Rochell McCoy's girlfriend filed a temporary protective order against him, which allegedly provoked him into sending texts threatening her life, her daughter's life, the lives of the police officers' involved in the order, and the life of the judge presiding over his case.
His texts have been reported as follows: “I am sitting by your place and waiting to shoot you in the skull and face ... you gone die today and your daughter,” and “I will kill the (expletive) judge and every (expletive) body in that courtroom. I ain't scared of going to jail.”
His girlfriend allegedly endured several hours worth of text messages before calling 911. McCoy has since then been arrested and placed in custody in Gwinnett County. McCoy is facing charges of Aggravated Stalking and Terroristic Threats in Georgia. In today's post, I will highlight the law behind aggravated stalking.
Aggravated Stalking in Georgia
In order to better understand the criminal offense of aggravated stalking, let's first examine the law behind stalking in Georgia.
A person will be convicted when he or she follows, places under surveillance, or contacts another person at or about a place or places without the consent of the other person for the purpose of harassing and intimidating the other person. O.C.G.A. §16-5-90.
The offense is elevated to aggravated stalking in Georgia when a person violates "a bond to keep the peace." This is explained in O.C.G.A. §16-5-91:
A person will be convicted when, in violation of a bond to keep the peace posted pursuant to Code Section 17-6-10, temporary restraining order, temporary protective order, permanent restraining order, permanent protective order, preliminary injunction, good behavior bond, or permanent injunction or condition of pretrial release, condition of probation or condition of parole in effect prohibiting the behavior described in this subsection, follows, places under surveillance, or contacts another person at or about a place or places without the consent of the other person for the purpose of harassing and intimidating the other person.
In order to be convicted of aggravated stalking, the prosecution must demonstrate that the accused is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt just as with any other crime.
This must be done by showing that there is a pattern of harassing and intimidating the victim as well as a violation of an order granted by the Court. One single violation of a protective order or one single incident of harassing or intimidating behavior is not sufficient because it does not show a pattern.
If convicted of aggravated stalking, a person is guilty of a felony in Georgia. The penalties can include up to 10 years in prison and up to $10,000 in fines.
As Georgia Criminal Defense Lawyers, we know that just because someone has been accused of a crime does not mean they are guilty of committing that crime. There are many Georgia Criminal Defenses that can apply to a wrongful accusation of aggravated stalking. These defenses include but are not limited to: the mistaken identity of the accused person, a lack of contact with the victim, a one-time offense, the victim's consent, etc.
If you or a loved one has been accused of committing a crime in Georgia, contact us today.