Man pleads guilty in housemate’s death

Published 7:58 pm Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Two high-profile cases from 2008 were handled last week by the Superior Court of Decatur County, with the courts accepting negotiated pleas from both defendants.

The first case involved a man who was found murdered in a Decatur County home.

Sheldon Stone pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter, pleaded down from murder, for the June 3, 2008, murder of Kenneth Dwayne Koon at a home near the Recovery community in southwest Decatur County.

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Koon was found dead in Stone’s home, where he was apparently living, from a shotgun blast to the shoulder area. Stone originally told police someone had come into the home and murdered Koon while they were both asleep. Within days of the murder, Florida law enforcement officers arrested Stone in connection with the murder. He was extradited to Decatur County and held without bond.

The murder weapon was never recovered by police, but a shell casing matching the type of bullet used in the murder was found inside the home, said District Attorney Joe Mulholland.

“Based on the strength of the evidence, after discussing the case with the Georgia Bureau, we felt that a plea of voluntary manslaughter was the best action to take in the case,” Mulholland said.

Stone received a 10-year prison sentence to be served in its entirety.

The second case involved an alleged sexual assault that occurred in Climax, Ga.

James Willard Weaver pleaded nolo contendere, neither admitting or denying charges of sodomy, pleaded down from aggravated sodomy and sexual battery, from a alleged sexual assault that occurred on Sept. 21, 2008.

Weaver, 71, was arrested after an 18-year-old female told police he sexually assaulted her when she went for a tanning session at a Climax salon owned by Weaver’s wife. The girl had reported Weaver began asking her questions of a sexual nature, followed her to her car and forcibly performed oral sex on her until the arrival of another individual. Weaver was also held without bond.

Mulholland stated his belief that DNA evidence in the case made the victim’s version of the events appear more credible than Weaver’s statement to police regarding the incident. However, Mulholland said the evidence did not directly indicate whether Weaver had any contact with the girl.

Weaver received five years probation and was ordered not to have contact with the female involved in the case. He must also register as a sex offender and follow the terms and conditions associated with sex offender probation, said Mulholland.