Leon Tripp is facing charges of kidnapping in Georgia and murder in Georgia. His stepdaughter, Latania Carwell, went missing in April of 2017 the night before her 16th birthday in Richmond County. She was last seen with Leon Tripp according to reports. Both Leon and Latania's mother, Tanya Tripp, were arrested in Atlanta last summer in connection with her disappearance and suspected death.
Last week, the Richmond County's sheriff's office received a phone call from an anonymous caller who had discovered remains behind a vacant house in Augusta. The remains have been confirmed as the remains of Latania Carwell.
Leon served time in Johnson State Prison from June of 2009 until April of 2015 for aggravated assault charges. Tanya married Leon while he was in prison. Tanya reported her daughter missing last year and as a result of alleged holes in Tanya's statements to authorities, the case became a murder case. As a result of discoveries, Tanya has been charged with concealing her own daughter's death.
What is the crime of concealing the death of another person?
Concealing the death of another person in Georgia is a serious charge. It's also pretty misunderstood. Most people think that it means the physical act of hiding a dead body. That is in fact one way to commit the crime of concealing the death of another person, it also includes any “hindering of the discovery of whether or not a person was unlawfully killed” (O.C.G.A. §16-10-31).
This could be by failing to tell authorities information about where a body is located. This could also be by not telling anyone that a person is dead. Most people believe if they did not do anything proactively to conceal the body, then they aren't committing the crime of concealing the death of another person. However, the act of omission or not communicating/informing the authorities is still enough to be convicted.
What is the penalty for conviction?
For someone to be convicted of concealing the death of another person in the state of Georgia, the prosecution will have to show that the accused person is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. In order to do that, the state will have to show that the accused person actually concealed the death and that delayed or hindered the discovery of the death of another person. Nazario v. State, 293 Ga. 480 (2013).
If the state is successful in demonstrating that the accused person is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt and the accused person is convicted, the crime is considered a felony. The punishment includes a prison term of one to ten years and a fine between $1,000 to $5,000.
If you or loved one has been charged with concealing the death of another person in Georgia, you need the assistance of a Georgia Criminal Defense Lawyer today. Police officers are human, too, and make mistakes. You may have been arrested based on a misunderstanding or a mistake. The Georgia Criminal Defense Attorneys at Lawson and Berry are experienced in Georgia Criminal Defenses and will guide you every step of the way. Contact us now.