Jury indicts 5 Gainesville men on murder charges

An Alachua County grand jury indicted five Gainesville men on first-degree murder charges on Thursday stemming from two separate cases.

Jason Ward
Courtesy Alachua County Jail Jason Ward
Alderious White
Courtesy Alachua County Jail Alderious White
Patrick Watson
Courtesy of Alachua County Jail Patrick Watson

According to a State Attorney’s Office press release, Alderious White, 29, Jason Ward, 38, and Patrick Watson, 49, all face first-degree murder charges for the unlawful killing of Dhalani Armstrong, burglary while armed with a firearm/home invasion robbery, solicitation to commit home invasion robbery with a firearm and possession of a firearm and ammunition by a convicted felon.

The incident took place on July 19, 2022, when White and Ward broke into a home in Northeast Gainesville and shot and killed Armstrong. Watson was later arrested on Aug. 28 for setting up the home invasion robbery.

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Jerquay Freeman
Courtesy of Alachua County Jail Jerquay Freeman
Aziel Gainey
Courtesy of Alachua County Jail Aziel Gainey

Aziel Gainey, 21, and Jerquay Freeman, 18, were indicted in the second case on first-degree murder charges for the Sept. 1, 2022, shooting death of Romeo Sheppard.

Gainesville Police Department (GPD) officers responded to shots fired in the 1700 Block of NE 8th Avenue at Gardenia Gardens Apartments and found Sheppard in the driver’s seat of a vehicle with multiple gunshot wounds.

GPD investigators determined that Gainey and Freeman were involved in the shooting.

In the same State Attorney’s Office release, a Bradford County grand jury found Ted’Qwon McGowan, 21, guilty of first-degree murder and grand theft of a motor vehicle for a Nov. 5, 2021, shooting in Starke.

Starke Police officers investigated a verbal altercation between McGowan and Joshua Christopher Demps inside a vehicle on 1010 Brownlee Street. Demps exited the driver’s side and McGowan exited the passenger side and McGowan shot Demps in the head.

McGowan’s sentencing will be held on Wednesday, March 1, with a mandatory life sentence.

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