Assistant District Attorneys David Studdard and Christy Jindra, with the Fayette County District Attorney’s Office, tried the State of Georgia vs. Alvin Treon Crouch in front of a jury in the month of October. Crouch was originally charged with Aggravated Battery, Aggravated Assault, Possession of a Firearm During the Commission of a Felony, and Reckless Conduct. The jury convicted Crouch of Aggravated Assault and acquitted on the other charges. The Honorable Scott Ballard sentenced Crouch to 20 years with the first 15 years to be served in prison.
Crouch, a 28 year old Fayetteville man, was convicted of shooting into a car occupied by the 60 year old victim, hitting her in the leg. Investigator Karl Duggan, with the Fayette County Sheriff’s Office, was the lead investigator on the case. The victim testified, along with members of both law enforcement and the Georgia Bureau of Investigation. The trial lasted eight days.
Assistant District Attorney Studdard said of the verdict, “the jury’s verdict reaffirms our commitment to the safety and security of the citizens of Fayette County. It sends a message that this type of lawlessness will not be tolerated.” District Attorney Benjamin Coker added, “this case was hard fought on both sides. I am proud of my office and law enforcement for the hard work that they put into this case. I would also like to thank the jury for their verdict.”
District Attorney Coker enjoyed cooking for the Thomaston Upson Chamber of Commerce Dine and Dash. Thanks to Sheriff Kilgore for allowing him to help. It was a great turnout.
Thank you to the Spalding County Board of Commissioners for declaring October "Domestic Violence Awareness Month." Chief Assistant District Attorney Marie Broder and Assistant District Attorney Ashton Fallin were on hand at the Commissioners' meeting with Promise Place to accept the Proclamation.
Promise Place is an exceptional organization that works diligently to reduce domestic violence crimes across this Circuit. Thank you to Vanessa Wilkins, and the entire organization, for raising awareness about domestic violence. Domestic Violence is a serious problem in this Circuit. If you or someone you love is the victim of domestic violence, contact Promise Place or law enforcement. You are not alone.
Thank you to the Spalding County Sheriff’s Office for inviting us to participate in this year’s Day of Remembrance for Murder Victims. It was a beautiful ceremony. To those loved ones who live with the devastating loss of the victims every day, please know that you and these victims have a forever place in our hearts. May they never be forgotten.
Thank you to Upson-Lee North Elementary for having me today. It was a pleasure to speak to the 3rd graders about the separation of powers along with Councilman Ryan Tucker, and City Manager Russell Thompson.
The Fayette County District Attorney’s Office has been busy with trials over the last few weeks. Last week, Ciro Martines-Montes, a 30 year old man from Fayetteville, Georgia, was convicted of 3 counts of Child Molestation by a Fayette County jury. He was sentenced by the Honorable Christopher Edwards to 10 years in prison followed by 50 years on probation. The defendant is required to register as a sex offender.
Assistant District Attorney Dan Hiatt, with the Fayette County District Attorney’s Office, was the lead attorney on the case. Sergeant Shawn Albea with the Fayetteville Police Department was the lead investigator on the case. The victim, a 12 year old girl, testified at trial.
This week, a Fayette County jury convicted Avery Johnson, a 25 year old man from Fayetteville, of Enticing a Child for Indecent Purposes. The Honorable W. Fletcher Sams sentenced Johnson to 20 years to serve in prison followed by 10 years on probation. He is also required to register as a sex offender. Deputy Chief Assistant District Attorney Warren Sellers was the lead prosecutor on the case. Detective Clint Patton, with the Fayette County Sheriff’s Office, investigated the case. The victim testified at trial.
Trials will continue next week.
Yesterday, in front of the Honorable W. Fletcher Sams, defendant William “Bill” Moore entered a guilty plea for the murder of Timothy Coggins on October 7, 1983. He entered a plea to Voluntary Manslaughter and Concealing the Death of Another. He was sentenced to 20 years to serve, followed by 10 years on probation. He is banished from the Griffin Judicial Circuit. The family of Timothy Coggins and law enforcement were all in agreement with this guilty plea.
Timothy Coggins was killed over 34 years ago in a field off Minter Road. Law Enforcement closed the original investigation after two months. Special Agent Jared Coleman with the Georgia Bureau of Investigation and Captain Mike Morris with the Spalding County Sheriff’s Office opened the case in December of 2016 and conducted hundreds of interviews. These two agencies, along with the Spalding County District Attorney’s Office, and the Fire Department used a Hydrovac system to excavate a well on the defendant’s property. It was the first time in the State of Georgia that such a system was used for well excavation. In the well, a white tank top, shoes, a chain, and a knife were some of the items recovered. Moore’s co-defendant, Franklin Gebhardt, was convicted by a Spalding County jury in June of this year and sentenced to life in prison.
District Attorney Coker said of the result, “[y]esterday marks the end of a long and arduous journey for the family of Timothy Coggins. My heartfelt thanks goes out to law enforcement for their work on the case. May Timothy rest in peace, and may his family begin to heal.”
Last week, a Fayette County jury convicted Mustafa Mahdi, a 21 year old Fayetteville man, of Malice Murder, Felony Murder, Aggravated Assault, and Possession of a Knife During the Commission of a Felony. The jury found that the defendant was guilty but mentally ill. The Honorable W. Fletcher Sams sentenced the defendant to life in prison. Assistant District Attorney Dan Hiatt and Chief Assistant District Attorney Marie Broder prosecuted the case. Fayetteville Police Investigator Shawn Albea was the lead investigator.
The defendant was convicted of stabbing his uncle, David John Quincy, over 75 times on March 24, 2014. The jury did find that the defendant had a mental illness at the time of the crime, but that he was responsible for his actions.
District Attorney Coker said, “this was a challenging case, and I am proud of Dan, Marie, and our Fayette County team for their hard work. This is a good result for the victims and for the community as a whole. We hope now that the victims can find some peace and begin the healing process.”
This morning, I had the pleasure of hosting a group of youth under the supervision of the Department of Juvenile Justice for a visit to the Fayette County Justice Center. During this visit, I, along with Superior Court Judge Ballard, spoke with the kids about the court process. I explained my role in court proceedings and discussed particular cases that have been prosecuted by my office. I encouraged these youth to overcome challenges that they have faced, to work hard in their classes, and to strive to become productive and successful citizens. The youth also witnessed criminal proceedings in Judge Ballard’s courtroom, and the Fayette County Clerk of Court, Sheila Studdard, took them on a tour of the courthouse.
With so much negativity in the media recently, my sense of hope in the future is bright today. These kids were insightful, smart, and eager to learn more about our system. Despite facing unspeakable things in their past, they have the drive to succeed. I’m thankful to have met them today.
Last week, the Spalding County District Attorney’s Office completed the trial of the State of Georgia vs. Sean Evans. Assistant District Attorneys Kathryn Lenhard and Donna Gopaul tried the case for the State. The case was tried in front of the Honorable John C. Carbo, a visiting Senior Judge. A Spalding County jury convicted Evans of multiple counts including: Voluntary Manslaughter, Felony Murder, Aggravated Assault, and multiple counts of Violation of Criminal Street Gang Act. He was sentenced to a total of 50 years in prison.
The defendant was convicted of shooting and killing Ares Mayes on May 30, 2016. Mayes, and two other men, were driving from a club in the city of Griffin. The defendant was traveling in a different vehicle when he shot multiple rounds in the victim’s car, striking the victim. The motive for the shooting was an altercation at the club with a friend of the victim. The defendant was also convicted of being a member of the “Crips,” a criminal street gang in Spalding County.
ADA Lenhard said of the case, “I would like to thank my office, especially my trial partner Donna, the witnesses in the case and law enforcement for their tireless work in bringing this defendant to justice for the senseless shooting of the victim in this case. It took many hours, over 20 witnesses, and 9 days for the jury to deliver a verdict, but the verdict was a clear message to those that engage in gang violence. This community will no longer tolerate it.”
District Attorney Coker added, “Gangs have become a big problem in our community and are responsible for the majority of violent crime and drug crime. Gang cases always pose challenges for law enforcement and prosecutors, but my team faced challenge after challenge with courage, and I could not be prouder of them. My office will not relent in our pursuit to end gang violence in this community. Along with law enforcement, we will continue the fight to keep Spalding County safe.”