Georgia Criminal Defense Blog

Man Kills Wife in Rockdale County

Posted by Richard Lawson | Jan 22, 2018 | 0 Comments

Deputies of the Rockdale County Sheriff's Office responded to a domestic disturbance call made by neighbors at the home of Lisa LaShawn Samuel Bell and Letron Jemone Bell last Sunday afternoon. According to authorities, when they arrived at the house, Letron opened fire on them. Allegedly, there were three children in the home during the incident. The children are ages 7, 10, and 17. Shortly after the deputies arrived, Lisa reportedly ran out of the residence into a nearby wooded area, while Letron followed closely behind. The deputies found Lisa in the woods with a gunshot wound and took Letron into custody. She was transported to Piedmont Hospital-Rockdale and was later pronounced dead.

Letron is being held in the Rockdale County Jail on multiple charges. The charges include one count of malice murder, one count of possession of a firearm during the commission of a crime, two counts of aggravated assault against law enforcement, and three counts of cruelty to children.

Let's examine what the charges mean and the penalties that come along with conviction.

Malice Murder 

The Georgia Code, O.C.G.A. §16-5-1 defines malice murder or as some states refer to it: first-degree murder as: “(a) A person commits the offense of murder when he unlawfully and with malice aforethought, either express or implied, causes the death of another human being. (b) Express malice is that deliberate intention unlawfully to take the life of another human being which is manifested by external circumstances capable of proof. Malice shall be implied where no considerable provocation appears and where all the circumstances of the killing show an abandoned and malignant heart.” A requirement for malice murder is malice aforethought or in other words - intentional killing. Malice murder is considered one of the most monstrous crimes someone can commit. Letron chased his wife from the house and shot her. This is not to be confused with felony murder. One can be charged with felony murder if he is already committing a felony, and it results in a death. For example, if Letron had been committing a felony such as robbing a bank, and a security guard shoots and kills an innocent bystander, Letron would be charged with felony murder. Malice murder offense is considered a felony, and the penalty in Georgia is imprisonment for life without parole, imprisonment for life, or the death sentence.

Possession of a Firearm During the Commission of a Crime

The Georgia Code, O.C.G.A. §16-11-106 defines possession of a firearm during the commission of a crime as: “Any person who shall have on or within arm's reach of his or her person a firearm or a knife having a blade of three or more inches in length during the commission of, or the attempt to commit any crime against or involving the person of another…” In Georgia, the punishment for felony gun possession is added on top of the original offense's punishment. This crime is a felony, and the penalty in Georgia is a sentence of five years in prison.

Aggravated Assault Against Law Enforcement

The Georgia Code, O.C.G.A. §16-5-21 defines aggravated assault against law enforcement as: “A person who knowingly commits the offense of aggravated assault upon a peace officer while the peace officer is engaged in, or on account of the performance of, his or her official duties shall, upon conviction thereof, be punished by imprisonment for not less than five nor more than 20 years.” This crime is a felony, and the penalty in Georgia is a sentence of five to twenty years in prison.

Cruelty to Children

The Georgia Code, O.C.G.A. §16-5-70 defines cruelty to children as: “A parent, guardian, or other person supervising the welfare of or having immediate charge or custody of a child under the age of 18 commits the offense of cruelty to children in the first degree when such person willfully deprives the child of necessary sustenance to the extent that the child's health or well-being is jeopardized.” This crime is a felony, and the penalty in Georgia is a sentence of five to twenty years in prison.

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About the Author

Richard Lawson

Managing Partner at Lawson & Berry:


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