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On March 13, 2023, Andrew James Conard, was found guilty of Malice Murder, Felony Murder, Home Invasion, Armed Robbery, and Aggravated Battery by a Carroll County jury. After considering the evidence presented at sentencing, including the heinous and senseless nature of the crime, Coweta Judicial Circuit Superior Court Judge John Simpson sentenced Conard to Life Imprisonment without the possibility of parole, followed by 2 additional life sentences, and 20 additional years.
Chief Assistant District Attorney Jep Bendinger, Senior Assistant District Attorney Lara Todd and Assistant District Attorney Caley McDonald prosecuted the case. Investigator Nick Miller of the Carroll County Sheriff’s Office was the lead investigator.
The evidence showed that on the evening of May 9, 2020, 83-year-old Barbara Gibson was in her home preparing to take Mother’s Day gifts to friends and neighbors of the Burwell Community in Carroll County. At approximately 6:00 p.m., Conard and co-defendant Amanda Sperry arrived at Ms. Gibson’s home with the intention to rob her. Conard pulled his vehicle in into Gibson’s carport, exited the vehicle, knocked on Gibson’s door, and then shot her multiple times immediately after she answered. Conard and Sperry left the residence, only to return a short time later to steal various items of property from Ms. Gibson, to include jewelry, her wallet, and Ms. Gibson’s sewing machine. The defendants then fled.
The Carroll County Sheriff’s Office launched one of the most extensive investigations in Carroll County history, led by Investigator Nick Miller. Using novel and cutting edge techniques, Sperry and Conard were identified as the suspects in Ms. Gibson’s murder. Investigators located the murder weapon and several items of Gibson’s property inside the residence of the defendants.
Investigators also learned that the defendants spent much of their money on methamphetamine, scratch-off lottery tickets, and video poker. In early May of 2020, Sperry was caught stealing lottery tickets and cash from her employer and without another source of income to fund their vices, Conard and Sperry decided to rob citizens of Carroll County. For three days prior to the murder, the couple drove around the County targeting elderly persons in rural areas. Their motive was robbery and they sought citizens that might be alone, isolated, and unable to fight back. The evidence at trial showed that they targeted Ms. Gibson for exactly this reason.
After her arrest, Sperry confessed to her role in the case. She agreed to testify in the trial of Conard in exchange for a 60 year sentence, with the first 40 years to serve in prison. Sperry ultimately testified in the trial of Conard, and played a substantial role in Conard’s conviction.
I commend the Carroll County Sheriff’s Office for their great work on this case. We appreciate the service of the Carroll County jurors that acted as fact finders in this trial. By holding the Defendant accountable for this senseless and excessive murder, the DA’s office believes justice has been served and that our community is a safer place as a result.
JOHN HERBERT CRANFORD, JR.
COWETA JUDICIAL CIRCUIT
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