Grand Jury indicts 46, including notable cases

Published 6:24 pm Tuesday, May 10, 2011

The Decatur County Grand Jury true-billed 46 cases on Tuesday, including several notable cases such as a murder case and a former Bainbridge Public Safety sergeant who was indicted on six counts.

The Grand Jury, which was presided by Judge J. Kevin Chason, had four no bills of indictment and three cases continued for the next term.

Jonathan Harrison, a former BPS sergeant, was indicted by the Grand Jury for three counts of burglary, two counts of violation of oath by public officer and one count of obstruction of an officer. The indictment, Harrison is accused of entering Imagination Express, located at 830 E. Shotwell St., Bainbridge Portable Buildings and Trailers, located at 826 E. Shotwell St., and Golden Beauty Supply, located at 907 E. Shotwell St., with the intent to commit a theft.

Email newsletter signup

According to the original report, Harrison was tied with Reco McGriff Cochran, who was also indicted Tuesday by the Grand Jury of three counts of burglary in relationship to those same three businesses. Cochran was arrested after a Winn-Dixie manager reported to police that a man matching Cochran’s description came into the store when it opened and cashed $432.50 worth of coins using the store’s Coinstar machine.

It is alleged that Harrison was providing information that assisted in Cochran burglarizing the businesses.

The Grand Jury indicted Harrison with two counts of violation of oath of public officer, saying in Count 4, “he did willfully and intentionally violate the terms of his oath as prescribed by law, in that he did swear to ‘be vigilant in detecting and preventing violations of the laws of the City of Bainbridge and the State of Georgia’ and then did commit the offense of burglary as party to a crime by aiding and assisting co-conspirator Reco Cochran in the burglaries as alleged in courts one through three committed on the 21st day of January, 2011, contrary to the laws of said State, the good order, peace and dignity thereof.”

On Count 6, the second count of violation of oath of a public officer, Harrison is accused of hindering the investigation of the burglaries by providing misleading statements to investigators.

Under Count 5, Harrison was indicted for obstruction of an officer, where he “did knowingly and willfully obsruct law enforcement, to wit: Bainbridge Public Safety and the Georgia Bureau of Investigation in the lawful discharge of their official duties by providing misleading information during a criminal investigation into the burglaries committed on the 21st day of January, 2011.”

Harrison was fired by Bainbridge City Manager Chris Hobby in late January for reasons including “violation of oath of office and violation of any criminal law or any offense involving moral turpitude.” Harrison started to work with  Bainbridge Public Safety on Oct. 28, 1999. He was promoted to sergeant on May 31, 2008. He also worked part-time with the Donalsonville Police Department at the time.

Murder suspect indicted

Roderick Elliot Smith was indicted for malice murder, felony murder, aggravated assault and possession of a knife during the commission of a felony.

Smith was indicted for stabbing to death Trevis Raymonte Clemons on March 13 inside a private building located on Highway 309 South.

The building was owned by Clemons’ uncle, Lawrence Sapp of Attapulgus, whose mother was buried earlier in the day. Clemons, better known to his friends as Kente Campbell, was at the building—used as a pool room and small kitchen—along with other relatives when the stabbing occurred.

Investigators said Smith entered the building and confronted Clemons, when Smith took a knife from the kitchen area and used it to stab Clemons.

Home invader indicted

Eric Dewayne Hall was indicted by the Grand Jury for two counts of robbery by force, one count of burglary, two counts of aggravated assault and two counts of false imprisonment.

Hall is accused of taking a wallet from an elderly man and the purse of the man’s wife during a violent home invasion on Broughton Street on Feb. 21. The indictment charged Hall “with intent to rob by knocking said {male victim} down to the floor, hitting him with accused’s hand and dragging {the male victim} across a floor. The indictment also said Hall maliciously cause bodily harm to the female victim by “rendering her hip … useless.”

The indictment states that Hall unlawfully confined and detained the victims without legal authority.

Ponder indicted

Lisa Ponder, a.k.a. Lisa Carol Ponder, was indicted on four counts of arson of lands in the third degree.

The Grand Jury said Ponder started a string of brush fires at 2550 Old Whigham Road, 175 Florence Drive, 2550 Old Whigham Road and 1311 Carter St. The fires, which started around late July of 2011 and continued until November, damaged or destroyed four buildings.