Assistant District Attorney Kathryn Lenhard and Chief Assistant District Attorney Marie Broder with the Spalding County District Attorney’s Office tried the case of the State of Georgia vs. Harry Hasty and Patricia Schafer last week. The jury returned a verdict on Friday, April 27th. The jury convicted Patricia Schafer of four counts of Aggravated Battery, eight counts of Cruelty to Children in the First Degree, and one count of Cruelty to Children in the Second Degree. The Honorable Scott Ballard sentenced the defendant to 95 years with the first 60 years to be served in prison. The jury acquitted Harry Hasty.
Schafer was convicted of inflicting multiple injuries to her six week old son, Harry Schafer, including: fractures to his right leg, fracture to the left leg, multiple rib fractures, an injury to his brain, puncture injuries to his mouth, and bruising to his body.
District Attorney Ben Coker said of the verdict, “this was a difficult case for all involved parties. I’m proud of Marie and Kate and my entire office for the hard work that they put into this trial. Our office could not have reached this result without the help of law enforcement and the medical personnel that worked with us. Those who pray on the most innocent of our society deserve sentences like this. We will continue our efforts to protect children in our community from those who seek to harm them.”
On Tuesday, April 24, 2018, an Upson County jury convicted 37 year old, Quincy Lamont Johnson, of Possession of Cocaine with Intent to Distribute, Possession of a Firearm during the Commission of a Crime and Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon. Chief Judge Christopher C. Edwards sentenced Johnson to 40 years with the first 20 years to be served in prison.
Assistant District Attorney, Michael Rogers tried the case for the State. The Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon charge was tried after the Possession of Cocaine with Intent to Distribute. Both trials occurred over the course of two days. The jury deliberated for approximately twenty minutes on each case before returning the guilty verdicts.
District Attorney Ben Coker said of the guilty verdict, “I am extremely proud of ADA Michael Rogers, my Upson County Staff, the Upson County Sheriff’s Office, Thomaston Police Department, and citizens of the jury for their time and effort involved in this prosecution. This verdict and sentence sends a message to drug dealers who arm themselves with weapons, poison our community with drugs, and place our citizens and law enforcement at risk. The consequences of this conduct will be severe. Our office will continue to partner with law enforcement and fight this evil that invades our communities and destroys families.
Karen Price entered a non-negotiated guilty plea last Thursday, April 12th in front of the Honorable Christopher Edwards. She pled guilty to one count of Racketeering and was sentenced to 20 years with the first 5 years to serve in prison. She is also required to pay restitution in an amount of $133,000. As a special condition of her probation, she is required to disclose any federal and state convictions to any potential employer.
Price was an employee of what was then called Cooper Lighting. During a company transition to Eaton Corporation in November of 2013, an internal audit flagged some irregularities. Price was confronted with these irregularities and admitted stealing approximately $7,000.00 from the company. She was terminated. The Georgia Bureau of Investigation conducted an extensive audit and discovered that between March 3, 2010 and October 22, 2013, on 47 occasions, Price made unauthorized cash advances on a corporate credit card. She also filed for fraudulent undeserved expense reimbursements on 68 occasions. In all, Price stole $133,683.05 from the company. The case was investigated by Sgt. Gary Meier with the Peachtree City Police Department and the financial investigation department with the Georgia Bureau of Investigation.
Price did have a prior federal conviction, from 1994, out of the Middle District of Georgia for Embezzlement of funds from Robins Federal Credit Union.
“Employee theft such as this one cripples businesses throughout our community. This sentence should serve as a warning to the thieves hiding in Fayette County. We will work hard with law enforcement to ensure that you are prosecuted.” District Attorney Ben Coker said of the plea. “I am proud of my office and law enforcement for the hard work that they put into this case.”
The Spalding County District Attorney’s Office had a trial calendar in front of the Honorable John C. Carbo, a Senior Judge. The State presented the case of the State of Georgia vs. Aaron Szalanski to a Spalding County jury. Szalanski was charged with two counts of Aggravated Assault, Criminal Attempt to Commit Rape, and Battery. The jury convicted Szalanski of Aggravated Assault and Battery. He was sentenced to 15 years in a State penitentiary. Assistant District Attorneys Ashton Fallin and Kate Lenhard tried the case for the State.
Szalanski was convicted of beating the victim about her head, neck, and body with his fists causing lacerations and extensive bruising on August 18, 2018. Szalanski was previously convicted of Aggravated Assault against his mother in Gwinnett County.
Earl Cherry entered a guilty plea to Malice Murder and was sentenced to Life in Prison. Cherry, a 51-year-old man, pled guilty to brutally beating his wife, Sandra Cherry, with his fists and a frying pan, causing 58 injuries to her body and breaking her neck on February 22, 2018.
Beatrice Lyons entered a guilty plea to Voluntary Manslaughter for the death of Mechele Underwood on December 10, 2016. She was sentenced to 20 years with the first 15 years to be spent in prison. She pled guilty to stabbing the victim one time in the neck, killing her.
Ben Coker, District Attorney said of the week, “I am proud of the Spalding County office and how hard they worked on this trial calendar. These convictions stand as proof of their dedication to keeping Spalding County safe. Thanks to those law enforcement officers who worked with us to bring about these results.”