Americus family still seeks justice three years after daughter’s murder

On Wednesday, Americus police arrested a 25-year-old man for the 2014 murder of 4-year-old Assata Snipes. / Courtesy: Snipes family

Tony Snipes’ home is filled with memories, many of them featuring his and Sabrina Milledge’s two daughters, Isis and Assata.

But with all those memories, one sticks out.

"My favorite's always going to be with her hands up because it's like, already, she knew like, it's going to have to be some justice did sometime, somewhere soon,” he said.

On the night of Dec. 30, 2014, Tony, Sabrina, and their two girls were sitting in their old home on Georgia Avenue in Americus when they heard someone shooting through their windows.

Tony told everyone to get down, and then he ran outside to see what was going on. When he got there, he said whoever was shooting was gone.

"That’s when I came back, and I'd seen Assata still laying down, and I said, 'Is Assata shot?' And you know, that room became the longest room I ever had to run across,” he said.

That was three years ago.

"Three years of people walking around, and I'm not knowing if I'm looking at people that knew what happened to my child,” Tony said.

Someone knew enough for the Americus Police Department to make an arrest on Wednesday. 25-year-old Davontae Terrell Watts is now facing charges for Assata’s murder, as well as additional aggravated assault charges against Tony, Sabrina and Isis.

"I knew they were on to something,” Tony said. “It was coming."

"I was happy,” added Sabrina. “I was excited. But at the same time, I was anxious."

Now they’re anxious for what could still be coming—maybe more charges, and then a trial.

"Just getting mentally prepared for it,” Sabrina said.

They’re also preparing a 9-year-old for something no child should have to do.

"I was letting Isis know that you'll probably have to take the stand,” Tony said.

But in many ways, that’s what the past three years have meant for this family.

"I still have to let [Isis] know to this day, that's not normal,” he said. “I know you want to feel like you're normal like everybody, but your past is much different than everybody."

They’ll have to do that again for three-week-old Antonio Jr.

"He's going to look around and he's going to see pictures, and we're going to have to tell him. So I'll wait until he starts asking questions,” Tony said.

Those questions will be about the little girl that was waiting for him, Assata.

"She always wanted a brother,” Tony said. “'I want a brother. I want a brother, Daddy.' And she got her a brother."

Sabrina and Tony said they’re choosing to see the positive—easier said than done.

"But I mean, it's all about how you handle it,” Sabrina said. “You can either listen to them and fall victim to that, just listen to all the negativity. Or you can let it go, ignore it, move on, stay positive, keep going."

That’s what they’re committed to do—for Isis, for Tony Jr., and for Assata too.

"Whatever I can do to give them a better future, that's what I'm going to focus on,” Tony said. “You understand me? So anything else, that's for grown people. We can handle that."

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