Assistant District Attorney Dan Hiatt prepared to try the case of the State of Georgia vs. Andrew Magnuson this week in front of the Honorable Christopher Edwards. This morning, the defendant entered a guilty plea to two counts of Enticing a Child and one count of Attempted Kidnapping. The defendant was sentenced to 50 years with the first 30 years to be served in prison followed by 20 years on probation. The case was back in court after the defendant was granted Habeas Corpus relief.
On October 29, 2000, the defendant approached an 8 year old and a 9 year old boy in Three Ponds Park in Peachtree City. He gave them a ride on his golf cart, discussed inappropriate sexual subjects, urged them to come over to his house, and exchanged information with one of the victim children. On October 30, 2000, now Assistant Chief Stanley Pye and other officers were performing surveillance in the vicinity of Oak Grove Elementary school when they encountered the defendant on his golf cart. The defendant had a knife, rope, and duct tape. He later admitted in an interview that he was planning to abduct a child forcibly if necessary. He also admitted to the incident the day before with the two boys.
In 2002, the defendant entered a guilty plea and was sentenced to confinement. During the course of his prison sentence, the defendant applied for Habeas Corpus relief, meaning that he believed he was illegally detained. In 2015, a court granted his petition for Habeas Corpus, and the case was placed back on a trial calendar.
Assistant District Attorney Hiatt diligently prepared this case for trial despite the difficulty in trying a 19 year old case. District Attorney Coker said of the resolution, “[t]his sentence is another reflection of my office’s commitment to the prosecution of those who prey upon children. Even in the face of adversity, my office, law enforcement, and the victims persevered, and justice prevailed in the courtroom today.”
On Monday, August 19, 2019, Rodriguez Kemp entered a guilty plea to the following felony offenses: Aggravated Assault on a Law Enforcement Officer, Use of a Sawed-off Shotgun during the Commission of a Crime and Fleeing and Attempting to Elude. For these crimes, Chief Judge Christopher C. Edwards sentenced the defendant to 35 years with the first 21 years to be served in prison without parole. These crimes occurred on December 21, 2018 when Kemp led officers on a dangerous multi-county, high-speed, car chase on Georgia Highway 85, which ended in Fayette County. Kemp fired a sawed-off shotgun at Fayette County Sheriff’s Lieutenant, Cody Benslay when the chase concluded. District Attorney Ben Coker, represented the State, Lt. Benslay and other members of law enforcement were present in court for the plea.
District Attorney Coker said of the plea, “[f]irst and foremost, I am very thankful that no members of law enforcement were seriously injured as the result of Rodriguez Kemp’s actions on December 21, 2018. Law enforcement officers suit up for duty every day to protect us, and this case is an example of the very real danger they face. I cannot thank them enough for what they do. Let this sentence send a message to those who assault a law enforcement officer in my circuit. Violence against law enforcement will not be tolerated, and the punishment for said acts will be severe.”
This morning, a Spalding County jury convicted Versaches Evans of Aggravated Battery for fracturing his infant daughter's ribs. His daughter was 12 weeks old when the injuries were discovered. He was charged with additional counts; however, the jury was unable to reach a verdict on those counts. On the Aggravated Battery, Senior Judge Matthew Simmons sentenced the defendant to 20 years with the first 12 years to be served in prison. Takiah Wilson, the biological mother was also charged with the crimes. The jury acquitted Wilson. Chief Assistant District Attorney Marie Broder and Assistant District Attorney Ashton Fallin tried the case for the State. The case was presented over 3 days and included testimony from law enforcement and medical doctors from local hospitals and Children's Healthcare of Atlanta.
District Attorney Ben Coker said, "child abuse cases are exceptionally difficult to prosecute and difficult for juries to consider. I respect the jury's decision in this case. My heartfelt thanks goes out to law enforcement, Dr. Messner from Children's Healthcare of Atlanta, and my staff, especially Marie and Ashton, for their fight for this helpless victim."
On Monday, January 28, 2019, agents of the DEA and local law enforcement executed a search warrant at the medical office of psychiatrist Dr. Ginari Price known as Psycare, LLC located at 101 Devant Street, Unit 504, Fayetteville, Georgia. A search warrant was also executed at the home of Dr. Price and her husband Michael Price. Four individuals were arrested that day, Dr. Ginari Price, her husband Michael Price, Nurse Practitioner Ngozi Okoro and Nurse Practitioner Marie Pierre. Evidence was discovered during the investigation that during several months while Dr. Price was absent from the practice and not seeing any patients, the four worked together to continue issuing prescriptions for controlled substances in Dr. Price’s name to both former and new patients. These individuals were each charged with Unlawful Distribution and Dispensation of controlled substances, Conspiracy to Commit Unlawful Distribution and Dispensation of controlled substances, Practicing Medicine without a License, and Conspiracy to Commit Practicing Medicine without a License. Since Dr. Price held a medical license, she was charged as a party to the crimes related to practicing medicine without a license for assisting others in commission of those crimes.
Deputy Chief Assistant District Attorney Warren Sellers and Investigator Saul Alter assisted the DEA in the investigation.
This week, in Spalding County, Assistant District Attorneys Morgan Kendrick and Ashton Fallin tried the case of State of Georgia v. Bret Alan Smith. The defendant was charged with aggravated sexual battery, two counts of child molestation, and one count of cruelty to children in the first degree. The evidence showed that the defendant had molested more than one victim for several years and in several different counties, including Spalding County. The jury returned a verdict of guilty on all counts, and the Honorable John C. Carbo sentenced the defendant to a total of life serve 30 years.
District Attorney Coker said of the trial, “children are one of the most vulnerable groups in our community. I am grateful to my office for the hard work that they do to put those that prey upon children behind bars. I am especially thankful to Ashton and Morgan for their work this week, the witnesses that testified, and those from Colquitt County who came up to testify on the case. As a team, they made sure that this predator will never hurt another child.”
The Spalding County District Attorney’s Office presented the case of the State of Georgia vs. Dexter Lamar Boyd and Victor Lee Warner this week in front of a Spalding County jury. The Honorable Christopher Edwards presided over the case. The jury convicted Boyd and Warner of Armed Robbery, two counts of Aggravated Assault, Theft by Taking, Possession of Firearm During the Commission of a Felony. Warner was also convicted of Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon. District Attorney Ben Coker and Assistant District Attorney Donna Gopaul tried the case. Warner was sentenced to Life in prison for his actions, and Boyd was sentenced to 20 years with the first 12 years to be served in prison for his involvement. Another co-defendant, Timothy Ragland, entered a guilty plea and testified against the other two co-defendants at trial. He received a sentence of 20 years with the first 10 years to be spent in prison.
The defendants were convicted of taking cellular phones from the T-Mobile store located on North Expressway on July 31, 2018. They forced two employees working at the T-Mobile store into the back and ordered them to dump cellular phones into bags. Unbeknownst to the defendants, one employee placed a tracking device into the bag. That tracking device allowed law enforcement to track the defendants into Henry County where they proceeded to engage law enforcement in a high speed chase. They were apprehended after their vehicle wrecked.
“It was an honor to fight alongside ADA Gopaul and law enforcement in obtaining a conviction in this case. Thank you to my office, law enforcement, and the brave witnesses who testified in this trial. Armed robberies are a horrific crime that have a lasting impact on victims. We as a society cannot accept or condone the idea that ‘you have it, I want it, I’m going to take it.’ My offices will continue to work hard to make sure that this idea is eradicated from this community. This sentence should be a message to those that violently take what is not theirs. We are tired of it.”
We would like to welcome Rebecca Dehbozorgi to our staff in the Fayette County District Attorney’s Office! “Becky” is an Assistant District Attorney in the office, and we are excited about her joining us.
We have some exciting news to share with you. Friday morning, 1/18/2019, from 9-10 am, Ben Coker, your District Attorney, and Marie Broder, his Chief Assistant District Attorney will start a monthly radio program on WKEU 88.9 FM/1450 AM in Griffin. This will be a chance for us to tell you exactly what it is that we do. The program will air every third Friday of the month from 9-10 am. We have already lined some exciting guests to come on and speak. Y'all tune in to listen! You can live stream at work using this link: http://wkeuradio.com/live-stream/.
Thanks, in advance, for listening!
Our Upson County Office was honored to provide Christmas for a mother and her children through Promise Place a domestic violence shelter and resource center. Hopefully, this family’s Christmas is a bit brighter.