they could follow the judge's orders to only consider evidence presented in the courtroom because according to him, the state was not due impartiality.

Ultimately, 10 women and four men were selected: five Black women, five White women, three Black men, and one White man.

Opening statements are set to begin Tuesday morning, after a hearing between attornies and Judge Williford.

According to Baskin, Anitra Gunn made statements to friends and family about DeMarcus Little and her relationship with him. The defense is calling those statements hearsay since they would be delivered in court by someone other than Anitra Gunn. The prosecution will argue that had she not been killed by the defendant she could testify to those statements herself.

Jury selection is expected to begin Monday in the trial of an Army sergeant accused of murder in the strangulation slaying of his girlfriend, a Fort Valley State University student who disappeared on Valentine’s Day in 2020.

The body of Anitra LaShay Gunn was found four days later in a pine thicket in southern Crawford County.


Investigators have said that Gunn, a 22-year-old agriculture major from Atlanta, was strangled.


Her vanishing two years ago on the eve of shutdowns caused by the coronavirus pandemic attracted statewide news coverage as police searching for her combed the countryside along the Crawford-Peach county borders.


Seven days after she disappeared, her boyfriend, Demarcus Devantae Little, now 25, an Army sergeant stationed in Augusta, was charged with murder.

As is common before a case makes it to trial, authorities have not publicly divulged any potential evidence they may have gathered that allegedly links Little to the killing.


Gunn was last seen at a house where Little’s aunt lived on the north side of Fort Valley, where Little, who grew up in Houston and Peach counties, often stayed.


Gunn’s body was found less than two miles away on Feb. 18, 2020, after a Peach sheriff’s investigator noticed a disturbed patch of roadside grass and brush that looked like a car had rumbled through it.


Little was questioned at least three times by investigators early in the probe. He was first jailed on charges that he slashed the tires on Gunn’s car, a 2013 Chevrolet Cruze, and smashed her apartment windows with a brick a week and a half before she went missing.

After she vanished, her car, which had roadside grass and vegetation jammed in its grille, turned up near her apartment with its front bumper broken.


Because investigators believe Gunn was killed in Peach, the case will be tried there, in Fort Valley, with Judge Connie L. Williford presiding.


If convicted of murder, Little faces a maximum sentence of life in prison without parole.


Soon after Little was charged in the case, his lawyer, Benjamin Davis of Atlanta, spoke to reporters at a first-appearance hearing and lauded his client’s military background.


“We believe that in time what will be shown is that he’s really not capable of committing this kind of offense,” the attorney said. “If he were the kind of person that would commit a malice murder ... like this, that would have been borne out in the military.”

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