Georgia inmate who killed worker in prison cafeteria was in a relationship with the victim

The shooter, Jaydrekus Hart, was serving 20 years for voluntary manslaughter

Katie Hawkinson,Mike Bedigan
Monday 17 June 2024 21:33 BST
Georgia inmate shoots and kills 24-year-old female food service worker inside the prison’s kitchen
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Louise Thomas

Louise Thomas

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An incarcerated man who shot and killed a 24-year-old woman working in the prison’s kitchen before turning the gun on himself was in a relationship with the victim, officials say.

Jaydrekus Hart shot Aureon Grace, an employee of food service company Aramark, early Sunday morning in the kitchen of Smith State Prison in rural southeast Georgia.

“During the course of the investigation, it was discovered that a personal relationship existed between Aramark employee Grace and offender Hart,” a Georgia Department of Corrections spokesperson said in a Monday statement. “A suicide note was also discovered that appears to have been left by offender Hart.”

The investigation is still ongoing, the spokesperson said, and it is still unclear how he obtained the weapon. The gun is now in the hands of investigators.

Hart was serving 20 years for voluntary manslaughter in Carroll County, with a maximum release date of June 2043.

Jaydrekus Hart, pictured, left behind a note before he killed Aureon Shavea Grace and turned the gun on himself Sunday morning
Jaydrekus Hart, pictured, left behind a note before he killed Aureon Shavea Grace and turned the gun on himself Sunday morning (Georgia Department of Corrections)

Aramark is assisting Department of Corrections officials with the investigation.

“We are heartbroken over the loss of our colleague and our hearts and prayers go out to her family,” Aramark spokesperson Debbie Albert said in a statement. “This is a tragedy for all of us.”

Friends and family have since paid tribute to Grace, describing her as “kind and pure-hearted.”

Loved ones describe Aureon Grace, pictured, as “sweet,” “kind,” and “pure-hearted”
Loved ones describe Aureon Grace, pictured, as “sweet,” “kind,” and “pure-hearted” (Lovett & Son's Funeral Home)

“It was a pleasure working with you and getting to know you especially your laughter and we both love to eat,” wrote one colleague on an obituary page. “Praying for your family and your babies. U are truly going to be missed.”

Another wrote: “Sending prayers and love to the family, especially her kids. She was a really sweet young lady, close friends to my daughter, we’re really gonna miss her. We love you.”

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