Our offices deemed last month “May Madness.” Why? Because our collective offices tried multiple serious cases in four weeks.
To kick things off, in Fayette County, Chief Deputy Warren Sellers obtained a conviction for child molestation in a somewhat unusual case where the victim was male, and the abuser was female. Judge W. Fletcher Sams sentenced the defendant to twenty years with eighteen to serve.
I was back in saddle trying a murder case in Spalding County. In that case, a jury convicted a serial domestic violence abuser of murder. I tried this case with the assistance of Assistant District Attorney Holly MacDonald. Judge Ballard sentenced the defendant to life without parole.
The next week, a Spalding County jury convicted a drug trafficker for distributing car-fentanyl, a super deadly drug that can cause death upon mere contact. Chief Assistant District Attorney David Studdard and Assistant District Attorney Holly MacDonald presented an excellent case involving witnesses as far away as Maryland. Judge Ballard sentenced that defendant to forty years to serve.
And, last, but certainly not least, Assistant District Attorney Ashton Fallin and Audrey Holliday prosecuted top leadership of the “Zoo Krew” set of the Blood Gang in Upson County. This case was unique in that the defendants were charged under the Racketeer, Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act.
This is a statute that was enacted to allow prosecutors to target not only those who commit immediate crimes of violence or drug activity, but those who govern and direct them.
My assistants gallantly proved to an Upson County jury that the two defendants were the ring leaders of drug distribution and violence in our community. Judge Ben Miller, Jr. sentenced these top gang leaders to 40 years to serve. Both were recidivists, which means they will serve every day of their sentence.
This Upson County jury made a huge statement to gang leaders in this Circuit. We do not want gang crime here. My offices will continue to fight to bring down gangs in our community.
I had many concerns about how juries would react to crime after the court shutdown during the pandemic. The clear message across Fayette, Spalding, Pike, and Upson counties are that the good citizens of this community are sick and tired of violence in their communities, and I share in this feeling.
My heartfelt thanks go out to the law enforcement agencies who helped us bring these cases to a jury. We had agencies come from five states to testify in these May Madness trials. Together, with the law enforcement agencies across this Circuit, my offices will continue to work extremely hard to prosecute those committing crime in our communities. Until next time, please be good to each other.
[Marie Broder has served as the Griffin Judicial Circuit district attorney since 2020. She resides in Griffin.]