LaGrange man convicted of murder in 2019, sentenced to life plus 75 years
Posted at 1:04 p.m. on Wednesday, October 5, 2022
A LaGrange man was convicted of murder, along with other counts, and was sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of parole, followed by 75 years in prison.
After a week-long trial, a Troup County jury found Travis McFarland, now 21, of LaGrange guilty of murder, aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, felony attempted armed robbery , possession of a firearm in the commission of a felony and two violations of the Georgia Street Gang Terrorism and Prevention Act, according to a press release from District Attorney Herb Cranford.
Coweta Judicial Circuit Superior Court Judge Markette Baker convicted McFarland. Chief Assistant District Attorney Jack Winne prosecuted the case. LaGrange Police Department Sgt. Ley Wynne and LPD gang detective Jarrod Anderson were the lead investigators.
At trial, the evidence showed that James Jake Ponder, 24, while sitting in the driver’s seat of his vehicle, was the victim of an attempted armed robbery that went wrong. Ponder was shot in the back, hands and leg. Ponder succumbed to his injuries that night.
The press release says evidence has shown McFarland was one of two perpetrators who got into the backseat of Ponder under false pretences with the plan to rob him at gunpoint during an incident. in February 2019. McFarland impersonated “Slime Hext”. The press release notes that in Bloods gang lingo, “sliming” someone generally means stealing. The investigation also demonstrated that McFarland was a member of the “Bounty Hunter” set of the criminal Bloods street gang, and that the commission of these offenses was motivated by his participation in the activities of the violent gang, and that he committed these crimes to maintain and increase his status in the gang.
“This case is another tragic example of lives ruined and families destroyed by criminal street gangs,” Cranford’s press release said. “Mr. Ponder, the victim, lost his life and his family will never be the same, all because the defendant chose to commit theft and was willing to kill for it. Accordingly appropriate and just, he will spend a substantial part, if not the rest of his or her life in prison Case after case shows that criminal street gang activity leads to death or substantial incarceration.