Eight years pass since radio DJ's death

File | Submitted PhotoStephon Edgerton, center, escorted his niece, Raquel Williams and daughter Mia to the 2011 Father/Daughter Dance held at the Threatte Center in Lakeland. Stephon was killed Jan. 20, 2012, as he ended his shift as a popular radio personality at WGOV. 

VALDOSTA — Hilda Edgerton remembers the last time she saw her husband alive.

It was Jan. 20, 2012.

"It's a very vivid memory," she said. "The kids and I had just gotten home from school, and he was in the driveway; he had to be at work by 6 p.m. He helped get the kids out of the minivan and told the kids he was planning to cook for their grandmother's birthday the next day as well as play basketball with the boys. He looked at all the kids and said 'I love you all. I love you. See you later.'"

By midnight that night, Hilda Edgerton was a widow.

Stephon — known on-air as Juan Gotti — was shot to death after he stepped outside the WGOV building around 11:50 p.m.

He managed to call 911 and describe his attacker: a white male wearing a white skull cap or face mask, according to Lowndes County Sheriff's Office reports at the time.

Deputies, state troopers and K9 teams found him outside the studio building with three gunshot wounds — one to the head, two in the torso.

Edgerton died at South Georgia Medical Center about an hour later.

Officers and search dogs spent the night in a manhunt in the fields around the station.

But the trail had gone cold.

Monday marks eight years since the deadly events of that night, and Edgerton's killer has still not been brought to justice.

Lowndes County Sheriff Ashley Paulk said a person he considered the prime suspect died in a shootout a couple of years after Edgerton's death, but that if any new leads in the case came up, the sheriff's office would still follow them.

Hilda Edgerton said no new leads in the case have been reported in the past year.

She praised the efforts of former Lowndes County Sheriff's Office Detective Christie Griffin for keeping the family appraised of the investigation in its early years.

"It hurts that someone has not been caught, tried and convicted," Hilda Edgerton said. "He wasn't there for his daughter's high school graduation and won't be there when she graduates from college soon. He didn't see his sons become football players and musicians."

Their daughter, Mia, is a 21-year-old student at Savannah State University about to graduate with a biology degree, while son Christian, 16, is a honors student at Brooks County High School, where he plays on the Trojans football team.

The Edgertons' youngest son, Winston, is a student at Valdosta High School and is a top tuba player, his mother said.

"I didn't tell him which instrument to play, and he chose the tuba, not knowing that his father played the same instrument," she said. "He really takes after his father."

Authorities urge anyone with information regarding the case to call the Lowndes County Sheriff's Office criminal investigations division, (229) 671-2900.

Terry Richards is senior reporter at The Valdosta Daily Times.

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