November term Grand Jury returns 51 True Bills

Published 12:07 am Saturday, November 15, 2014

Fifty-six criminal cases were presented before the November term Grand Jury at the Decatur County Courthouse Monday, resulting in 51 True Bills of Indictment, three No Bills of Indictment and two cases to be continued next term.

Major cases included charges of insurance fraud, malice murder, arson in the first degree, incest and child molestation.

James Leroy Ward and Anthony B. Hall were charged with insurance fraud for claiming accidental damage done to a Heartland Camper vehicle, caused by a fallen tree limb and water damage from rain. Their fraudulent claim resulted in a payment of $55,323.70 by Auto Owner’s Insurance Company.

Email newsletter signup

“We had the insurance commission come down and they conducted the investigation,” South Georgia Judicial Circuit District Attorney Joe Mulholland said.

It was revealed Ward and Hall’s claim was false and the damage done to the vehicle was intentional.

Three men were charged for their involvement in the murder of Robert Roscoe Cannon on Aug. 17, 2014: Jonathan Maurice Johnson, Joshua Anthony Lee and Marquis Trevon Scott. Each of the three was charged with one count of Malice Murder, Criminal Attempt to Commit a Felony and Aggravated Assault.

Johnson was also charged with Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon and Possession of Marijuana, Less than an Ounce. Lee was also charged with Possession of a Controlled Substance with Intent to Distribute and Battery, Family Violence.

Kyle Rufus Duke was charged with two counts of arson in the first degree, criminal damage to property in the first degree, two counts of making a false statement and insurance fraud.

On May 28, 2014, Duke staged a crash on Duke Wells Road and set fire to his ow0n truck, which was insured against fire damage by State Farm. Focus Credit Union also had a security interest on the truck. Duke made false statements to Georgia State Patrol officers and the Georgia State Fire Marshal’s Office about the staged accident, claiming he hit a pig while driving and crashed off the road.

Duke was also separately charged with theft by taking and making a false statement for lying to the Decatur County Sheriff’s Office about stealing road diesel from W.F. Jackson Construction Company, Inc.

“The grand jury chose to indict them based on facts and evidence,” Mulholland said “The GSP conducted the investigation, and they did a good job. We’ll present it in trial and see what they say.”

Gregory Bernard Murphy was charged with one count of incest and one count of child molestation. Between Aug. 1, 2008 and July 31, 2014, Murphy engaged in sexual behavior and intercourse with his 16-year-old daughter.

Among the No Bills was Decatur County Sheriff’s Office employee Normal Cotton, who was charged with Sexual Assault of an Inmate at a Correctional Facility. Cotton had requested Decatur County pay for any legal counsel he required per a resolution the Board of Commissioners passed in August. Decatur County Attorney Brown Moseley represented him during his hearing Monday. His charges were dropped.