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PRESS RELEASE RE: JUNE 28, 2021 COWETA COUNTY SUPERIOR COURT TRIAL WEEK
On Monday, June 28, 2021, the Coweta County Superior Court held a trial week, with Judge Emory Palmer, Judge Travis Sakrison, and Senior Judge William Simmons presiding. At the conclusion of the trial week, the Court had received 60 guilty pleas and had conducted three jury trials, all of which concluded with guilty verdicts. District Attorney Cranford regards this trial week as the most productive trial week since the judicial system shut down due to COVID-19, and he believes all participants in the judicial system should be commended for their efforts in pursuit of justice in every case.
The District Attorney wishes particularly to acknowledge and commend the patience of the many victims who have waited and continue to wait to receive justice, the continued engagement and responsiveness of law enforcement in seeing their cases through to their conclusion, and the members of the DA’s Office who worked countless hours and weekends to prepare these cases for trial.
Noteworthy cases resolved the week of June 28, 2021:
Following a week-long jury trial in Case No. 2019-R-937 and deliberations that lasted until 11 p.m. Friday, July 2, Defendant Danny Long was found guilty of Malice Murder, Felony Murder, Aggravated Assault, and Criminal Use of a Firearm with an Altered Identification Mark. The evidence revealed that on April 30, 2019, the 17 year old Defendant shot and killed his cousin, Edmond Irvin, who at the time was an off-duty Coweta County Sheriff’s Deputy. Approximately ten minutes before the shooting, Deputy Irvin and Long got into a physical altercation stemming from Deputy Irvin speaking to Long about staying out late, getting in trouble, and disrespecting and cussing at Long’s own mother, who was also Deputy Irvin’s cousin. After this initial physical altercation, Long went to his bedroom and took out a firearm from his dresser and put it in his pocket. Deputy Irvin, who was unarmed and unaware of Long’s firearm, waited several minutes to try to let Long cool down before he went to Long’s bedroom to bring him back his jacket from the ground outside. According to Long, Deputy Irvin was trying to be nice to him when he entered his room. However, Long was still angry about the earlier altercation so he yelled and cursed at Deputy Irvin and shoved him. A scuffle ensued in the bedroom.
Witnesses in the residence testified that they heard Long yell, “I ain’t no punk bitch!” prior to hearing the sound of three gunshots, one of which fatally wounded Deputy Irvin. Immediately after the shooting, Long ran out of the house, but not before threatening to shoot and kill Deputy Irvin’s pregnant fiancée, who screamed at Long as he fled the scene. Once outside the residence, a neighbor heard Defendant exclaim, “I’m going to kill every motherfucker in that house.” During the sentencing hearing, Chief Deputy Assistant District Attorney Robert Mooradian, who represented the State during the trial, admitted evidence of Long’s past threats to kill other people and evidence that Long was engaged the in sale of firearms. Judge Travis Sakrison sentenced Long to serve life in prison, followed by 25 years to serve in prison.
Following a jury trial prosecuted by Assistant DA Christine Caldwell in Case No. 2021-R-586, Defendant Kulli Jackson was convicted of Aggravated Assault and Possession of a Knife during the Commission of a Felony. The evidence revealed that, on June 25, 2019, the Defendant wore a mask and pulled a knife on a Dollar General employee. The employee stabbed the Defendant with her own knife in self-defense before the Defendant ran away from the scene. The blood on the victim’s knife was positively matched to the Defendant’s DNA. The State also charged the Defendant with Attempted Armed Robbery but the jury found him not guilty of that charge. Senior Judge Simmons sentenced the Defendant to 25 years, with the first 10 years to be served in prison.
Following a jury trial prosecuted by Assistant DA Magen Bateman in Case No. 2019-R-049, Defendant Jose Garcia was convicted of Identify Fraud for using another person’s identity, without authority, to purchase a vehicle from Nissan of Newnan. Judge Emory Palmer sentenced Garcia to 5 years, with the first two years to be served in prison.
Defendants Duquavias Geddis, Marion Meriwether, and Patdrious Meriwether entered non-negotiated guilty pleas to various violations of Georgia’s Street Gang Terrorism and Prevention Act in Case No. 2019-R-458. Judge Emory Palmer sentenced Geddis and Marion Meriwether each to 20 years to serve the first 5 years in prison, and sentenced Patdrious Meriwether to 30 years with the first 8 years to be served in prison. The evidence in this case, which included multiple cell phone videos, revealed that all three defendants were associated with the Bloods criminal street gang and had orchestrated “beat-ins” in March of 2018 to induct new members, who were juveniles, into the street gang. While none of the juveniles were injured and while they engaged in the “beat-in” consensually, this behavior amounted to an illegal Affray, which when done for the purpose of recruitment into a criminal street gang violates Georgia’s gang statute. The juvenile’s cases were handled in Juvenile Court and the District Attorney hopes that this experience has served to lead them down a different path in life, one that does not result in incarceration or death at the hands of gang members.
One other codefendant and fellow gang member, Jalen Anderson, was also charged in this case. He was sentenced to 30 years to serve the first 12 years in prison on November 16, 2020. In addition to Anderson’s participation in these “beat-ins,” investigators found in his cell phone a document containing gang rules and codes, as well as a list of the highest ranking local members of the gang, two of whom are currently serving double-digit prison sentences for gang and/or violent crimes committed in Coweta County prior to March 2018.
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