The family of a Forsyth County couple murdered decades ago was elated to learn one of three men serving a life sentence for the crime will not be released early.
Danny Reid said the family found out Thursday that the Georgia Board of Pardons and Paroles had decided against granting Felton Junior Avery a medical reprieve.
“We’re all happy and we thank everybody that worked on it,” he said.
Reid’s brother and sister-in-law, Tony and Kathy Reid, were shot to death Dec. 18, 1989, in their home on Hwy. 141. He was 34 and she was 29.
Avery, Kenneth Brady and Billy Ray Robertson were convicted and sentenced to life in prison for the Reids’ deaths.
The board had informed family members in April that they were considering releasing Avery. The family had until May 10 to submit their views on the matter in writing.
Reid said his family isn’t sure who all wrote to the board, but they are grateful for it nonetheless.
“We had everybody we could think of trying to write letters and help us,” he said. “He was a danger to the citizens. He didn’t need to be out.”
Helen Jones, Kathy Reid’s mother, has said she posted information about Avery’s possible release on a social networking site and asked family and friends to send letters to the parole board.
Reid’s father, E.H. Reid, echoed his son’s remarks.
“I want to thank everybody that had something to do with trying to keep him in there,” the elder Reid said. “He’s supposed to get a life sentence and I think he ought to be in there as long as he lives. He sure did cause a lot of trouble and a lot of heartache.”
Reports show the couple was robbed and shot execution style. One of Tony Reid’s employees found them the day after they were killed, when he came to check on Reid because he hadn’t come to work.
They were lying face down on the dining room floor of the house, which had been ransacked.
Instead of going to a car sale, Tony Reid stayed home the day he was killed because the weather was bad. His wife had decorated a Christmas tree in the house and was baking a cake that morning for a friend who had just had a baby.
Authorities worked on the case for about three years and four months before they caught the men responsible for the Reids’ deaths.
Robertson, who was a former employee of Reid’s, was tried separately from Avery and Brady.
The attorney who prosecuted the case, Garry Moss, has previously told the Forsyth County News that Robertson did not physically participate in the crime but gave Brady information about the Reids.
Apparently, Brady got Avery involved and they hatched a plan. Moss said Robertson testified against Avery and Brady and after they were convicted, Avery testified against Robertson.
A lifelong county resident, Tony Reid was an auctioneer and owned a used car business while Kathy Reid was originally from Duluth. She worked at a software company.
The Reid family’s farming history in Forsyth County predates the Civil War.
State Department of Corrections records show Avery’s criminal history goes back as far as 1970.
He had been sentenced in other counties for various offenses, including burglary, possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, escape and aggravated assault of a peace officer.