Pleas entered in manslaughter cases

Published 6:41 pm Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Defendants in two separate cases pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter and were sentenced to prison time, according to the office of District Attorney Joe Mulholland.

The November term of Decatur County Superior Court was concluded Tuesday at noon.

One of the major cases decided involved the April 8, 2009, shooting death of 29-year-old James Curtis Christian Jr. outside his home on Bruce Road.

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Willie Earl McGriff of Attapulgus, who was 25 years old at the time of Christian’s death, and Marquez Taylor of Bainbridge, who was 16 years old at the time of Christian’s death, both pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter and were sentenced to serve 20 years in prison, Assistant District Attorney Charles Rooks said Tuesday.

In a separate case, Eric Kawaun Williams of Pelham, Ga., pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter in the December 2008 shooting death of Yetta Parker, the mother of his children, at their residence at 451 Robinson Mitchell Road in northeast Decatur County. Although Williams had initially claimed Parker shot herself, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation medical examiner presented physical evidence that indicated Parker could not have shot herself and was likely attempting to defend herself from Williams, Rooks said.

Three sentenced in armed robbery

Three men were recently sentenced for their involvement with the Dec. 1, 2008, armed robbery of the Quick Buys store on Old Whigham Dairy Road, Rooks said.

Nineteen-year-old William Burke of Bainbridge pleaded guilty to armed robbery and was sentenced to serve 10 years in prison. Burke and 21-year-old Walter Franklin Sapp of Decatur County were both convicted of robbing the store at gunpoint.

Sapp, who was also convicted of the December 2008 armed robbery of the Three Squares Diner in Cairo, was sentenced to serve 15 years in prison.

Twenty-one-year-old Levar Anderson of Bainbridge, the getaway driver in the case, pleaded guilty to armed robbery and was sentenced to five years in prison.

A Cairo teen, Shanteria Jackson, was sentenced to serve five years in prison for her involvement as the getaway driver in the Yesterday’s Diner robbery, Rooks said.

Sexual offender cases

Christopher Rabon, 29, of Bainbridge, was found innocent of one count of aggravated child molestation.

In considering a separate count of child molestation, the jury was split 6-6 and the presiding judge declared a mistrial in the case, Rooks said. Rooks said the District Attorney’s Office intended to bring Rabon back to trial on the count the jury hung on.

According to the Sheriff’s Office, the victim in the case was a 7-year-old female. The investigation took place over approximately one year and was a joint effort between the Sheriff’s Office and the Division of Family and Child Services (DFACS).

Wilton Shane Key, 40, of Bainbridge, was found guilty of possession of child pornography. Key was sentenced to serve 10 years in prison and must be registered as a sex offender, along with all the restrictions that entails, Assistant District Attorney Mike Bankston said.

Former Brinson town clerk sentenced for thefts

Twenty-eight-year-old Laura Lee Burke, the former clerk for the Town of Brinson, pleaded guilty to multiple counts of theft by taking, according to Assistant District Attorney Leopold “Fritz” Joh.

Burke was given first-time offender treatment and agreed to an option to immediately make restitution of $14,000 taken from the town’s government. Therefore, she received a lighter sentence of being required to serve 52 weekends at the county jail, Joh said.

Serious accident occurs Tuesday

A rollover accident that injured at least three people happened in southern Decatur County on Tuesday afternoon.

The wreck occurred at about 3:15 p.m. Tuesday on Drane Smith Road, located between Georgia 309 South and U.S. 27 South near the Georgia/Florida border. Sheriff’s deputies and state troopers with the Georgia State Patrol responded to the accident; however, details were not immediately available.

Law enforcement helped escort ambulances into Bainbridge at around 4:30 p.m.