ATLANTA — He was shot seven times and died at the hands of alleged gang members who traveled to metro Atlanta to purchase stolen guns, officials said.
On the night of July 22, 2017, prosecutors said Michael Henley was gunned down and killed. The 20-year-old, who was a club promoter, was meeting with a woman he planned to hire as a bottle girl. Little did he know that others would show up, killing him during the encounter.
"They decided to rob him," Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard said. "But they also shot him and killed him, with the very same guns that had been purchased here in the Atlanta area."
Authorities said the suspects traveled to Georgia from the northeast.
Two of the defendants, 23-year-old Javante Nunez and 23-year-old Damel Roberts just received two consecutive life sentences. The third person accused in the crime, 21-year-old Qariem Arrindell, will be tried at a later date.
Here's what the Fulton County District Attorney's Office said happened in the case:
PLANNING THE TRIP
The three defendants came to Atlanta from Pennsylvania on July 21, 2017. Prosecutors said Nunez, Roberts, and Arrindell are members of a street gang that has strong ties there, in New York, and New Jersey.
The district attorney's office said the men realized Georgia's gun laws were less restrictive than those in the northeast, so they planned their visit to the south.
THE "STRAW BUYER"
The defendants couldn't do it alone, so prosecutors said they met up with a "straw buyer," which is a person who buys something for someone else in order to get around legal restrictions.
Prosecutors said the woman they chose to carry out the plot was Roberts' ex-girlfriend. The two had been in an abusive relationship, where she was afraid for her life, officials said.
The next morning, they picked her up from her Atlanta home and went gun shopping.
"This young lady was intimidated that they would harm her, or harm her family, if she didn't make the purchase of the gun," Howard said.
BUYING THE FIREARMS
The district attorney's office said the group went to several pawn shops, and the woman was able to buy two guns, per the demands of the defendants.
Officials said they also went to Walmart to buy ammunition. Then they took the woman home.
HIRING A "BOTTLE GIRL"
On the same day prosecutors said the illegal guns were purchased, the victim Michael Henley talked to the woman who was forced to be the "straw buyer" about being hired as a "bottle girl."
The club promoter agreed to pay her $1,000 upfront, but wanted to meet her in person to discuss employment.
Prosecutors claim Roberts and the others learned about the conversation and showed up to the woman's house as she was meeting with Henley. The next moments would be fatal.
The defendants pulled up as Henley was sitting in his car.
Officials said Nunez and Arrindell told the woman, who was holding her child, to go inside the home. Prosecutors said the victim tried to escape, but he was shot seven times and died at the scene.
The district attorney's office said the men went a few miles down the road to the home of another one of Roberts' ex-girlfriends.
The suspects pointed gun at the father of the woman's children and demanded a car.
Prosecutors said Roberts told the woman, “if you call the police I will kill you and your baby daddy."
They stole the man's car, traveling to Pennsylvania and then New York where they were caught.
THE IRON PIPELINE
Fulton County prosecutors said a study commissioned by the New York State Office of the Attorney General shows the majority of the illegal guns which were trafficked to New York during 2010 and 2015 were purchased in states along the “Iron Pipeline.”
The “Iron Pipeline” is made up of seven states along the east coast, including Georgia. The Fulton County District Attorney's Office said these states maintain lax gun laws, and they provide gun traffickers from the northeast easy access to I-95 and I-90.
Statistics show between 2010 and 2015, the “Iron Pipeline” was responsible for 76 percent of the trafficked guns to New York, and Georgia accounted for 13 percent of trafficked guns to New York.
Roberts and Nunez were convicted of murder, felony murder, aggravated assault, possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony, and other charges.