Law enforcement honored and awarded at annual luncheon
Published 4:53 pm Friday, May 18, 2018
Law enforcement officers from the five-county South Georgia Judicial Circuit met at the Kirbo Center in Bainbridge Friday for their annual luncheon and awards.
Guest speaker was Ken Hodges, a former prosecuting attorney who makes his home in Albany and is running unopposed as a candidate for the Court of Appeals.
His message to the group of policemen and deputies was basically, “Tell the truth.”
He emphasized the importance of talking to all witnesses at an incident and detailing what they say. The Court and jury members are not present at the scene the way the investigating officers are. “Don’t overdo it or oversell it. Be sincere.”
He advised them to meet with the prosecutor beforehand and tell them the details.
“The jurors are deciding on someone’s life based on what you tell them. We have to make sure we do it right,” he said.
He also recommended they begin to act as professionals before they arrive at the courthouse, saying first impressions matter. “You are there to do your job, which is to tell the truth. Your job is not to get convictions, but to tell what happened.”
Another piece of advice was to use visual demonstrative aids when they have them to help jurors understand what happened, but he stressed the need to tell the prosecutor before doing so. “Don’t surprise them with things that aren’t in the report.” His tips to law enforcement also included the advice of not to argue with the defense attorneys, “as some of them will try to bait you. Don’t let them win that way.”
Four employees of the year were recognized by District Attorney Joe Mulholland, who organized the event and acted as host and emcee. He said what he likes best about this meeting is it gives law enforcement officers across the district a chance to get together, get acquainted and exchange ideas and information.
The counties that make up the South Georgia Judicial Circuit are Baker, Calhoun, Decatur, Mitchell and Grady.
Mitchell County Police Department winner was Sheila Adkins; representing Calhoun and Baker Counties Sheriff Departments was Tonjua Lewis; Dewayne Pearson was the winner from Cairo Police Department in Grady County and the Decatur County winner was Peggy Perkins.
Mulholland said the winners were all chosen because they are the ones in the departments that get things done. “They are always there when I need them.”
Two South GA men convicted on sex charges
Friday, May 18th 2018, 2:52 pm EDTFriday, May 18th 2018, 2:54 pm EDTBy Dave Miller, Digital Executive Producer
(Source: Decatur Co. Sheriff)
BAINBRIDGE, GA (WALB) -
Two Decatur County men are headed to prison for a long time, after they were convicted on numerous sex charges this week in Bainbridge.
Jamie Hahn was charged and indicted on five counts of child molestation. After a two-day trial, the jury found Hahn guilty of all counts. Superior Court Judge Frank Horkan sentenced Hahn to 40 years, 35 to serve in the state penitentiary.
The case was investigated by Inv. Redell Walton with the Decatur County Sheriff’s Office and tried by Senior Assistant District Attorney David Atwell.
Richard Dixon was charged with 11 counts of Aggravated Child Molestation, Aggravated Sexual Battery, and Child Molestation. After a three-day trial, the jury found the defendant guilty of all counts.
Judge J. Kevin Chason sentenced Dixon to Life in the State Penitentiary, and he must serve at least 25 years before he is eligible for parole.
The case was investigated by Robert Humphrey of the Decatur County Sheriff’s Office and prosecuted by Chief Assistant District Attorney Mike Bankston.
"Both of these defendants effectively will spend the rest of their lives in prison," said South Georgia District Attorney Joe Mulholland. "Given their vile and reprehensible acts against children of our community, this is the best place for them, behind bars, where they can no longer be a threat to any other innocent victims. Unfortunately, there is little evidence that child predators can be rehabilitated, so I am happy our office along with the Court and law enforcement removed their ability to act on their sexual perversions."
Decatur County Grand Jury Returns 40 True Bills of Indictment
By Dustin Dowdy | May 11, 2018
Grand Jury May Term
May 7th the Grand Jury convened in Decatur County. After hearing the cases presented by District Attorney Joe Mulholland, the Grand Jury returned just over 40 True Bills of Indictment and less than 6 No Bills of Indictment, and 1 case was continued for the term. Two cases of significance were True Billed. Aanija Burke was indicted for Burglary, Possession of Tools for the Commission of a Crime, and Home Invasion. Burke is alleged to have broken into a home with a BB gun which appeared to be a real handgun while the occupant was watching her grandchild. “The defendant not only put this poor family at risk but himself also. Your home is your castle and the defendant terrorized the poor occupants. We will be taking a hard stance on this matter as this kind of behavior will not be tolerated in our community” Mulholland commented.
The other notable case involved Thaddus Nundra, Louis Ousley, and Ronnie McFadden. The trio were indicted for the murder of Hubert Moore, a Bainbridge local employed at the Post Searchlight. “Mr. Moore’s senseless killing shook the entire community, myself included. We will do everything possible to make sure that those who committed this horrible act are held responsible. My thoughts and prayers go out to the Moore family, and we will get them justice in this matter” Mulholland stated.
Trials for May Term
There were three cases to be tried by a jury the week of May 7th in Decatur County. The first case for trial was Robert Ezell. Ezell was charged by way of indictment with Child Molestation and Cruelty to Children in the 1st Degree. Monday morning, Ezell pled guilty to the charges. He received a sentence of 25 five years, 15 to serve in the State Penitentiary and must register as a sex offender. Ezell brutally beat the child of his girlfriend on at least two occasions. The case was handled by Senior Assistant David Atwell. “As the investigation into this matter developed, we found that not only did Ezell beat this young child but also sexually assaulted him. We were able to revoke four years of his previous probation and run it consecutive to his current sentence which means he will be incarcerated for 19 years. Which he deserves. I am thankful to Amy Eakin at our local Child Advocacy Center and the Decatur County Sheriff’s Office for their hard work in making sure this sick and violent predator is put away for close to two decades.” Mulholland replied.
The second case that was set for trial was Lonnie Baggling, Christopher Baggling, and Marq Lewis. District Attorney Joe Mulholland handled the case. The trio robbed at gunpoint Earnest Lowrey at the local Wal-Mart in Bainbridge while he was in his vehicle. In addition to robbing Mr. Lowery, the three also entered several other automobiles. Just prior to trial, the three pled guilty to Armed Robbery and Entering an Automobile. They were all sentenced to 30 years, 15 to serve in the State System. “I would venture to say that almost everyone in our community has shopped at this Wal-Mart at some point. The fact that these three would not only rob someone but use a firearm in doing so shows how violent they are. Kudos go out to Bainbridge Public Safety for making sure they spend the next decade and a half behind bars.” Mulholland commented.
The final case to be tried this week was Gary Glass. Chief Assistant Mike Bankston tried the case. Glass was charged with Child Molestation. After picking a jury in the matter, Glass decided to plead guilty and received a sentence of 40 years, 10 to serve in the State Penitentiary. “Apparently Glass didn’t like the looks of the excellent jury we were able to impanel and pled. Sexual predators are unfortunately a reality we must deal with. I thank Cheryl Nix, law enforcement, and the victim and the victim’s family for their courage and hard work.” Mulholland stated.
“This was a long but very productive week in Decatur County. I am very proud of the work my office did in securing major convictions in several high-profile cases. We still have some unfinished business to do next week but we will be ready to go and make sure we keep our community safe.” Mulholland said.
Grady Co. woman convicted of manslaughter after giving birth in bathroom
A Grady County woman, who gave birth in a bathroom, has been convicted of involuntary manslaughter and concealing the death of another.
According to District Attorney Joe Mulholland, Amethyst Katora Hindsman pleaded blind, at the mercy of the court, on March 19.
Mulholland said Georgia Bureau of Investigation Special Agent Chase Littlejohn and the Grady County Sheriff’s Office collected evidence that proved Hindsman caused the death of her newborn child without any intention to seek medical attention for the baby after giving birth in a bathroom.
Mulholland said Hindsman also did not tell anyone she was pregnant and she never sought prenatal care.
“This was such an unnecessary death of a baby. Pre-natal care and medical attention during birth are simply requisites as they are readily available in our community,” said Mulholland.
Hindman's sentencing has been deferred by Judge Kevin Chason until June 14.
Bainbridge 'career offender' gets 14 years in federal prison
ALBANY, GA (WALB) -
A Bainbridge man who was labeled a 'career offender' by the U. S. Attorney will spend the next 14 years in federal prison, after he was sentenced in Albany Federal Court Thursday by Judge W. Louis Sands.
Keith Gaines, 43, of Bainbridge, got 176 months for possession with intent to distribute cocaine, after pleading guilty last December.
Charles E. Peeler, United States Attorney for the Middle District of Georgia said that in 2016, Bainbridge police saw Gaines trying to hide, while wearing camouflage described as a 'Ghillie suit' near some warehouses in Bainbridge. He ran to a wooded area, and dropped a package on the ground as police came up. It turned out to be cocaine, and officers found more cocaine in his wallet.
In jail, he made a phone call and described burying a package near a tree in the Bainbridge area. Police went there and found crack cocaine, which they confiscated.
"Mr. Gaines was designated a career offender based on at least five prior cocaine convictions," said United States Attorney Peeler. "He has made a career of almost 25 years of peddling this poison on the streets of our communities. We hope that this sentence will not only end that career for Mr. Gaines but deter others who might consider following the same path."
This case was investigated by the Bainbridge Department of Public Safety. Assistant United States Attorney Leah E. McEwen prosecuted the case for the United States.