A Rome man, Devin Lashawn Watts, who was accused of murdering two Rome sisters in May 2020 was found not guilty of murder by an Alabama jury.

Despite being found not guilty in Cherokee County, Watts will remain in custody and stand trial for crimes allegedly committed in Floyd County.

Watts, along with Desmond Lavonta Brown and Christopher Leedarious Pullen were accused of killing Vanita Richardson and Truvenia Campbell before dumping their bodies off a bridge near Grizzard Park in Rome.

Brown was convicted earlier for murdering Campbell.  He was sentenced to life in prison

Prosecutors argued Watts shot Richardson, as there were two guns used in the sisters’ deaths.

Watts’ attorney questioned cellphone data used to track the car. He also questioned testimony given by Watts’ co-defendant Pullen. His attorney suggested that Pullen was lying and that there were other people involved in the killing.

Pullen has not been tried yet on his charge of felony murder.


The GBI on Thursday announced the arrest of three men, Desmond Lavonta Brown, 28, Devin Lashawn Watts, 36, and Christopher Leedarious Pullen, 23, for the double murder of two Rome women in May.

The bodies of Vanita Nicole Richardson and Truvenia Clarece Campbell were found dead under the Etowah River Bridge on the Rome bypass back on May 13th. Sources indicate that the two women had bags over their heads and with gunshot wounds.

The GBI added that additional arrests are pending as their investigation continues.

Desmond Lavonta Brown, 28, is charged with two counts murder, possession of cocaine, possession of marijuana, possession of a controlled substance with intent to distribute, and probation violation.

Devin Lashawn Watts, 36, is charged with two counts murder, two counts aggravated battery, two counts aggravated assault, possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, theft by receiving stolen property, theft by taking, tampering with evidence, false statements and writings, two counts abandonment of a dead body and possession of a fire arm during the commission of a felony.

Christopher Leedarious Pullen, 23, is charged with two counts murder, two counts murder two counts murder aggravated battery, two counts murder aggravated assault, two counts murder abandonment of a dead body, three counts tampering with evidence, theft by taking, false statements and writings, criminal trespass, drugs not in original container and possession of a schedule II controlled substance.

According to GBI Director Vic Reynolds, “This took a great deal of man hours and work. We’ve executed over 130 search warrants and court orders in this case. The GBI worked 2.993 man hours alone since the case broke in May.”

He added, “I want to take a moment to tell these victim’s families how much we appreciate their patience.”

The missing vehicle of the women have also been located.


A man charged in connection with a double murder last week, Desmond Lavonta Brown, 28 of Rome, has been booked into the Floyd County Jail for the second time in days. This time on numerous drug distribution charges.

Reports said that a search warrant was issued for Brown’s vehicle.  GBI agents stated that in the process they located a quantity of cocaine and marijuana that was individually packaged along with scales and packaging materials.

Brown is charged with possession of cocaine, possession of marijuana, manufacture or distribute a controlled substance, possession of cocaine with intent to distribute and probation violation.

Additional story on Brown:

June 2019

Desmond Lavonta Brown, 27 of Rome, was arrested this week after he allegedly rammed his car into a vehicle belonging to a 24 year-old man at a high rate of speed.

Reports stated that the victim’s vehicle was forced off the road and proceeded to strike two power polls and a sign.

The incident occurred after Brown went the victim’s home, which violated his bond, in an attempt to intimidate the victim.

The incident occurred back on June 8th

Brown is charged with aggravated assault, aggravated stalking, hit and run, aggressive driving and reckless driving.


The GBI has confirmed that the two arrest made this week, Desmond Lavonta Brown, 28, and Devin Lashawn Watts, 36, are in connection with the double murder in Rome last week,

The GBI stated, “These arrests were the results of search warrants executed on apartments and vehicles based on leads that were developed and tips received from the GBI Tip Line.  This investigation remains active and ongoing.  Anyone with information pertaining to this this case is urged to contact the GBI at 1-800-597-TIPS (8477).”


GBI agents arrested Devin Lawhawn Watts, 36 of Rome, this week on gun charges.

Reports said that Watts, who was a convicted felon, placed a Glock .380 caliber firearm in a closet at an apartment on Dodd Blvd.

The firearm had been reported stolen out of Pickens County.

Watts is charged with theft by receiving stolen property and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.

Watts was taken into custody with Desmond Brown (below) at the Callier Forrest Apartments on Monday, but Watts was not booked into the jail until much later. His report did not appear to the media until Wednesday morning.

We have again reached out to GBI agents for comment on whether this arrest is tied to the double murder last week.


The Georgia Bureau of Investigation arrested Desmond Lavonte Brown, 28 of Rome, this week following an incident at the Callier Forest Apartments on Dodd Blvd.

According to reports, after being told not to get into a vehicle Brown attempted to do so.  The GBI added that while being detained Brown resisted law enforcement and had to be detained.

The incident occurred at the K buildings in the apartment complex

We have reached out to GBI officials in regards to if the arrest is in connection with the double murder of Vanita Nicole Richardson and Truvenia Campbell last week.

Arrest reports did include the detail “see case file”, but GBI declined to comment on case file.

Brown is charged with obstruction.


Investigators seeking assistance:

The vehicle attached belonged to the victim Vanita Richardson.  The investigation has shown that both Vanita Richardson and Truvenia Campbell were in this vehicle during the evening hours of Tuesday, May 12, 2020.  The vehicle’s location is not known at this time but investigators believe that it could be somewhere in the Metro Atlanta area.   Anyone with information concerning this vehicle or the investigation, please contact the GBI tipline at 1-800-597-8477. 

1997 Toyota Corolla

Gold in color

Georgia license plate: RTJ6295

Please note that the attached photograph is NOT the actual vehicle, but is the same mak


Two bodies were removed from an area underneath a bridge on the Loop 1 near Grizzard Park Wednesday afternoon.

Reports said that the bodies were discovered by a DOT crew doing work on the bridge.

According to the Floyd County Coroner’s office the victims have been identified as 19 and 30 year-old females.

Family and friends of Vanita Richardson, 19, and her sister Truvenia Campbell. 30, went to social media Wednesday to mourn the loss of the women. Richardson was a senior at Armuchee High School.

 Authorities also did not state how long they may have been at the location.

The GBI has asked for the community’s assistance to anyone who may have seen any suspicious activity along the bypass near Grizzard Park between Tuesday night and Wednesday morning.  Please contact the GBI at 1-800-597-TIPS (8477) with any information pertinent to the investigation,” according to a midday news release from the agency.

Initial reports also stated that the victims had bags over their heads and that discharged shotgun shells were found in the area.

A statement from Floyd County School reads, “We are deeply saddened and heartbroken by the news of the death of one of our students, Vanita Richardson who was scheduled to graduate next Saturday. We extend our deepest sympathies to the Armuchee Community and her friends and family at this time. Our thoughts and prayers are with them. Vanita will be remembered for being a fun-loving, humble, and motivated student who was making strong plans for her future. 
Even throughout the school closures, Vanita’s passing is felt by all. In particular, the staff members whose lives she touched with her caring personality and big heart. 

The Armuchee High social worker and counselor will be available for virtual grief and loss counseling sessions. Students who are interested should email them directly.”

Check back later as details become available.