Breaking News
More () »

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.

Day-by-day recap

March 8: In the first day, jurors heard from witnesses who described Anitra Gunn’s final hours. In opening statements, the prosecution said Anitra Gunn laughed at Little in the early morning hours of Valentine’s Day 2020 when he told her that he loved her. Assistant DA Neil Halvorson says that led to Little choking her to death. Halvorson says Little confessed everything to his best friend, Jaivon Abron. The jury also heard from Little's aunt and David Howard aka ‘Scoot’ whom Anitra had a “intimate relationship” with in her final days.

March 9: Jurors heard details of Gunn and Little's relationship spanning from before her disappearance until after her death. The state presented 11 witnesses, ranging from officers who worked the investigation to a woman who says she came home and saw Anitra Gunn’s missing car next to her house. The day in court detailed what Little called an ‘on again, off again’ relationship with Gunn. Fort Valley Police Department Lt. Demetrius Kendrick says Little voluntarily told police about damaging Anitra Gunn’s property.

March 10: It was an emotional day in court for Anitra Gunn’s family. The prosecution presented gruesome photos of her body found in the woods and detailed testimonies of her autopsy report. Jurors were also allowed to go outside and see her Chevy Cruze.

March 11: Little’s high school friend, Jaivon Abron, gave shocking testimony on the stand where he described Little’s murder confession to him. He says it all started when Little picked him up from a party. The weekend escalated from there. The details were gruesome, viewer discretion of his testimony is advised.

March 12: The court saw text messages dating back to four months before her death. The messages detail their eventual break-up in Nov. 2019 and the chaotic back-and-forth that followed. Just five days later, Little and Gunn were texting again. This time, Little was questioning Anitra's relationship with another man. Then on Jan. 13, 2020, text messages reveal Gunn's distress over her relationship with Little.

March 14: Testimony focused on technology during the days before and after Gunn went missing. Text messages, cache locations, and social media messages were presented to jurors. In the messages, Little constantly asked Gunn about her relationships with other men. They also showed he asked at least four women for sex in the days that Gunn was missing, and prosecutors said location data showed Little's location near Gunn's abandoned car and where her body was later found on Greer Road.

March 15: Demarcus Little took the stand in his own defense, hoping to convince the jury he did not kill Gunn. He called Gunn his soulmate and said he would never kill her, but prosecutor Dawn Baskin challenged Little while he was on the stand. She repeatedly circled back to cached phone location evidence that suggested he killed Gunn, drove her car into the woods off Greer Road, and dumped her body. Little could not explain the evidence, or said it was wrong in the very specific window of time he was being asked about.

Timeline of Anitra Gunn's disappearance

Feb. 14, 2020

  • Anitra’s father, Christopher Gunn, calls to wish her a happy Valentine’s Day on Friday morning
  • Fort Valley Police say the last time she was seen was around 11:30 a.m. (there is a discrepancy in timelines between Fort Valley Police Department, Peach County Sheriff's Office, and GBI)
  • Christopher Gunn says Anitra’s brother tried calling her and no one answered the phone
  • Gunn asked Anitra’s friends and family to try calling her to see if she would answer
  • Gunn asked police to do a courtesy check at Anitra’s residence on W. Church Street. No one was found in the house, and Gunn says nothing looked out of place that would indicate a robbery or struggle.

Feb. 15, 2020

  • Gunn drove down from Atlanta to Fort Valley to file a missing person’s report
  • Law enforcement found her car on Belle Street Saturday afternoon, near her apartment
  • Gunn says the front bumper was damaged and the car was found in a neighbor’s yard
  • The Georgia Bureau of Investigation takes Anitra’s car for processing. The GBI has not said what they found inside, but Gunn says her wallet was inside
  • Gunn says police told him that Anitra’s phone was found somewhere else, but did not tell him where
  • Fort Valley Police issue a release asking people to be on the lookout for Anitra

Feb. 17, 2020 

  • A task force between Fort Valley Police and Peach County Sheriff’s Office was formed to assist in the search for Anitra
  • The GBI confirms to 13WMAZ that Georgia State Patrol and GBI are flying helicopters to assist in an aerial search for Anitra
  • On Monday afternoon around 4 p.m., two dozen volunteers were out searching the area where Anitra was last seen -- the house of her boyfriend's aunt on Chestnut Hill Road
  • Peach County Sheriff Terry Deese releases photos of Anitra's car with the front bumper missing. He says whoever has the bumper probably knows where she is.
  • Search crews tell 13WMAZ that they're packing up and will be ending their ground search for the day around 5 p.m.

Feb. 18, 2020

  • Crimestoppers announces a $5K reward for information leading to Anitra's location
  • Peach County investigators are at the scene of a home in Taylor County Tuesday afternoon where they hope to collect evidence
  • Peach County Sheriff Terry Deese says they received an anonymous tip about a car connected to the case being seen near property in Taylor County owned by Anitra's boyfriend's aunt
  • The location was searched on the ground and by drones -- nothing noteworthy was found says Deese
  • Just before 5 p.m., the GBI confirmed to 13WMAZ that Anitra's body had been recovered in Crawford County near the Peach-Crawford line
  • Peach County Sheriff Terry Deese says in a news conference that Anitra's boyfriend is a 'person of interest' and is being interviewed voluntarily for a third time
  • Hours later her boyfriend is arrested and charged with an incident that happened with Anitra on Feb. 5. They say he smashed the windows at her apartment and slashed her tires 
  • Fort Valley State University issues a statement asking for prayers and offers counseling services to students

Feb. 19, 2020

  • The Fort Valley Department of Safety positively identifies the remains as Anitra Gunn's
  • Anitra's father, Christopher, releases a statement thanking everyone who helped search for his daughter. He asks for privacy and continued prayers for the Gunn family
  • Fort Valley Police release the incident report from Feb. 5, where she does not name her boyfriend as being responsible for vandalism at her home

Feb. 21, 2020

  • Demarcus Little appeared in a Peach County courtroom around 1 p.m. for a bond hearing on his criminal damage to property charges
  • Just after 5:30 p.m. Friday, Little was then formally charged with malice murder in the death of his girlfriend, Anitra Gunn

Feb. 24, 2020

  • A warrant reveals Gunn's cause of death as 'manual strangulation.' Little appears in court for his murder charge and is not granted bond.

RELATED: 'I’m not the person that you guys are trying to make me out to be': Demarcus Little takes stand in his defense

RELATED: Little's friend describes Anitra Gunn murder confession to jurors

Before You Leave, Check This Out