The Fayette County District Attorney’s Office completed a trial calendar in front of The Honorable W. Fletcher Sams. Assistant District Attorney Michele McCutcheon represented the State during a trial against Quasha Nicole Harris. Harris was convicted by a Fayette County jury of seven counts. Felony Obstruction of a Police Officer, Felony Theft by Shoplifting, Identity Fraud, Forgery in the 2nd Degree, Possession of a Controlled Substance, Fleeing and Attempting to Elude, and Driving while License Suspended. Judge Sams sentenced Harris to 30 years with the first 15 years to be served in prison with the remainder of her time to be served on probation.
Harris was convicted of an incident occurring on June 20, 2016. Harris took multiple clothing items from Justice Retailers in Fayette County. Harris had three prior convictions for shoplifting. When officers from the Peachtree City Police Department attempted to detain her for the shoplifting, she failed to comply with the officer’s demands and drover her vehicle towards the direction of the officers and a chase ensued. Upon her arrest, officers discovered that she had another individual’s driver’s license, social security card, and a Green Dot MasterCard and intended to use those items without permission. She also had a suspended license and possessed Phentermine, a Schedule IV controlled substance. Harris is 32 years old and is from East Point, Georgia.
District Attorney Benjamin D. Coker said of the trial, “I am extremely proud of ADA McCutcheon and my entire team in Fayette County for these results. This should be a message for those who enter our county from out of town to commit crimes. We will not tolerate it. Thank you to the Peachtree City Police Department for their hard work. We will continue to work together to vigorously prosecute criminals like Ms. Harris and continue in our quest to keep Fayette County safe.”
Timothy Allen, the man convicted on November 1, 2017 of Kidnapping, two counts of Aggravated Assault, False Imprisonment, Possession of a Firearm During the Commission of a Felony, and three counts Battery, Family Violence, was sentenced to 45 years in prison this morning. The Honorable Christopher Edwards sentenced Allen. Assistant District Attorney Donna Gopaul argued sentencing.
This week, the Upson County District Attorney’s Office completed a trial week with the Honorable W. Fletcher Sams. Some of the notable pleas were:
Jody Ray Mayo pled guilty to Trafficking Methamphetamine and was sentenced to 30 years with the first 15 years to be served in prison.
Billy Antonio Lamar pled guilty to Possession of Cocaine with Intent to Distribute. He was sentenced to 20 years with the first 10 years to be served in prison. Lamar was banished from the Griffin Judicial Circuit.
Marion Raines pled guilty to Theft by Shoplifting and was sentenced to 10 years with the first 3 to be prison. Raines was banished from the Griffin Judicial Circuit.
Larry James Johnson pled guilty to Burglary in the 2nd Degree and was sentenced to 8 years with the first 3 years to be served in prison.
Darnell Caslin pled guilty to Possession of Cocaine with Intent to Distribute and Possession of Marijuana with Intent to Distribute 10 years with the first 5 years to be served in prison. Caslin was banished from the Griffin Judicial Circuit.
Dustin Jameison Hammock pled guilty to Child Molestation. He was sentenced to 15 years with the first 4 to be served in prison.
Keith Underwood pled guilty to Possession of Methamphetamine with Intent to Distribute and was sentenced to 16 years with the first 7 years to be served in prison.
Rhonda Lynn Jackson pled guilty to Homicide by Vehicle in the First Degree and was sentenced to 15 years with the first 4 years to be served in prison. Jackson pled guilty to being under the influence of multiple drugs while driving and wrecking her vehicle on December 28, 2015. The victim, Deborah Jean Lunblad, was a passenger in the vehicle.
“My Upson County office was faced with a daunting trial calendar this trial term. They worked to move the cases expeditiously, and because of their efforts, we cleared dozens of cases and worked towards my goal of eliminating a backlog of cases in our county. Thank you to my office for their hard work and continued diligence in making Upson County a safer place.”
Terry Anthony Sampson pled guilty to two counts of Child Molestation related to incidents involving two victims. Sampson received 20 years to serve on one count and 10 years to serve on the second count, for a total of 30 years to serve in prison. Sampson is 59 years old. Sgt. Kelly McKinney with the Griffin Police Department was the lead investigator on the case.
Blake Wayne Wilson pled guilty to Aggravated Assault and Terroristic Threats for two separate domestic violence incidents occurring on January 7, 2017 and May 7, 2017. Wilson received 20 years with the first 10 years to be served in prison, followed by 10 years on probation. Wilson pled guilty to threatening to kill the victims, a then girlfriend and her daughter, with a butcher knife, placing a pillow over the victim’s face in an attempt to smother her, and by striking her multiple times causing bruising. Multiple officers with the Spalding County Sheriff’s Office worked the cases.
Brian Ferrall pled guilty to one count of Criminal Damage to Property in the Second Degree and was sentenced to 10 years with the first 3 years to be served in prison. Ferrall pled guilty to shattering the windows and a glass table in the home of the victim, a then girlfriend, on May 31, 2017. Deputy Sara Wilson with the Spalding County Sheriff’s Office was the lead investigator on the case.
Curtis Johnson pled guilty to Possession of Marijuana with Intent to Distribute and Violation of the Street Gang Terrorism and Prevention Act. He received to 20 years with the first 5 years to be served in prison. Johnson pled guilty to being a member of the Belle Street Gang, a subset of the Bloods criminal street gang.
The Spalding County District Attorney’s Office completed a trial week with the Honorable Christopher Edwards on November 1, 2017. This is the first of three trial weeks in front of Judge Edwards in the months of October and November.
Assistant District Attorneys Donna Gopaul and Kathryn Lenhard represented the State of Georgia in the case against Timothy Aaron Allen. The State tried defendant Allen in front of a jury Spalding County residents over the course of three days. The jury deliberated for a little over an hour before returning a verdict of guilty on all counts. Allen was convicted of Kidnapping, two counts of Aggravated Assault, False Imprisonment, Possession of a Firearm during the Commission of a Felony, and three counts of Battery, Family Violence. The Spalding County jury convicted Allen of a domestic violence incident that occurred on March 7, 2017. The defendant struck his then girlfriend multiple times with his fists, strangled her, pointed a gun in her face, chased her as she ran from the house, and pulled her back into the house by her hair. The victim had multiple injuries. The victim bravely took the stand and testified about the incident over the course of several hours. Investigator Dexter McCune with the Griffin Police Department was the lead investigator.
District Attorney Coker said of the trial, “this victim’s brave testimony, along with the work of the Griffin Police Department, and the excellent job of ADA Gopaul and ADA Lenhard, brought about a great verdict in this case. Thank you to the Spalding County citizens who served on this jury. This victim survived a brutal domestic violence incident, and now the defendant will face the consequences of his actions. Spalding County is safer due to the hard work and bravery of these parties. My offices will continue to work with law enforcement to fight fervently for these victims of domestic violence in our communities.”
Sentencing for Mr. Allen will be on a later date in front of Judge Edwards.
Chief Assistant District Attorney Marie Broder presented to the attendees of the Champions for Children Symposium hosted by the Southern Crescent Sexual Assault and Child Advocacy Center. Broder presented on the "Successful Prosecution of Sexual Assault Cases, From Arrest to the Courtroom." Broder said of the presentation, "[t]hese cases are so important. It was my pleasure to share some of my experiences with the challenges associated with prosecuting sexual assault cases. I appreciate the discussion among myself and the participants, and a big thank you to my friends at Southern Crescent for the invitation. Your work is so important! I hope there comes a day when we no longer have so many of these cases, but until that day arrives, let's continue to work hard to support the victims of these heinous crimes."
On November 1, 2017, Franklin Gebhardt and William Moore Sr. were denied bond by Superior Court Judge W. Fletcher Sams. District Attorney argued that the defendants were a risk to commit new felony offenses and a risk to intimidate witnesses. The case will be presented to a Spalding County Grand Jury on December 5th.