FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Last week, my Spalding County office tried the case of the State of Georgia vs. Markel Taiwon Amey. Amey was convicted of molesting an eight-year-old family member over a period of approximately a year and of securing her and her siblings’ silence through threats and physical abuse. The abuse became known to family members when the victim’s younger brother told his step-mother that Amey would take his sister in a bedroom and lock the door when their father would leave for work.
After deliberating for nearly five hours, a jury found Amey guilty of Aggravated Sodomy, Aggravated Child Molestation, Sexual Battery of a Child under 16, three counts of Child Molestation, and two counts of Cruelty to Children in the First Degree. Amey was subsequently sentenced to serve life in prison plus twenty years, followed by twenty years on probation.
During sentencing, the Honorable W. Fletcher Sams called the children heroes, and said that after the verdict of the jury, the victim would never have to worry about being abused by the defendant again.
District Attorney Broder said of the verdict, “this week, members of our Spalding County community stood in the gap between a predator and his victim and said ‘no more.’ I am very proud of the jurors in this case and of Senior Assistant District Attorney Kate Lenhard and Assistant District Attorney Adelle Petersen who presented the case. My office will continue to fight with all we have for the most vulnerable in our community.”
da donates back to school supplies
It's Back To School Time Already!
The employees of the Griffin Judicial D.A. Office provided the children who are residents of the Promise Place Domestic Violence Shelter school supplies and book bags to help them get a great start on their school year. Promise Place provides shelter and services to victims of domestic violence and their children who are residents of the Griffin Judicial Circuit. Contact them if you would like more information on their services:
da employees attend conference
The Griffin Judicial Circuit District Attorney and Assistant District Attorneys attended the 2022 Prosecuting Attorneys' Council of Georgia Summer Conference this week. It has been an amazing week of training and lectures from a great line up of speakers for the circuit's prosecuting attorneys.
fayette man sentenced to life without parole for murders of wife, mother, and unborn child
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.”