On Monday, June 27th, 2022, Johnny Edwards, IV entered a plea of guilty but mentally ill to two counts of Malice Murder. Senior Judge Arch McGarity accepted the negotiated guilty plea and sentenced the defendant to life in prison without the possibility of parole. This sentence means he will never be released from prison. District Attorney Marie Broder handled the case along with Senior Assistant District Attorney Dan Hiatt and Deputy Chief Assistant District Attorney Warren Sellers. The Fayette County Sheriff’s Office investigated the case.
On December 7, 2019, at 2:29 pm, the Defendant called 911 and advised that he had killed his mother and wife and would be waiting for law enforcement outside the family home. The Fayette County Sheriff’s Office responded. The Defendant came out the front door of the home. He had blood on his ears, neck, arms, hands, pants and sandals. Upstairs in a bedroom to the right the defendant’s pregnant wife, Venus Quanteh, was located lying on the floor near the doorway in a pool of blood. Kathy Edwards, the defendant’s mother, was lying on the floor in a pool of blood near the bed. Venus had a fractured skull, cuts to her head, a stab wound to her cheek, a stab wound to her left shoulder and cuts to her fingers. Kathy had a fractured skull, cuts on her scalp, a cut on her nose and stab wounds to her neck. A blood covered wooden baseball bat was located between Venus and Kathy. A blood covered steak knife was located on the bathroom floor of the bathroom in that bedroom.
District Attorney Broder said at the plea hearing, “this case is truly heartbreaking and horrific. The family members in this case lost a mother, a grandchild, a wife, and so much more. This is a just sentence for such a heinous crime, as the defendant can not hurt anyone else.” District Attorney Broder added, “I would like to thank the Fayette County Sheriff’s Office. Without their thorough investigation, this plea would not have been possible.”
On March 9, 2022, a Spalding County jury convicted Malik Yarbrough of Malice Murder, Felony Murder, Aggravated Assault, and Possession of a Firearm During the Commission of a Felony. The jury deliberated for 25 minutes before delivering the verdict. Senior Assistant District Attorney Elizabeth Presley and Assistant District Attorney Adelle Petersen tried the case for the State. Griffin Police Department investigated the murder.
Today, June 8, 2022, after a lengthy sentencing hearing, the Honorable Scott L. Ballard sentenced the defendant to Life in Prison Without the Possibility of Parole for the murder. Both the State and the Defense introduced evidence at the hearing.
Yarbrough, an 18-year-old man from Griffin, was convicted of shooting Robert Donnel Brown in the back 3 times, killing him. The defendant claimed self-defense, but the jury rejected that defense with its verdict. Yarbrough murdered Brown on July 14, 2020 in the yard of a home on Melrose Avenue in Griffin.
At the sentencing hearing District Attorney Broder stated, “[t]his defendant has lived a significant life of crime already. If he gets out of prison, I believe he will kill someone else.”
Judge Ballard weighed both mitigating and aggravating factors and ultimately determined that the defendant was “permanently incorrigible” due to his significant criminal history and lack of remorse for the crime.
This morning, May 26, 2022, an Upson County jury convicted Andre Denard Noble, a 37-year-old male from Griffin, and Myrrin Kendrell Watson, a 43-year-old man from Griffin, for violation of two counts of Racketeering Influenced and Corrupt Organization Act (RICO). Assistant District Attorney, Ashton Fallin, along with Assistant District Attorney, Audrey Holliday, tried the case for the State. The Honorable Ben Miller, Jr. sentenced each defendant to 40 years in prison. Both defendants had lengthy criminal histories.
Both defendants were found to be leaders of the Rollin 20s Neighborhood Bloods Zoo Krew. They were found guilty of participating in a conspiracy to further the gang’s interests through criminal activity involving themselves and other co-conspirators. Those criminal activities include armed robbery, aggravated assault, drug trafficking, delivering contraband to inmates within the Georgia Department of Corrections, obtaining and selling contraband within the Georgia Department of Corrections, and Small Business Administration loan fraud. They were also found to further the gang’s interest by posting gang activity on social media and sending people into Upson County to commit crimes and recruit new members.
District Attorney Broder said, “I am so proud of my team, and this jury. This verdict sends a strong message that gang activity will not be tolerated in Upson County or in the Griffin Judicial Circuit. This jury and this sentence sends a message to other gang leaders seeking to recruit and commit crimes here…stay out of Upson.”
On May 20, 2022, after a week-long trial, a Fayette County jury found Brittany Shyanne Barber, a 27-year-old female from Newnan, Georgia, guilty of child molestation. The Honorable W. Fletcher Sams sentenced the Defendant to a total of 20 years, with 18 years to serve in prison followed by 2 years of probation. The case was prosecuted by Deputy Chief Assistant District Attorney Warren Sellers.
Barber was convicted of having sexual intercourse with a minor victim. The victim did testify at trial. The evidence at trial showed that the Defendant lived with the victim’s father who allowed Barber to function as the child’s step mother while he was away at work. The Defendant took advantage of this trust to begin and continue an inappropriate relationship with the child. When the victim tried to avoid her, the Defendant would make sure to cause his father to unjustifiably discipline the child.
Chief ADA Sellers said of the trial, “the courage of the victim in reliving the painful details of the abuse through his testimony and the skillful investigative work of Det. Stephen Stoyell of the Peachtree City Police Department resulted in the successful prosecution of the case.”
At sentencing, Judge Sams noted that the Defendant’s actions had damaged the victim to such an extent that it would likely take years of counseling to unravel the resulting internal conflict.
District Attorney Broder said of the conviction, “I’m proud of my team who fought so hard to ensure that this defendant will never harm another child. My office will never tolerate these crimes and will continue to fight hard to protect the children of this Circuit.”
On May 25, 2022, a Spalding County jury convicted Quincey Rashard Ellis, a 44-year old male from Lithonia, for Possession of Carfentinal with the Intent to Distribute and Trafficking Carfentinal (synthetic heroin). Chief Assistant District Attorney, David Studdard, along with Assistant District Attorney, Holly McDonald, tried the case. The Honorable Scott L. Ballard sentenced the defendant to 30 years in prison Without the Possibility of Parole.
Ellis had been under investigation as part of a larger investigation into a metro area drug trafficking ring. Ellis had been communicating with, and selling illegal narcotics to undercover state and federal agents for a period of 2 years prior to his arrest. On August 27, 2020, Ellis left his home in Lithonia and headed to Griffin with 80 grams of Carfentinal, which he believed he was selling to another drug dealer. The deal had been arranged by Ellis and undercover officers. Ellis’ vehicle was stopped on Highway 19/41 in Spalding County by the State Patrol working in concert with the undercover operation. Ellis had 80 grams of Carfentinal on his person and various other illegal substances in his vehicle.
Ellis has a Lengthy Criminal History including three prior convictions for Trafficking Cocaine, Heroin and Fentanyl. After the trial, Chief ADA Studdard said of the Jury’s verdict “this verdict and subsequent sentence illustrates the tireless work our Law enforcement
From Marie Broder, District Attorney
On Monday, May 24, 2022, a Spalding County jury convicted Donald Eugene Colquitt, a 57-year-old male from Griffin, Georgia Felony Murder, Armed Robbery, Aggravated Assault, Possession of a Firearm During the Commission of a Felony, and Theft by Taking. I along with my Assistant District Attorney Holly MacDonald tried the case. The Honorable Scott L. Ballard sentenced the defendant to Life in Prison Without the Possibility of Parole on the Murder charge, 20 years for the Armed Robbery, and 5 years for the gun charge.
Donald Colquitt shot Munteshia Brown in the chest in the parking lot of Macedonia Baptist Church on July 11, 2020. After shooting her, he stole her car, phone, purse, and identification and fled the scene. He was caught in Mississippi.
Colquitt and Brown had been in a domestic violence relationship for multiple years with many instances of domestic violence. In September of 2019, the defendant stabbed the victim in a hotel room in Henry County, left a mattress over her, and left her to die. In that case, he also stole her car, her purse, her phone, and her identification. She lived, only to be killed by him 7 months later. He was wanted for that case when he killed Munteshia.
The defendant testified and claimed that he shot the victim in self-defense. The jury rejected this argument with its verdict.
The jury heard testimony over the course of five days. My team brought in witnesses from five different departments coming to Griffin from three states to testify in this trial. My heartfelt thanks to all of the witnesses who testified, and my specific thanks to the lead agency in the case, the Spalding County Sheriff’s Office.
Over the course of my career, I have tried too many murders where victims were killed at hand of their abusers. For this reason, I personally tried this case to a jury. I am tired of these violent deaths, and so are the citizens of Spalding County. This case is one of tragedy. Munteshia was on a path to redemption, changing her life, and severing ties with the defendant. She was a bright life who was so loved. Because of her devotion to changing her life for the better, the defendant executed her in a church parking lot. Allow this verdict and sentence to be a message to those perpetrating domestic violence in my Circuit. I will use whatever resources necessary to ensure that you pay for your crimes.
If you or someone you know is suffering in a domestic violence relationship, please seek help. I could literally save a life.
On Thursday, April 28, 2022 a Spalding County jury convicted Lend Byrd Jefferson, a 28-year-old male from Florida of multiple charges after a week of trial.
The jury convicted Jefferson of 2 counts of Armed Robbery, 2 counts of Aggravated Assault, Possession of a Firearm During Commission of a Felony, and Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon. Jefferson had a prior conviction for Robbery with a Firearm out of Florida. The Honorable W. Fletcher Sams sentenced Jefferson to Life in prison without the possibility of parole.
Jefferson and a co-defendant who will be tried at a later date, entered Ringold’s Grocery on August 21, 2019, around 9 pm. Jefferson brandished a firearm at a store clerk while the co-defendant took money, the clerk’s purse and wallet. Jefferson and the co-defendant were arrested the next day, and the stolen property was recovered in their residence.
Assistant District Attorneys Adelle Petersen and Holly MacDonald tried the case for the State. “My Spalding County office has worked extremely hard these past two weeks to present these cases to a jury. This jury has spoken and let this verdict also send a message that law abiding citizens are completely fed up with violent crime in our community. To those that insist on committing violent crime, just stop. Enough is enough.”
On Friday, April 22, 2022 a Spalding County jury convicted Joshua Fuller, a 30-year-old male from Riverdale, Georgia and Sonya Fuller, a 45-year-old female from Riverdale, Georgia of multiple charges after a week of trial.
The jury convicted Joshua Fuller of Felony Murder, Aggravated Assault, Possession of a Firearm During the Commission of a Felony, and Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon. Joshua Fuller had a prior conviction for Aggravated Assault for shooting into a house. The Honorable W. Fletcher Sams sentenced Joshua Fuller to Life in prison without the possibility of parole.
The jury also convicted Sonya Fuller, Joshua Fuller’s mother, of Felony Murder, Aggravated Assault, and Hindering the Apprehension of a Criminal. Sonya Fuller had several prior felony convictions. The Honorable W. Fletcher Sams sentenced Sonya Fuller to Life in prison without the possibility of parole.
On August 31, 2020, Sonya Fuller called her son, Joshua Fuller, to her hotel room at the Quality Inn and Suites in Griffin. Anthony Red, a 52-year-old man from Griffin, GA, was inside Sonya Fuller’s hotel room. In the room, Joshua Fuller pointed a gun at Anthony, shooting and killing him. Sonya Fuller was charged and convicted as a party to Joshua Fuller’s crimes. After the murder, the two, along with others, hid evidence and lied to police.
Chief Assistant District Attorney David Studdard and Assistant District Attorney Adelle Petersen tried the case for the State. “this jury’s verdict sends a message to those that would commit these types of crimes in our community that this kind of lawlessness will not be tolerated”, said Studdard. District Attorney Broder echoed those statements and added “we will continue to work with our partners in law enforcement to aggressively pursue those that perpetrate such lawlessness here.”
LOCK YOUR MEDS AND DISPOSE THEM IN A SECURE AND SAFE WAY.
April 30th is DEA Take Back Day.
You can drop off your expired or unused medication between 10AM-2PM at one of the following locations:
* Peachtree City Police Department and Peachtree City Fire Rescue
* City of Fayetteville Police Department
* Fayette County Sheriff's Office - Georgia
A limited number of prescription drug lock boxes will be given away for those dropping off prescription drug medications.
Drug Free Fayette thanks these three law enforcement agencies - as well as Griffin Judicial Circuit, District Attorney's Office - for supporting the promotion of these lockboxes…
This afternoon, a Fayette County jury convicted Joseph Huggins, a 22 year old man from Charleston, GA of Armed Robbery and Possession of a Firearm During the Commission of a Crime. The Honorable Scott Ballard sentenced the defendant to 15 years on the Armed Robbery and 5 years on the Firearm charge for a total of 20 years to serve in prison. Assistant District Attorney Monique Harris tried the case for the State.
On May 28, 2021 officers with the Fayette County Sheriff’s Office responded to a residence in Tyrone, GA and made contact with the victim of the armed robbery. The victim is a truck driver and was driving a truck with furniture from Arizona to a family’s new residence in Tyrone. He needed additional help to unload the trailer, so the dispatch company sent two additional people, one of them being the defendant. The defendant and his co-defendant were hired from Craig’s List to help with the job. The defendants asked the victim to go with them to procure additional equipment for the job. While in the car, the defendants pointed 2 guns at the victim and took everything he had on him, including: money, identification, a phone, credit cards, and his Bluetooth earbuds. They then kicked the victim out of the car, leaving him on the side of the road. The victim walked two miles back to the original address in Tyrone, and the police were called.
The Sheriff’s Office’s investigation identified Defendant Huggins and his co-defendant as the perpetrators of the crime. They were arrested and brought to trial. Defendant Huggins was convicted after three days of trial. The co-defendant will be tried later.
“I am so proud of ADA Harris and the Sheriff’s Office detective for their hard work this week.” District Attorney Broder said of the trial. “In her closing, ADA Harris told the jury that ‘the United States of America is the land of opportunity, and the victim in the case today was taking advantage of the opportunities by working hard and providing for his family. On May 28th, the defendant took advantage of him.’ I echo her sentiments. Fayette County citizens sent the message today that they will not tolerate violent crime happening here. Thank you to the jurors for that message. We will continue to aggressively pursue those who seek to destroy our peace here.”