Man gets life in prison for killing 2 teens behind supermarket; both shot in head

In this Aug. 2016 photo released by the Roswell Police Department, Jeffrey A. Hazelwood of Roswell, Ga., poses for a booking photo. (Roswell Police Department via AP)

A man accused of killing two 17-year-olds behind a supermarket in an Atlanta suburb has been sentenced to life in prison without parole.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports Jeffrey Hazelwood was sentenced Wednesday after he pleaded guilty, but mentally ill, to murder charges.

Carter Davis and Natalie Henderson were shot to death behind a Publix grocery store in Roswell on Aug. 1, 2016. The Fulton County Medical Examiner said the two teenagers each died from a single gunshot wound to the head.

Fulton County Superior Court Judge Shawn Ellen LaGrua had earlier ruled that Hazelwood was competent to stand trial based on reports from a clinical psychologist.

Henderson was preparing for her senior year at Roswell High School when she was killed. Davis had lived in Rapid City, South Dakota, during part of his high school years before moving to Georgia. He was about to start his senior year at River Ridge High School.

Hazelwood said very few words in court. He responded "yes mam," several times when asked various questions by the prosecutor including if he understood all of the charges, the years in prison tied to each crime, and if he had taken his medication last night and this morning.

He pleaded guilty to the following charges:
-2 counts of malice murder
-3 counts of felony murder
-2 counts of aggravated assault
-1 count of kidnapping

-1 count of aggravated sexual battery
-1 county of Finance credit card theft
-1 count of identity fraud
-2 counts of possession of a firearm during a felony
-1 count theft by taking

A delivery driver discovered the bodies behind the Publix on Woodstock Road. Police said their bodies were on the ground by two vehicles. Police said Hazelwood used Henderson's debit card at an area gas station after the alleged killings.

During a preliminary hearing last summer, Detective Jennifer Bennett of the Roswell Police Department revealed some bizarre details in the case. For one thing, Bennett said the suspect was captured on video wearing a mask similar to the one from the movie "V for Vendetta." He was seen wearing that in surveillance video at the gas station after the shootings and when he returned to the scene, she said.

Hazelwood, she said, eventually admitted to detectives after his arrest that he watched the victims as they were together in the back seat of Henderson's car at about 3 a.m. on Aug. 1.

"He admitted when he originally saw the vehicle, he became curious as to why they were going behind the Publix so he followed them back there," said Bennett in August of 2016. "He admitted to watching them from behind an electrical box for some time. He then told me he climbed to the top of the store and watched them from the top of the store."

Hazelwood said he approached the car and pointed a gun at the victims, forcing them out of the car, Bennett said. Hazelwood said he became scared of Davis, so he shot him in the head, Bennett testified.

The detective said Hazelwood then said he forced Henderson, who was partially clothed, to remove the rest of her clothing. He claimed he then sexually assaulted her. The autopsy report, however, said there was no sign of sexual trauma.

Hazelwood appeared in court on May 3 and child psychologist Christian Hildreth testified that he was competent to stand trial if he remains on medication for mental illness.

Jeffrey Hazelwood's long hair had been cut short and he was in a gray suit as he sat in the courtroom for his status hearing. Both prosecution and defense attorneys questioned his current psychologist and his previous psychiatrist. He has been receiving treatment at Central State Hospital in Milledgeville since February when he was moved from the Fulton County Jail.

Hildreth has been treating Hazelwood since he arrived. He said with new medications, Hazelwood has been able to have conversations and appears to understand how the court proceedings in his case would work.

Hildreth question Hazelwood to see if he was competent for trial "the first thing I asked do you know what your charged with Mr. Hazelwood indicated he did know what he was charged with, he initially said serious felonies lets leave it at that however he was able to discuss the seriousness of his charges."

Hildreth testified with medication Hazelwood was competent for trial.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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