As Georgia Criminal Attorneys it is important for us to keep up with the news. We always like to be up to date on new developments and case law. We also like for you, as the public, to be informed. Here are some of the criminal incidents that have occurred this month. We urge you to remember that being charged is not the same as being convicted. If you or a loved one has been charged with a crime, contact one of our Georgia Criminal Defense Attorneys.
Curtis Patrick Bell, age 17, was arrested for allegedly molesting a 14-year-old girl at South Cobb High School. The officers stated that Bell grabbed the girl's arm in a hallway and pulled her into the copier room. She was then allegedly molested against her will. Bell has been charged with aggravated sexual battery, child molestation, and enticing a child for indecent purposes. Keep in mind that Mr. Bell is presumed innocent until proven bound a reasonable doubt.
Three people have been arrested in connection with a body being found in Walton County. A man's body was found wrapped in plastic and buried in a grave. Koblie Hadden Watters and Jonathan Britt Lester have been arrested and charged with felony murder and aggravated assault. The third suspect, Roger Gene Watters, was charged with tampering with evidence. The man was reported missing on March 30th. The Sheriff's office will not release the name of the decedent until they can get DNA identification.
A Newton County teenager was injured in a drive-by shooting on April 9th. Police have not been able to locate the shooter. According to the Sheriff's office, a red or burnt orange Dodge Charger opened fire on four people. The four people were standing outside of a home on Crestfield Circle. Investigators are unaware as to the whether the gunman was aiming for one of the people, the house, or if the shooting was random.
On Thursday, April 10th, there was a six-hour standoff between a single gunman and law enforcement officials. The gunman barricaded himself in a Northwest Atlanta home off Kennesaw Drive. The incident began with the suspect, Dashaun Shepard, informing dispatchers that he heard gunshots coming from the home. When the officers arrived at the location, they were subsequently shot at. Shepard began to stream the standoff on Facebook live and claimed he was “going to war.” He also stated that he was “about to shoot it out with these cops.” Atlanta police officers tried to talk to the family but were unable to bring about a peaceful resolution. Even Shepard's sister tried to talk him down via Facebook live but was unable to do so. Eventually, Shepard exited the home but refused commands to surrender. The SWAT officers fired, and Shepard was hit and killed. After Shepard's death, authorities learned that he had just been through a breakup. He had also served in the military.
On Friday, April 11th, authorities were called to the Chick-Fil-A on Bill Kennedy Way in Atlanta because of a fight. The incident was between two women, and one suspect has been identified as Vonshay Redding. The video footage shows two cars in the drive-thru lane at Chick-Fil-A. The women began yelling at each other and got out of their vehicles. Redding got out with a gun and was pointing it at two of the women. They continued arguing and then it broke out into a fight. No shots were fired. Redding was arrested and charged with aggravated assault.
On Wednesday, April 18th, Kenneth Shane Hazelrig called 911 falsely reporting that a home invasion was in progress. When the first officer arrived at the home, Hazelrig began to walk towards him carrying what looked like a gun. The officer yelled at him to drop the gun, but he refused. At least seven shots were fired at Hazelrig, but he did not go down. The officer ran to the arriving backup police car, but Hazelrig jumped into the police car and drove off. He turned around in the cul-de-sac and drove towards the officers. They were forced to run into a car before Hazelrig collided with the second police car. The second vehicle was pushed 65 feet into a treeline. Hazelrig was then arrested for two counts of assault, two counts of interference with government property, theft by taking and hijacking a motor vehicle. However, it was discovered that Hazelrig was only holding a BB gun. The first officer has been put on administrative leave.
Jackson County Sheriff's Office arrested Tonya Lucille Harris on April 20 while serving an outstanding warrant. Officers located her in a shed behind a mobile home park. Deputies saw meth in the shed and contacted the Sheriff's office. They seized 25 grams of meth including more than 150 baggies and digital scales. Harris was charged with possession of meth with intent to distribute, simple possession of marijuana and possession of drug-related objects.
A former Alpharetta police officer was arrested on April 23 on child pornography charges. Forsyth County deputies searched Arthur Handley Jr.'s home and computers before they arrested him. He had resigned from the police department in 2016. Several days after bonding out he was found dead.
On April 26, a man was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole for an incident occurring in June 2017. The first incident occurred when Jeffery Merritt hit a woman with a chair and then robbed her at gunpoint. He also stole her 2011 Monte Carlo. One month later, Merritt was arrested by a Doraville police officer for theft of gasoline. The Monte Carlo was impounded. On July 12, Merritt went to the impound with his license and registration and was able to get the car released to him. Police arrested him a couple of days later for aggravated assault, armed robbery, hijacking, and theft of gasoline. The jury found him guilty on all four counts in 75 minutes.
A man was shot in his driveway during an attempted robbery on April 28th. Democo Miller works for DeKalb County Department of Watershed Management. He was fixing a tire on his sister's car when someone walked up to him and attempted to rob him. Miller's sister watched the two men struggle over his watch and jewelry. Then Miller was shot, and the shooter took off. Miller is recovering, but the police are still looking for the gunman.
We pride ourselves on always being able to help people charged with a crime in Georgia. You are not alone; Lawson and Berry can help. We will make sure you understand your options and present the best Georgia Criminal Defenses for your case. Remember, a charge is not the same as a conviction. Contact us today for a free case evaluation.