Man who assaulted police could face 36 years in prison
6:06 pm, November 22nd, 2013
After a conviction Friday in Cobb County Superior Court for aggravated assault on a police officer, a 24-year old man faces sentencing that could put him behind bars for up to 36 years. Cobb County District Attorney Vic Reynolds announced the conviction before Judge LaTain Kell.
The drama began on a rainy afternoon in February at Jonquil Park when Kevin Gibbs was sitting in the driver’s seat of his Hyundai Sonata with three passengers, according to the DA’s announcement. A police cruiser approached. An officer got out. Assistant District Attorney Jaret Usher presented evidence to show that Gibbs ran his Sonata into the officer, then fled the park. Along the way, he put his passengers out and kept going, despite running to a Buick Enclave, shearing off a tire. The prosecutor said he was driving with a suspended liscense and already wanted for arrest on a DUI charge. The officer chased Gibbs down and stopped his car.
Defense attorney Sanford Rice of Marietta argued that his client was simply trying to escape from a cop who had shot at him for no reason, the DA’s announcement said. Rice couldn’t be reached immediately. Sentencing is set for Dec. 5. The maximum possible sentence is 36 years, Reynolds said.
Man pleads guilty to Cobb courthouse bomb threat
6:03 pm, November 22nd, 2013
The operator of a courthouse cafe in Marietta pleaded guilty to repeated bomb threats in an attempt to stop his home from being sold in foreclosure. Cobb County District Attorney Vic Reynolds announced the plea Friday by a man who has been held without bond since his arrest May 7, the last day of the bomb threats.
The negotiated sentence is 10 years, with one year to serve and the balance on probation. Police arrested Jody Wilson, 44, of Woodstockhim after tracking a bomb threat call to a pay phone at a gas station, then reviewing security camera videos. The DA’s statement said Wilson tearfully apologized when he entered his plea.
Defense attorney Roger Curry of Marietta told the court, “It is a desperate situation, and he made some desperate acts.” Curry couldn’t be reached immediately for comment.
The DA’s statement said Wilson made the bomb threat calls to Cobb and Cherokee counties on the days of foreclosure sales, leading to evacuation of the courthouses. He was trying to keep his wife and young children from finding out they were about to lose their home.
Douglas County Superior Court Judge William “Bo” McClain accepted Wilson’s plea and the negotiated sentence, but refused first-offender status, saying the deal was “merciful.” The judge also ordered to pay restitution of $7,500 to Cherokee County for expenses incurred there when additional officers were called .
Ex-boyfriend gets 25 years for “love triangle killing”
3:08 pm, November 7th, 2013
Cobb County Superior Court Judge Robert Leonard ordered a 25-year sentence—20 years to serve in prison—on Tuesday for Patrick Lamar Burr, 41, Cobb County District Attorney Vic Reynolds announced.
Reyonolds called the case a “love triangle killing.”
Burr admitted in his October trial that he shot Arthur “Dwayne” Moses Jr., 24, last Dec. 30. Burr testified that he had just delivered money to his girlfriend of 11 years, who had moved back in with her mother. Afterward, she told him on a phone call that she was engaged to Moses. Burr went back to the house and found the two sitting in her car. Burr pulled into the driveway and stepped out with a loaded .45 caliber pistol. “I walked in front of my truck and started shooting,” Burr testified, according to the DA’s statement. Moses was hit five times in the back while trying to run away.
The jury convicted Burr of voluntary manslaughter rather than malice murder.
Burr’s attorney, David Simpson, said he does not comment on cases.
Anna Benson pleads guilty to assaulting husband, pitcher Kris Benson
3:17 pm, November 5th, 2013
Anna Benson, 37, model, reality TV star and wife of former major league baseball pitcher Kris Benson, walked out of the Cobb County jail this afternoon for the first time since her arrest four months ago on aggravated assault and weapons charges. She was charged with breaking into her estranged husband’s home in July demanding money with a gun, an ammo belt and a metal baton and wearing a bullet proof vest.
Benson entered a guilty plea Tuesday before Cobb County Superior Court Judge C. LaTain Kell, who sentenced her to 15 years’ probation and ordered her to complete inpatient psychiatric treatment and follow up care. The judge accepted the recommendations of the state, according to an announcement from Cobb County District Attorney Vic Reynolds. The statement said Chief Assistant District Attorney Don Geary told the court that Kris Benson had no “ill will toward the defendant and is only concerned for the family’s safety.”
Anna Benson’s attorney, Ashleigh Merchant, said she had several meetings with prosecutors to negotiate the plea agreement. Merchant said she was surprised that her client was denied bond but was glad to have her released from jail. If she completes all of the court-ordered requirements for treatment and counseling afterward, she could be released from probation after five years, Merchant said.
“I couldn’t leave her in jail any longer,” said Merchant as she headed to the Cobb County jail to pick up Benson and deliver her to a team that would take her to an undisclosed private residential treatment center. She said her client had mental health issues related to witnessing a murder as a teenager and being in abusive relationships.
Katheryn Hayes Tucker
Judge sentencing manslaughter defendants: I don’t know how to tell you not to kill others
2:45 pm, October 24th, 2013
In sentencing four men who plead guilty to killing an Iraq war veteran and former U.S. Marine, Cobb Superior Court Judge A. Gregory Poole confessed to being at a loss for words, according to a news release from Cobb County District Attorney Vic Reynolds.
The judge gave each defendant 30 years for voluntary manslaughter and aggravated battery in the death of Zachary Gamble, 34, of Acworth, who died after a predawn fight outside a party in 2012. Left for dead, he was found after a taxi driver ran over him, then called 911. Ten family members testified to their loss. Friends have written about him on a Facebook page titled Justice for Zachary.
“I’m not going to lecture you,” Reynolds’ release quoted the judge saying. “I don’t know how to tell somebody not to kill their friends, or beat them up and leave them for dead. You’ve received your sentence. You’ve got the next 30 years to think about it.”
Court order frees a dog named Luther from a life sentence
1:58 pm, October 18th, 2013
A severely neglected German shepherd named Luther was saved from a life sentence imprisoned in a kennel awaiting the conclusion of a criminal case against his owner—which could take years—by the new animal crimes unit of the Cobb County District Attorney’s office.
On Thursday, as a story went to press in the Daily Report about the unit, Cobb prosecutors Sherwin Figueroa and Theresa Schiefer used O.C.G.A. section 4-11-9.3(d) to deprive the defendant of his ownership of the dog, according to Kim Isaza, public information officer for District Attorney Vic Reynolds. The law allows that action for “an animal that was seized as an object or instrumentality of a crime.”
Luther’s former owner faces charges for child abuse and animal cruelty, said Isaza. The dog is on his way to a new home with a rescue group in the Midwest.
Isaza said medical care and shelter for the dog has already cost taxpayers nearly $3,000. Magistrate Philip Taylor granted the action.
The prosecutors say they plan to use the statute to save other animals either from life in a kennel or return to an abusive owner. It’s an action much like the forfeitures of cash and property seized in drug raids. For the animals, it’s like child protective services. Or witness relocation.
Man who claimed consensual sex with 13-year-old gets 20 years
1:22 pm, October 14th, 2013
A Cobb County Superior Court judge sentenced a man convicted of statutory rape of a 13-year-old to 20 years in prison.
A statement from the Cobb district attorney’s office said that Cesar Solis was living with the victim’s family in Austell in 2012. The victim told police that Solis, then 43, forced her to have sex one morning while she was preparing for school and that he threatened her if she told anyone. When she discovered she was pregnant, she told her mother. After a police investigation, Solis was charged with rape. The victim gave birth in June 2013, and tests showed Solis fathered the child.
Solis argued at his three day rape trial last week that the relationship was consensual. On Thursday, a Cobb County Superior Court jury convicted him of the lesser charge, statutory rape, according to the DA’s statement.
Cobb Superior Court Chief Judge Adele Grubbs gave Solis the maximum sentence of 20 years in prison.
Senior Assistant District Attorney Eleanor Odom prosecuted the case.
Solis has been held without bond since his arrest on Dec. 25, 2012. He also had an immigration hold on his release, according to Reynolds.
His attorney, Matthew Hines, said the state failed to prove its case for rape, which would have carried a maximum sentence of life in prison. He said he was able to show a relationship between his client and the 13-year-old with phone records showing calls he made to her from jail. “She was consistently talking with him,” Hines said.
He said the client’s family was grateful that he avoided the life sentence and will be eligible for parole in 12 years.
“Developer” ordered to repay $725K to “investors”
3:16 pm, August 28th, 2013
After a day-long restitution hearing, Cobb Superior Court Judge A. Greg Poole ordered Leonard Bryan Nelson, 42, to repay $725,000 at 12 percent interest dating to Jan. 1, 2009, to 22 investors, Cobb County District Attorney Vic Reynolds announced.
At the request of Deputy Chief Assistant District Attorney John Melvin, the court also issued a writ of fi fa, which is a civil judgment, as an extra measure to ensure the victims are paid back. “That judgment lasts forever, and will not expire until [the money] is repaid,” Melvin said in the announcement. Nelson’s first payment, of just over $6,000, is due Sept. 1. If he misses any payments, he will go to jail.
Nelson pleaded guilty last month to racketeering charges and was sentenced to 10 years probation and ordered to pay restitution to the 22 victims who had invested through an informal club in deals that never happened. The DA said Nelson diverted investment funds to his personal use. The announcement called him a “would be real estate developer” in a Mississippi Gulf Opportunity Zone Project.
Nelson’s attorney, Brian Douglas, couldn’t be reached.
Brunswick baby murder trial starts in Cobb County
3:49 pm, August 19th, 2013
The murder trial of a teenager accused of shooting a baby in the face during an attempted robbery of the mother in Brunswick opened in Cobb County Superior Court today.
Glynn County Superior Court Judge Stephen Kelley is hearing the case in the usually unassigned “ceremonial courtroom” on the second floor of the courthouse in Marietta. The judge and the lawyers traveled 325 miles from Brunswick to hear in the case in an effort to select a jury that wouldn’t be prejudiced by the pre-trial publicity.
News of the crime traveled on the web, sparking global outrage. The baby, 13-month-old Antonio Santiago, was shot in the face while sitting in his stroller on March 21, 2012.
Glynn County District Attorney Jackie Johnson and her staff traveled to Marietta to prosecute the case. Glynn County public defender Kevin Gough made the trip to represent now 18-year-old DeMarquis Elkins. Elkins is not eligible for the death penalty because he was only 17 at the time. He is also accused of shooting the baby’s mother in the leg.
Also on trial is the defendant’s mother, Karimah Elkins, accused of tampering with evidence and possession of a weapon by a felon.
The office of Cobb County District Attorney Vic Reynolds is providing office space and logistical help to the out-of-town prosecutors, according to Reynolds’ communications director Kim Isaza. She said the Brunswick team expects the trial to last up to two weeks.
The case is No. CR-1300180-063.
Cobb man gets 10 years in prison for 10th felony
4:23 pm, August 13th, 2013
A man who was arrested for driving a stolen truck and possessing less than one ounce of marijuana will serve 10 years in prison and five additional years on probation, Cobb County District Attorney Vic Reynolds announced today.
Gary “Boots” Pearson, 48, started a jury trial Monday on charges of theft by receiving, attempting to elude and officer and violating Georgia’s controlled Substances Act. But when Assistant District Attorney Marty First rested the state’s case on Tuesday, the defendant decided to plead guilty. Chief Magistrate Frank Cox, sitting in on the Cobb County Superior Court bench, sentenced Pearson after First presented evidence of nine prior felony convictions, according to Reynolds’ announcement.
Pearson’s defense attorney, Marietta solo Sandford Rice, couldn’t be reached for comment.