Bizarre trial ends with 55 year sentence for armed robber

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Blue Ridge, Ga. – In what might be remembered as one of the most bizarre trials to be held in Fannin County in 2019, a jury has found 22 year old Hamond Mormon guilty and Appalachian Judicial Circuit Superior Court Judge Brenda Weaver handed down a 55 year sentence in the case.

Mormon, along with his mother Melisse Mormon (aka Melisse Marmon) and cousin Rashad Morman, were accused in the Labor Day 2017 armed robbery of the AT&T store located off of Scenic Drive.

Fannin County, Georgia, Armed Robbery, AT&T, Guilty, Trial, Melisse Mormon, Melisse, Rashad Morman, Hamond Mormon, Sovereign Citizen, Fannin County Sheriff's Office, Sgt. Jacob Pless, Lt. Todd Pack, Blue Ridge City Police, Capt. Rob Staurt,  Appalachian Judicial Circuit, Superior Court, Judge, Brenda Weaver, District Attorney, B. Alison Sosebee, High Speed Chase, 515, Federal Bureau of Investigation, FBI, Georgia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities

Hamond Mormon was found guilty on 14 counts and sentenced to 55 years.

According to law enforcement statements, as well as surveillance footage from the store, Rashad and Hamond entered the store, both armed, and forced employees to hand over cash, personal belongings, and cell phones.

Melisse waited outside for the two to return and drove the getaway vehicle. The resulting chase between the trio and law enforcement involved speeds over 100 mph and only ended when Fannin County Sheriff’s Office Sgt. Jacob Pless disabled the suspects’ vehicle through use of a PIT (Pursuit Intervention Technique) maneuver.

A jury made up of 6 men and 6 women, with a female alternate, listened the state’s argument presented by Appalachian Judicial Circuit District Attorney, B. Alison Sosebee and watched the antics of Defendant Hamond Mormon unfold for several days.

Mormon made his intentions known to the court that he would be defending himself and opted out of representation by a public defender.

Mormon also exercised his right to declare Sovereign Citizenship, a move that has repeatedly been struck down by higher courts and considered an invalid claim.

According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Sovereign Citizens “believe that even though they physically reside in this country, they are separate or “sovereign” from the United States. As a result, they believe they don’t have to answer to any government authority, including courts, taxing entities, motor vehicle departments, or law enforcement”.

One of papers filed by Mormon to Judge Weaver and District Attorney Sosebee states: “As a true flesh and blood American and sovereign citizen, I refuse to participate in any colorable law schemes or practices”.

The first several days of the trial were anything but normal for members of the jury to witness and court staff to accommodate. Mormon, representing himself, would often refuse to acknowledge Judge Weaver as she gave explanations of court proceedings to ensure that he was aware everything that was going on.

Mormon also refused to wear clothes to court and instead sat in the courtroom cloaked in a blanket. Despite his seemingly odd behavior, an extensive mental evaluation was performed by the Georgia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities and found Mormon to be of sound mind and competent to stand trial.

On the day of closing arguments, Mormon refused to come to the courtroom all together, and Judge Weaver was putting her foot down as well stating that if Mormon did show he would be required to wear clothing.

Sosebee presented her closing argument to the jury and reminded everyone: “The State of Georgia is not required to prove the guilt of the accused beyond all doubt or to a mathematical certainty. It has to be a reasonable doubt.” Sosebee added to this, “We have in fact carried that burden.”

With Judge Weaver reminding the jury that Mormon’s behavior in the courtroom is not indicative of guilt and that the jury should only consider the evidence presented in the case, the 12 member (plus an alternate) was dismissed for deliberations.

Deliberation only took 21 minutes before the jury informed the court that they had reached a verdict in the case. The foreman stood and read a verdict of guilty on all counts. Weaver polled each jury member individually to ensure that each member had in fact reached this unanimous decision.

“This has been a little bit of an unusual trial,” Judge Weaver spoke directly to the jury before their dismissal, “I appreciate your patience with us.”

After the jury left the courtroom, Fannin County Sheriff’s Office Lt. Todd Pack was once again tasked with inquiring as to whether Mormon would like to enter the courtroom. Mormon had previously declined Pack’s offer for closing arguments and then again for the reading of the verdict.

Declining for a third time to enter the courtroom for sentencing, according to Pack, Mormon stated, “You are sentencing an artificial being. My name is not Hamond Dontel Mormon. I am not who they say that I am.”

Before handing down the sentence Weaver addressed her feelings on the case involving Mormon, “I guess of the three defendants I have a little more sympathy for him because of his background…than I have for the others.”

Weaver went on to explain that after having read Mormon’s evaluation by the state and given the details of his past that she felt “he never really had a chance”.

Mormon received a total of 55 years to serve 50 of those years in prison. A breakdown of the sentencing is as follows:

  • Count 1 – Armed Robbery – 20 years to serve
  • Count 2 – Armed Robbery – 20 years to serve consecutive to Count 1
  • Count 3 – Aggravated Assault – Merge w/ count 1
  • Count 4 – Aggravated Assault – Merge w/ count 1
  • Count 5 – Aggravated Assault – Merge w/ count 1
  • Count 6 – Aggravated Assault – Merge w/ count 1
  • Count 7 – Kidnapping – 20 years to run concurrent with Count 1
  • Count 8 – Kidnapping – 20 years to run concurrent with Count 1
  • Count 9 – False Imprisonment – 10 years concurrent with Count 1
  • Count 10 – False Imprisonment – 10 years concurrent with Count 1
  • Count 11 – Possession of a Firearm during the Commission of a Felony – 5 years to serve consecutive to Count 2
  • Count 12 – Possession of a Firearm during the Commission of a Felony – 5 years to serve consecutive to Count 11
  • Count 13 – Possession of Tools for the Commission of a Crime – 5 years probation to run consecutive to Count 12
  • Count 14 – Theft by Taking – Merge with Count 1

 

 

 

Fetch Your News is a hyper local news outlet that attracts more than 300,000 page views and 3.5 million impressions per month in Dawson, Lumpkin, White, Fannin, Gilmer, Pickens, Union, Towns and Murray counties as well as Cherokee County in N.C. FYNTV attracts approximately 15,000 viewers per week and reaches between 15,000 to 60,000 per week on our Facebook page. For the most effective, least expensive local advertising, call 706-276-6397 or email us at advertise@FetchYourNews.com

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Natalie Kissel

Natalie@FetchYourNews.com

Grand Jury indicts those accused in McKinney murder

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Blue Ridge, Ga. – A Grand Jury made up of 20 members convened on Feb. 20 and officially indicted those accused in the conspiracy to murder Justin McKinney.

Testimony regarding the findings of the investigation was presented to the Grand Jury. Among those to testify were special agents with the Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI), law enforcement with the Fannin County Sheriff’s Department, members of Fannin County’s Emergency Services, and staff from the GBI Crime Lab.

The witness list also included personal testimony from victim Anna Franklin, roommate Donald Majors and co-defendant Lakota Cloer.
After hearing testimony, the Grand Jury found that enough evidence was presented to indict each individual that had previously been detained in connection with the murder with a number of charges.

Trials for the accused are expected to move forward with the following charges for each individual:

***In the case of all charges the accused are being charged “individually and as parties concerned in the commission of a crime”***

Stephan Blake Dickey a.k.a. Dye

Fannin County, Georgia, Blue Ridge, Murder, 15 Year Old, 16 Year Old, Blake Dickey, Hunter Hill, Appalachian Judicial Circuit Superior Court, Judge, Brenda Weaver, Public Defender, Clint Hooker, Attorney, David Farnham, District Attorney, B. Alison Sosebee, Justin McKinney, Anna Franklin, GBI, Georgia Bureau of Investigation, Fannin County Sheriff's Office, Gainesville Regional Youth Detention Center, Elbert Shaw Regional Youth Detention Center, Fannin Regional Hospital, Drugs, Dalton Manuel, Lakota Cloer, Special Agent, Jamie Abercrombie, Dustin Hamby, Captain, Justin Turner, Investigator, John Arp, Chief Deputy, Major Keith Bosen, Elrod Lane, Maple Grove Road, Chase Havard, Kevin Chamaty, Lakota Cloer, Levi Manuel, 20 year old, bond, Grand Jury, Brian Steel, Indictment, Malice Murder, Criminal Attempt to Commit a Felony, Felony Murder, Criminal Attempt to Commit a Felony, Aggravated Assault, Aggravated Battery, Home Invasion in the First Degree, Burglary in the First Degree, Possession of a Firearm During Commission of a Felony, Violation of Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, Tampering with Evidence

1 count Malice Murder
1 count Criminal Attempt to Commit a Felony
1 count Felony Murder
1 count Criminal Attempt to Commit a Felony
5 counts Aggravated Assault
1 count Aggravated Battery
2 counts Home Invasion in the First Degree
1 count Burglary in the First Degree
1 count Possession of a Firearm During Commission of a Felony
1 count Violation of Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act

 

Hunter Nicholas Hill

Fannin County, Georgia, Blue Ridge, Murder, 15 Year Old, 16 Year Old, Blake Dickey, Hunter Hill, Appalachian Judicial Circuit Superior Court, Judge, Brenda Weaver, Public Defender, Clint Hooker, Attorney, David Farnham, District Attorney, B. Alison Sosebee, Justin McKinney, Anna Franklin, GBI, Georgia Bureau of Investigation, Fannin County Sheriff's Office, Gainesville Regional Youth Detention Center, Elbert Shaw Regional Youth Detention Center, Fannin Regional Hospital, Drugs, Dalton Manuel, Lakota Cloer, Special Agent, Jamie Abercrombie, Dustin Hamby, Captain, Justin Turner, Investigator, John Arp, Chief Deputy, Major Keith Bosen, Elrod Lane, Maple Grove Road, Chase Havard, Kevin Chamaty, Lakota Cloer, Levi Manuel, 20 year old, bond, Grand Jury, Brian Steel, Indictment, Malice Murder, Criminal Attempt to Commit a Felony, Felony Murder, Criminal Attempt to Commit a Felony, Aggravated Assault, Aggravated Battery, Home Invasion in the First Degree, Burglary in the First Degree, Possession of a Firearm During Commission of a Felony, Violation of Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, Tampering with Evidence

1 count Malice Murder
1 count Criminal Attempt to Commit a Felony
1 count Felony Murder
1 count Criminal Attempt to Commit a Felony
5 counts Aggravated Assault
1 count Aggravated Battery
2 counts Home Invasion in the First Degree
1 count Burglary in the First Degree
1 count Possession of a Firearm During Commission of a Felony
1 count Violation of Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act

 

Dalton Levi Manuel

Fannin County, Georgia, Blue Ridge, Murder, 15 Year Old, 16 Year Old, Blake Dickey, Hunter Hill, Appalachian Judicial Circuit Superior Court, Judge, Brenda Weaver, Public Defender, Clint Hooker, Attorney, David Farnham, District Attorney, B. Alison Sosebee, Justin McKinney, Anna Franklin, GBI, Georgia Bureau of Investigation, Fannin County Sheriff's Office, Gainesville Regional Youth Detention Center, Elbert Shaw Regional Youth Detention Center, Fannin Regional Hospital, Drugs, Dalton Manuel, Lakota Cloer, Special Agent, Jamie Abercrombie, Dustin Hamby, Captain, Justin Turner, Investigator, John Arp, Chief Deputy, Major Keith Bosen, Elrod Lane, Maple Grove Road, Chase Havard, Kevin Chamaty, Lakota Cloer, Levi Manuel, 20 year old, bond, Grand Jury, Brian Steel, Indictment, Malice Murder, Criminal Attempt to Commit a Felony, Felony Murder, Criminal Attempt to Commit a Felony, Aggravated Assault, Aggravated Battery, Home Invasion in the First Degree, Burglary in the First Degree, Possession of a Firearm During Commission of a Felony, Violation of Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, Tampering with Evidence

1 count Malice Murder
1 count Criminal Attempt to Commit a Felony
1 count Felony Murder
1 count Criminal Attempt to Commit a Felony
5 counts Aggravated Assault
1 count Aggravated Battery
2 counts Home Invasion in the First Degree
1 count Burglary in the First Degree
1 count Possession of a Firearm During Commission of a Felony
1 count Violation of Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act

 

Kevin Jack Chamaty

Fannin County, Georgia, Blue Ridge, Murder, 15 Year Old, 16 Year Old, Blake Dickey, Hunter Hill, Appalachian Judicial Circuit Superior Court, Judge, Brenda Weaver, Public Defender, Clint Hooker, Attorney, David Farnham, District Attorney, B. Alison Sosebee, Justin McKinney, Anna Franklin, GBI, Georgia Bureau of Investigation, Fannin County Sheriff's Office, Gainesville Regional Youth Detention Center, Elbert Shaw Regional Youth Detention Center, Fannin Regional Hospital, Drugs, Dalton Manuel, Lakota Cloer, Special Agent, Jamie Abercrombie, Dustin Hamby, Captain, Justin Turner, Investigator, John Arp, Chief Deputy, Major Keith Bosen, Elrod Lane, Maple Grove Road, Chase Havard, Kevin Chamaty, Lakota Cloer, Levi Manuel, 20 year old, bond, Grand Jury, Brian Steel, Indictment, Malice Murder, Criminal Attempt to Commit a Felony, Felony Murder, Criminal Attempt to Commit a Felony, Aggravated Assault, Aggravated Battery, Home Invasion in the First Degree, Burglary in the First Degree, Possession of a Firearm During Commission of a Felony, Violation of Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, Tampering with Evidence

1 count Malice Murder
1 count Criminal Attempt to Commit a Felony
1 count Felony Murder
1 count Criminal Attempt to Commit a Felony
5 counts Aggravated Assault
1 count Aggravated Battery
2 counts Home Invasion in the First Degree
1 count Burglary in the First Degree
1 count Tampering with Evidence
1 count Violation of Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act

 

Michael Chase Havard

Fannin County, Georgia, Blue Ridge, Murder, 15 Year Old, 16 Year Old, Blake Dickey, Hunter Hill, Appalachian Judicial Circuit Superior Court, Judge, Brenda Weaver, Public Defender, Clint Hooker, Attorney, David Farnham, District Attorney, B. Alison Sosebee, Justin McKinney, Anna Franklin, GBI, Georgia Bureau of Investigation, Fannin County Sheriff's Office, Gainesville Regional Youth Detention Center, Elbert Shaw Regional Youth Detention Center, Fannin Regional Hospital, Drugs, Dalton Manuel, Lakota Cloer, Special Agent, Jamie Abercrombie, Dustin Hamby, Captain, Justin Turner, Investigator, John Arp, Chief Deputy, Major Keith Bosen, Elrod Lane, Maple Grove Road, Chase Havard, Kevin Chamaty, Lakota Cloer, Levi Manuel, 20 year old, bond, Grand Jury, Brian Steel, Indictment, Malice Murder, Criminal Attempt to Commit a Felony, Felony Murder, Criminal Attempt to Commit a Felony, Aggravated Assault, Aggravated Battery, Home Invasion in the First Degree, Burglary in the First Degree, Possession of a Firearm During Commission of a Felony, Violation of Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, Tampering with Evidence

1 count Malice Murder
1 count Criminal Attempt to Commit a Felony
1 count Felony Murder
1 count Criminal Attempt to Commit a Felony
5 counts Aggravated Assault
1 count Aggravated Battery
2 counts Home Invasion in the First Degree
1 count Burglary in the First Degree
1 count Tampering with Evidence
1 count Violation of Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act

 

Lakota Ricky Cloer

Fannin County, Georgia, Blue Ridge, Murder, 15 Year Old, 16 Year Old, Blake Dickey, Hunter Hill, Appalachian Judicial Circuit Superior Court, Judge, Brenda Weaver, Public Defender, Clint Hooker, Attorney, David Farnham, District Attorney, B. Alison Sosebee, Justin McKinney, Anna Franklin, GBI, Georgia Bureau of Investigation, Fannin County Sheriff's Office, Gainesville Regional Youth Detention Center, Elbert Shaw Regional Youth Detention Center, Fannin Regional Hospital, Drugs, Dalton Manuel, Lakota Cloer, Special Agent, Jamie Abercrombie, Dustin Hamby, Captain, Justin Turner, Investigator, John Arp, Chief Deputy, Major Keith Bosen, Elrod Lane, Maple Grove Road, Chase Havard, Kevin Chamaty, Lakota Cloer, Levi Manuel, 20 year old, bond, Grand Jury, Brian Steel, Indictment, Malice Murder, Criminal Attempt to Commit a Felony, Felony Murder, Criminal Attempt to Commit a Felony, Aggravated Assault, Aggravated Battery, Home Invasion in the First Degree, Burglary in the First Degree, Possession of a Firearm During Commission of a Felony, Violation of Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, Tampering with Evidence

Cloer has already pled guilty to the lesser charges of two counts Aggravated Assault and one count Robbery by Intimidation. As part of the plea deal Cloer faces a 40 year sentence, 15 of those years to be served in prison with the remaining 25 years to be served on probation.

Cloer recently turned 17 years old and according to Georgia law is no longer considered a minor. Sources tell FetchYourNews that Cloer was moved from the juvenile facility housing him to a state prison on his birthday.

 

 

 

The Charges Explained:

The charge of Malice Murder is in direct relation with the shooting death of Justin McKinney. In the state of Georgia malice murder means the intent to take a life without legal justification or mitigation. In this case the State does not need to prove a motive in order to obtain a conviction but instead will attempt to show that the person accused deliberately intended to take another person’s life.

Criminal Attempt to Commit a Felony is in relation to the shooting of victim Anna Franklin. By discharging a firearm in her direction and ultimately wounding her, the accused are being charged with the intent to commit a specific crime. In this case the intent was to commit malice murder.

Felony Murder of Justin McKinney. Felony murder charges are brought about when the accused commit the offense of murder while in the process of engaging in other felony related offences. The State alleges in this case of felony murder that the following felony offences were taking place: Home Invasion, Burglary in the First Degree, Aggravated Assault, and Criminal Attempt to Commit Armed Robbery.

The State also brought charges of Criminal Attempt to Commit a Felony. This charge is in relation to the intent of the accused specifically planning and attempting to carry out Armed Robbery. This charge is further laid out in the accused’s premeditation of the event and the steps taken to carry out the crime.

Each defendant has been charged with five counts of Aggravated Assault. Each count is in direct relation with the crimes committed against both Justin McKinney and Anna Franklin and focuses on the use of firearms.

The Aggravated Battery count pertains to Anna Franklin and how essentially her body was rendered “useless” due to the gun shot she received that went through her arm and lodged in her neck.

The two counts of Home Invasion in the First Degree charges the defendants with entering the Franklin home without authority and with intent of forcible felony. This count explains that the accused entered the home with deadly weapons with intent to commit Armed Robbery.

Burglary in the First Degree is a similar charge to the Home Invasion in the First Degree in that it claims the accused entered the dwelling with intent of Armed Robbery and in possession of deadly weapons.

By conspiring to commit Armed Robbery with the intent to also commit murder, all five defendants face a count of Violation of Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act. The state shows that through the accused’s actions there was a pattern of conspiracy and criminal activity.

According to the federal law, The Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, commonly referred to as the RICO Act or simply RICO, provides for extended criminal penalties and a civil cause of action for acts performed as part of an ongoing criminal organization.

The three defendants charged with Possession of Firearm During Commission of a Felony are Dye, Hill, and Manuel. The counts claim Dye possessed a Rossi 410 shotgun, Hill was in possession of Grendel Inc. p-12 .380 handgun, and Manuel carried an Excam .25 caliber handgun.

Lastly Chamaty and Havard face charges of Tampering with Evidence by abetting Dye, Hill, and Manuel in the removal and concealing of the weapons used in the crime.

Follow FetchYourNews for the latest information involving the case. You can read more about the McKinney Murder Case by clicking the links below.

Fatal Shooting in Fannin County
Details Emerge Surrounding Murder Case in Fannin County
Two More Arrested in McKinney Murder Case
McKinney Murder. What Happened That Night. FYN Exclusive Interview With Survivor Anna Franklin
“Pop and Rob”: McKinney Murder Motive Revealed By Prosecution
Bond Denied for Accused McKinney Killer
40 Years To Serve 15: Cloer Accepts Plea Deal in McKinney Murder Case
Two Adults Arrested in McKinney Murder Case
$50,000 Bond Set for Chamaty and Havard in Connection with the Murder of Justin McKinney

 

 

Fetch Your News is a hyper local news outlet that attracts more than 300,000 page views and 3.5 million impressions per month in Dawson, Lumpkin, White, Fannin, Gilmer, Pickens, Union, Towns and Murray counties as well as Cherokee County in N.C. FYNTV attracts approximately 15,000 viewers per week and reaches between 15,000 to 60,000 per week on our Facebook page. For the most effective, least expensive local advertising, call 706-276-6397 or email us at advertise@FetchYourNews.com

Author

Natalie Kissel

Natalie@FetchYourNews.com

$50,000 bond set for Chamaty and Havard in connection with the murder of Justin McKinney

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Blue Ridge, Ga. – “What I am going to do here, is I am going to set bond at $50,000,” Appalachian Judicial Circuit Superior Court Judge Brenda Weaver made her ruling and granted bond for Michael Chase Havard age 20 and Kevin Jack Chamaty age 20, both of whom have been charged in connection with the murder and Justin McKinney and assault of Anna Franklin.

The terms of the bond are strict with both men being required constant supervision and a host of stipulations that if not followed will result in immediate arrest.

The courtroom was packed in Pickens County as the two young men each had lawyers present their case for being allowed bond.

Appalachian Judicial Circuit District Attorney B. Alison Sosebee recounted the events that led to the arrest of Havard and Chamaty in a written statement given by Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI) Special Agent Jamie Abercrombie.

Fannin County, Georgia, Blue Ridge, Murder, 15 Year Old, 16 Year Old, Blake Dickey, Hunter Hill, Appalachian Judicial Circuit Superior Court, Judge, Brenda Weaver, Public Defender, Clint Hooker, Attorney, David Farnham, District Attorney, B. Alison Sosebee, Justin McKinney, Anna Franklin, GBI, Georgia Bureau of Investigation, Fannin County Sheriff's Office, Gainesville Regional Youth Detention Center, Elbert Shaw Regional Youth Detention Center, Fannin Regional Hospital, Drugs, Dalton Manuel, Lakota Cloer, Special Agent, Jamie Abercrombie, Dustin Hamby, Captain, Justin Turner, Investigator, John Arp, Chief Deputy, Major Keith Bosen, Elrod Lane, Maple Grove Road, Chase Havard, Kevin Chamaty, Lakota Cloer, Levi Manuel, 20 year old, bond, $50,000, Brian Steel

Defense Attorney Brian Steel presents the case for bond to be granted for his client Kevin Jack Chamaty.

According to Abercrombie both men knew of the conspiracy to murder and rob McKinney and aided in the act by providing gas and rides the night of the incident on Dec. 4, 2018 and also helped in disposing of one of the weapons used in the crime.

The GBI learned of the young men’s involvement after Havard voluntarily came forward and spoke with investigators about his knowledge and the roles that he and Chamaty played in the events surrounding the case.

Chris Hyde, Chamaty’s stepfather, was first to take the stand. Questioned by Defense Attorney Brian Steel, Hyde was firm in his belief that if granted bond Chamaty would return to court to face trial: “I believe 100 percent he would return, without hesitation.”

While Hyde is no longer married to Chamaty’s mother, Christy Hyde, Christy still resides in the home with Hyde and is currently serving 15 years probation for a methamphetamine and weapons charge in 2015. It was pointed out that Chamaty’s mother is serving under the First Time Offenders Act.

Gerald Patterson, who resides with Chamaty’s grandmother Rachel Newman, also took the stand to testify on behalf of Chamaty receiving bond.

Patterson who has resided with Newman for approximately 5 years, spoke of his belief that Chamaty does not pose a threat to the community, and like Hyde was willing to “put up his wealth” as a guarantee.

Sosebee took the court off guard as she questioned Patterson: “Is this the same Ms. Newman (Chamaty’s grandmother) that was convicted in 1990 of voluntary manslaughter for the shooting death of her ex husband?”

“Yes ma’am it is,” Patterson replied to Sosebee’s question.

Chamaty, himself, does have a prior record with law enforcement, but the nature of his charges were never fully disclosed in court. Despite Chamaty having a family with a history of run ins with the law, many supporters were present for the young man.

Fannin County, Georgia, Blue Ridge, Murder, 15 Year Old, 16 Year Old, Blake Dickey, Hunter Hill, Appalachian Judicial Circuit Superior Court, Judge, Brenda Weaver, Public Defender, Clint Hooker, Attorney, David Farnham, District Attorney, B. Alison Sosebee, Justin McKinney, Anna Franklin, GBI, Georgia Bureau of Investigation, Fannin County Sheriff's Office, Gainesville Regional Youth Detention Center, Elbert Shaw Regional Youth Detention Center, Fannin Regional Hospital, Drugs, Dalton Manuel, Lakota Cloer, Special Agent, Jamie Abercrombie, Dustin Hamby, Captain, Justin Turner, Investigator, John Arp, Chief Deputy, Major Keith Bosen, Elrod Lane, Maple Grove Road, Chase Havard, Kevin Chamaty, Lakota Cloer, Levi Manuel, 20 year old, bond, $50,000, Brian Steel

The gallery stood to show their support of Chamaty and Havard.

After testimony from Hyde and Patterson, neither of whom have criminal backgrounds, Defense Attorney Steel turned to the courtroom gallery and asked those there to support Chamaty to please stand: “If you would do me a courtesy, if you would please stand in your place if you have come here today to support bond being granted for Mr. Chamaty.”

Approximately 30 people rose and remained standing as they testified their belief that Chamaty would in fact return to court and does not pose a threat to the community. Chamaty became visibly emotional during this phase.

“Nobody is in any way diminishing the loss of life for any person or living creature, but here we stand before the court in a position where Mr. Chamaty is cloaked with the presumption of innocence,” Steel concluded his case and pointed to the fact that Chamaty had followed a legal process in dealing with this case thus far and had voluntarily turned himself in.

Sosebee argued for the court to deny bond questioning why a 20 year old would be living with a 16 year old (Lakota Cloer : co-defendant in the case) and pointing to lack of accountability by the family prior to the incident.

“There are several juveniles in this court right now,” Sosebee said explaining that Chamaty’s pattern of behavior was likely not to change. “As a matter of fact we have the sister of Lakota Cloer who present in the gallery now, here in support of Mr. Chamaty. The connections, the continuation that Mr. Chamaty has with the witnesses in this case have not ceased.”

Sosebee added that while Chamaty had voluntarily turned himself, he had also “voluntarily facilitated the commission of those acts” in the crimes he is alleged to have participated in on Dec. 4.

Ultimately, Weaver granted bond set at $50,000. Along with this bond, Chamaty must be under constant supervision from Mr. Hyde including going to work.

“Mr. Hyde now has a shadow on him,” Weaver said of her ruling, “I am putting the burden on Mr. Hyde.”

Chamaty will be under house arrest and only allowed to leave with Mr. Hyde for work, church, medical or legal appointments. Chamaty will also be subjected to random drug testing in which he must call every morning to find out if he will be tested that day.

No contact with victims or co-defendants including co-defendant’s families will be allowed, and a curfew of 8 p.m. is set in place. Both Hyde and Patterson put up their personal property to insure the bond.

Fannin County, Georgia, Blue Ridge, Murder, 15 Year Old, 16 Year Old, Blake Dickey, Hunter Hill, Appalachian Judicial Circuit Superior Court, Judge, Brenda Weaver, Public Defender, Clint Hooker, Attorney, David Farnham, District Attorney, B. Alison Sosebee, Justin McKinney, Anna Franklin, GBI, Georgia Bureau of Investigation, Fannin County Sheriff's Office, Gainesville Regional Youth Detention Center, Elbert Shaw Regional Youth Detention Center, Fannin Regional Hospital, Drugs, Dalton Manuel, Lakota Cloer, Special Agent, Jamie Abercrombie, Dustin Hamby, Captain, Justin Turner, Investigator, John Arp, Chief Deputy, Major Keith Bosen, Elrod Lane, Maple Grove Road, Chase Havard, Kevin Chamaty, Lakota Cloer, Levi Manuel, 20 year old, bond, $50,000, Brian Steel

Havard and Chamaty sit with their attorneys awaiting Weaver’s decision to grant bond.

Havard’s terms of bond were very similar to the parameters set in place by Weaver for Chamaty’s bond.

Havard’s father, Chris Havard, spoke on his son’s behalf. He explained that his son had contacted him regarding the events that took place on Dec. 4 and that he had advised his son to go to the police in which Havard did almost immediately.

Havard, after speaking with investigators, then went to stay with his father who resides in Raleigh, Nc. According to Chris Havard, “I decided to pick him up and bring him to Raleigh.”

When the young man was informed of a warrant out for his arrest, Chris Havard made arrangements for his son to voluntarily turn himself in: “I personally drove him there (back to Fannin County).”

Havard’s father explained that while he would like for his son to return with him to North Carolina if granted bond, he understood that that might not be possible and had made arrangements for his son to live with his grandmother in Ellijay, Ga.

Diane Conway, Havard’s grandmother took the stand to confirm that she would take responsibility upon Havard’s release.

Conway admitted to being very upset by the events that have taken place but still would do anything to help her grandson: “I believe in him.”

Despite her belief in her grandson, she also has a firm belief in the law and when questioned whether she understood that if Havard violated any of the terms of the bond that he would be placed under custody she nodded and replied, “I would report him,” and added “He’s just going to have to go with me wherever I go. I have no problem with it.”

Fannin County, Georgia, Blue Ridge, Murder, 15 Year Old, 16 Year Old, Blake Dickey, Hunter Hill, Appalachian Judicial Circuit Superior Court, Judge, Brenda Weaver, Public Defender, Clint Hooker, Attorney, David Farnham, District Attorney, B. Alison Sosebee, Justin McKinney, Anna Franklin, GBI, Georgia Bureau of Investigation, Fannin County Sheriff's Office, Gainesville Regional Youth Detention Center, Elbert Shaw Regional Youth Detention Center, Fannin Regional Hospital, Drugs, Dalton Manuel, Lakota Cloer, Special Agent, Jamie Abercrombie, Dustin Hamby, Captain, Justin Turner, Investigator, John Arp, Chief Deputy, Major Keith Bosen, Elrod Lane, Maple Grove Road, Chase Havard, Kevin Chamaty, Lakota Cloer, Levi Manuel, 20 year old, bond, $50,000, Brian Steel

Judge Weaver expressed her thoughts on the responsibility of all involved in the case.

“If he’s to work, I don’t know how I would do that. I would just have to keep him at home with me,” Conway did express concern about being unable to supervise him on a job.

The court handed down the same stipulations of bond that were set forth for Chamaty with the exception that the bond could be amended if Havard gained employment and at a minimum would be required to where an electronic monitoring device while at work.

Both Conway and Chris Havard put up personal property to insure Havard’s bond. All insurances by both families will need to be approved by the Fannin County Sheriff’s Office prior to release.

The bond issued will also cover any further charges that might be handed down by a Grand Jury.

Judge Weaver shared her thoughts on the circumstances surrounding the McKinney murder case: “Frankly, I’m just not real happy with the parents or grandparents of any of these children. In every one of these defendants, these children were basically let go their entire life. Which we don’t do that as parents.”

“None of this should have ever occurred because somebody should have known where these kids were,” Weaver continued to address the court, “That’s not how you raise children. I think every bit of this could have been prevented if the parents were just exercising what they should be doing as parents to begin with, which is knowing where there children are on a school night at 1 o’clock in the morning.”

All suspects are expected to face a Grand Jury soon in Fannin County and move forward to trial.

You can read more about the McKinney Murder Case by following the links below:

Fatal Shooting in Fannin County
Details Emerge Surrounding Murder Case in Fannin County
Two More Arrested in McKinney Murder Case
McKinney Murder. What Happened That Night. FYN Exclusive Interview With Survivor Anna Franklin
“Pop and Rob”: McKinney Murder Motive Revealed By Prosecution
Bond Denied for Accused McKinney Killer
40 Years To Serve 15: Cloer Accepts Plea Deal in McKinney Murder Case
Two Adults Arrested in McKinney Murder Case

Fetch Your News is a hyper local news outlet that attracts more than 300,000 page views and 3.5 million impressions per month in Dawson, Lumpkin, White, Fannin, Gilmer, Pickens, Union, Towns and Murray counties as well as Cherokee County in N.C. FYNTV attracts approximately 15,000 viewers per week and reaches between 15,000 to 60,000 per week on our Facebook page. For the most effective, least expensive local advertising, call 706-276-6397 or email us at advertise@FetchYourNews.com

Author

Natalie Kissel

Natalie@FetchYourNews.com

Two adults have now been arrested in McKinney Murder Case

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Blue Ridge, Ga. – Two more have been arrested in the McKinney murder case.


Twenty year old Michael Chase Havard and twenty year old Kevin Jack Chamaty. Both individuals are being charged with murder.


Attention was first drawn to Havard and Chamaty when Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI) Special Agent Jamie Abercrombie testified at an initial appearance and bond hearing for the juveniles also charged in the case.

(Left to Right) Kevin Jack Chamaty (Age :20) and Micheal Chase Havard (Age :20) have been charged in connection with the murder of Justin McKinney.


According to Abercrombie another individual came forward on night of Wednesday Dec. 5, 2018. Havard voluntarily arrived at the Fannin County Sheriff’s Office and told staff that he had information regarding the McKinney murder.


Abercrombie said, “Havard provided a written statement.” The Special Agent also told about how Havard shed light onto the shooter of Franklin.


Havard was visiting a friend, Kevin Chamaty, who resided at Lakota Cloer’s residence on Dec. 3. Cloer who had been charged in the McKinney murder accepted a plea deal in which he will have to serve 15 years behind bars.


It was during this visit that Havard recalled Hunter Hill, Blake Dickey, both of which have been charged with the murder of Justin McKinney and assault of Anna Franklin, along with Cloer and another individual, 15 year old Levi Manuel, were discussing the plans to “pop and rob” McKinney.


According to the interview with Havard, Hill said that the four were “going to rob someone who had marijuana and pills” and asked Havard if he wanted in. Hill also told Havard that they were going to shoot everyone there and take whatever they have.


Havard declined and left with friend Chamaty to go to Walmart. Chamaty received a call later that night in the early morning hours of Dec. 4 from Cloer. Cloer stated that he was on Maple Grove Road and was in need of gas.


Havard and Chamaty drove to meet Cloer and gave him gas for his truck. Cloer was by himself and told Havard that he had dropped off Hill, Dickey and Manuel on Elrod Lane.


Having not heard from Manuel, Havard and Cloer went to look for the three. Chamaty parked at a church and waited for Havard to return.


As Havard walked down Elrod Lane, he says that he saw a light and heard “it’s me” in a voice that he recognized as Manuel.


Once back to Cloer’s truck the juveniles, along with Havard, met Chamaty and proceeded back to the Cloer residence.


“Mr. Hill had made statements that everyone was dead,” Abercrombie recalled Havard’s testimony. Havard also stated that Manuel made comments that he had unloaded a clip into the girl and that Hill, who was last out of the residence, stated that he had finished Franklin off and killed Donald Majors, a third resident who was present at the Franklin home where McKinney had been murdered.


The boys at this point believed that everyone in the home was deceased.
Havard stated that Manuel was the one who had the .25 caliber handgun, and admitted that he had advised Cloer to dispose of the weapon.


Cloer attempted to scratch off the serial numbers on the handgun before getting rid of the weapon. Chamaty then drove Havard and Cloer to the “cliffs at Nottely Lake” where Cloer threw the gun into the water.


Havard later took FCSO Investigator John Arp and GBI Special Agent Abercrombie to Nottely Lake and showed where the handgun had been thrown. With the help of divers the gun was recovered.


FetchYourNews will keep you up-to-date as further details emerge surrounding the McKinney Murder Case.

Fetch Your News is a hyper local news outlet that attracts more than 300,000 page views and 3.5 million impressions per month in Dawson, Lumpkin, White, Fannin, Gilmer, Pickens, Union, Towns and Murray counties as well as Cherokee County in N.C. FYNTV attracts approximately 15,000 viewers per week and reaches between 15,000 to 60,000 per week on our Facebook page. For the most effective, least expensive local advertising, call 706-276-6397 or email us at advertise@FetchYourNews.com

Author

Natalie Kissel

Natalie@FetchYourNews.com

40 years to serve 15: Cloer accepts plea deal in McKinney murder case

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Blue Ridge, Ga. – There was a noticeable absence at the preliminary hearing that was held regarding the death of Justin McKinney and the deadly assault of Anna Franklin.

In the courtroom were Blake Dickey (also known as Blake Dye), Hunter Hill, and attorney Bruce Harvey who spoke on behalf of his client Levi Manuel. All three boys have been accused in the shooting death of McKinney that took place on Dec. 4, 2018.

Not in the courtroom during this initial phase was the fourth juvenile accused in the case, Lakota Cloer, and while his attorney Charles Fulcher was present, unlike Harvey, he did not speak to his client’s absence.

After bond was denied in the case of accused shooter Blake Dickey, the courtroom cleared, and Lakota Cloer was brought in. Cloer’s family, along with family members of Justin McKinney, watched as Cloer plead guilty to lesser charges. Emotions were high on both sides.

Appalachian Judicial Circuit District Attorney B. Alison Sosebee spoke first, “We have reached a negotiated plea offer. This is a 3 count felony accusation.”

Fannin County, Georgia, Blue Ridge, Murder, 15 Year Old, 16 Year Old, Blake Dickey, Hunter Hill, Appalachian Judicial Circuit Superior Court, Judge, Brenda Weaver, Public Defender, Clint Hooker, Attorney, David Farnham, District Attorney, B. Alison Sosebee, Justin McKinney, Anna Franklin, GBI, Georgia Bureau of Investigation, Fannin County Sheriff's Office, Gainesville Regional Youth Detention Center, Elbert Shaw Regional Youth Detention Center, Fannin Regional Hospital, Drugs, Dalton Manuel, Lakota Cloer, Special Agent, Jamie Abercrombie, Dustin Hamby, Captain, Justin Turner, Investigator, John Arp, Chief Deputy, Major Keith Bosen, Elrod Lane, Maple Grove Road, Chase Havard, Kevin Shamaty, Lakota Cloer, Levi Manuel, Bruce Harvey

16 year old Lakota Cloer was arrested in Dec. 2018 for his role in the McKinney murder.

Sosebee explained that family members of the victims had been notified of this deal, and that there had been extensive discussions with defense attorney Fulcher.

The new charges that were agreed upon as part of this arrangement are:

1 Count Aggravated Assault : This charge is in relation to victim Justin McKinney. Cloer is being charged in aiding and abetting in this crime, as well as having knowledge of the crime.

1 County Robbery by Intimidation: This charge is in relation to the motive that ultimately ended in the death of McKinney and the serious injury of Franklin. As with the other charges this applies to Cloer since he engaged in discussion and planning of the crime. Along with aiding and abetting Cloer also admits to providing a gun to co-defendant Levi Manuel.

1 Count Aggravated Assault: This charge is in relation to victim Anna Franklin. Cloer admits guilt to intentionally aiding and abetting in this crime that involved the use of a deadly weapon.

By reaching a plea bargain, Cloer waived several rights including that to have a trial by jury and for his case to be seen in front of a grand jury.

It was revealed during this hearing that Cloer had previously been diagnosed with bipolar disorder and had been and is currently on medication to combat symptoms. Despite this diagnosis no competency or psychological testing was performed to evaluate Cloer’s state of mind.

Fulcher having spoke with his client, Cloer, on many occasions felt that he was competent to make decisions and said to the court: “I don’t have any concerns whatsoever about his competency. He understands the consequences of the decisions that he makes today.”

Appalachian Judicial District Chief Superior Court Judge Brenda Weaver asked Cloer a series of questions to satisfy the court of Cloer’s competency and to have a record of his replies.

Weaver also questioned Cloer’s mother, Amanda McGaha, about her feelings on her son’s mental state and if she felt Cloer understood what was happening in the courtroom. McGaha replied that she was confident that her son understood the proceedings now that he was on proper medication.

Cloer was able to reply clearly to each question asked by Judge Weaver which allowed the proceedings to move forward.

Weaver explained that sentencing for his plea would take place that day, but that a restitution hearing would be scheduled at a later date. A restitution hearing will determine what, if any, payments Cloer will have to pay to the victims for the harm caused by his wrongful acts.

After thoroughly explaining what a plea deal means and giving a detailed account of what rights Cloer would be waiving by pleading guilty and accepting the charges, Weaver asked Cloer, “Has anyone used any force, threat, pressure, or intimidation that caused you to enter this plea?”

Cloer replied, “No, you honor.”

Fannin County, Georgia, Blue Ridge, Murder, 15 Year Old, 16 Year Old, Blake Dickey, Hunter Hill, Appalachian Judicial Circuit Superior Court, Judge, Brenda Weaver, Public Defender, Clint Hooker, Attorney, David Farnham, District Attorney, B. Alison Sosebee, Justin McKinney, Anna Franklin, GBI, Georgia Bureau of Investigation, Fannin County Sheriff's Office, Gainesville Regional Youth Detention Center, Elbert Shaw Regional Youth Detention Center, Fannin Regional Hospital, Drugs, Dalton Manuel, Lakota Cloer, Special Agent, Jamie Abercrombie, Dustin Hamby, Captain, Justin Turner, Investigator, John Arp, Chief Deputy, Major Keith Bosen, Elrod Lane, Maple Grove Road, Chase Havard, Kevin Shamaty, Lakota Cloer, Levi Manuel, Bruce Harvey

Cloer sets alongside accused Levi Manuel at a first appearance in Fannin County.

With that the sentence was handed down.

For the first Count of Aggravated Assault in relation to Justin McKinney, Cloer is sentence to 20 years having to serve 15 of those years in the Georgia State Prison System.

The second Count of Robbery by Intimidation will have Cloer serving 10 years in the Georgia Prison System. This sentence is to run concurrent with the sentencing from Count One.

Lastly, Cloer was sentenced to 20 years of probation for the Aggravated Assault of Anna Franklin. This sentence is to run consecutively with the sentencing from Count One.

Overall, Cloer received a 40 year sentence, 15 of those years to be served in prison with the remaining 25 years to be served on probation.

A victim impact statement prepared by McKinney’s mother, Debra McKinney Bignardi, was read by District Attorney Sosebee.

According to this statement, at the time of McKinney’s murder the family was also dealing with the impending loss of one of McKinney’s nephews “who spent his last days on Earth mourning the loss of his uncle”.

Bignardi was left wondering why. Why the death of her son, why if he had done something wrong that the boys did not feel that he too deserved a fair trial as they were getting.

She noted 6 families were victims of this crime, and that by taking the life of her son, Justin McKinney, that the boys had also in a sense taken their own lives, and that all the families are left to mourn the future.

Bignardi pleaded that the boys be able to find programs while in prison to provide some sort of rehabilitation: “Our hope is that when these young men are released from prison they are not worse off than when they went in.”

After the emotional victim impact statement was read, Judge Weaver spoke to the court, “It is never easy to sentence young people.”

“This is a tragedy in every sense of the word,” Weaver went on and expressed hope that others will learn from this. Weaver stated that she hopes for youth to recognize and stay away from activities that can lead to criminal behavior, and that parents will be more involved in their children’s lives, knowing who they are with and knowing where they are.

Weaver concluded the hearing by saying, “My heart goes out to all of the individuals involved in this case.”

As court was recessed Cloer was allowed to briefly speak to his family. The group shared a very emotional goodbye before Cloer was escorted out of the Fannin County courtroom to begin his sentence for his part in the McKinney murder case.

You can read more about the McKinney Murder Case by following the links below:

Fatal Shooting in Fannin County

Details Emerge Surrounding Murder Case in Fannin County

Two More Arrested in McKinney Murder Case

McKinney Murder. What Happened That Night. FYN Exclusive Interview With Survivor Anna Franklin

“Pop and Rob”: McKinney Murder Motive Revealed By Prosecution

Bond Denied for Accused McKinney Killer

 

Fetch Your News is a hyper local news outlet that attracts more than 300,000 page views and 3.5 million impressions per month in Dawson, Lumpkin, White, Fannin, Gilmer, Pickens, Union, Towns and Murray counties as well as Cherokee County in N.C. FYNTV attracts approximately 15,000 viewers per week and reaches between 15,000 to 60,000 per week on our Facebook page. For the most effective, least expensive local advertising, call 706-276-6397 or email us at advertise@FetchYourNews.com

Author

Natalie Kissel

Natalie@FetchYourNews.com

Bond denied for accused McKinney killer

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Blue Ridge, Ga. – Only one of the four accused in the McKinney murder case sought bond after the preliminary hearing took place in a Fannin County Courtroom.

Appalachian Judicial Circuit Superior Court Judge Brenda Weaver presided over the case and as the preliminary hearing came to a close stated, “The Court does find that probable cause has been established.”

The State had met their burden of proof in establishing a case against the boys being charged with Malice Murder, Felony Murder, Aggravated Assault, and Aggravated Battery. Now the burden of proof fell upon the defense to satisfy reasoning for letting any of the boys out on bond.

Fifteen year old Blake Dickey (also known as Blake Dye) sat alongside his attorney David Farnham as the court began the bond hearing.

Farnham argued that his client, Dickey, should be considered for release, and did in fact satisfy all the factors required by state law in Georgia for this consideration.

According to Farnham, Dickey had no prior convictions and had never been involved in anything violent in his life. If released Dickey did not pose a threat to the community and was not a risk for intimidation of any witnesses.

Farnham went on that if the court granted bond, Dickey would return to school where he would be supervised by a panel of teachers and that Dickey would begin residing with his mother where he would be under constant supervision at home.

Lastly Farnham pointed out that both of Dickey’s parents reside in Fannin County and said, “”He’s not a flight risk, Judge. His entire family is here.”

Fannin County, Georgia, Blue Ridge, Murder, 15 Year Old, 16 Year Old, Blake Dickey, Hunter Hill, Appalachian Judicial Circuit Superior Court, Judge, Brenda Weaver, Public Defender, Clint Hooker, Attorney, David Farnham, District Attorney, B. Alison Sosebee, Justin McKinney, Anna Franklin, GBI, Georgia Bureau of Investigation, Fannin County Sheriff's Office, Gainesville Regional Youth Detention Center, Elbert Shaw Regional Youth Detention Center, Fannin Regional Hospital, Drugs, Dalton Manuel, Lakota Cloer, Special Agent, Jamie Abercrombie, Dustin Hamby, Captain, Justin Turner, Investigator, John Arp, Chief Deputy, Major Keith Bosen, Elrod Lane, Maple Grove Road, Chase Havard, Kevin Shamaty, Lakota Cloer, Levi Manuel, Bruce Harvey

Accused Blake Dickey (left) sits next to accused Hunter Hill at a previous hearing.

The Appalachian Judicial Circuit District Attorney, B. Alison Sosebee stepped in and presented her thoughts regarding the bonding of Dickey.

Sosebee pointed out that prior to the arrest Dickey was residing with the Hill family and added of the boys, “They were in an unsupervised environment, that clearly allows them to travel at will.”

While Farnham had stated his case for release, Sosebee argued that he had failed to present sufficient evidence backing his claims, which is required by Georgia law for cases of this nature: “there has been no evidence presented on behalf of the defendant in this case.”

After hearing both sides, Judge Weaver denied bond for Dickey agreeing that the burden of proof on the defense’s behalf had not been satisfied. Weaver added to this, “The issue of supervision has been in the Court’s mind during most of this hearing.”

Attorney Karen Shelley opted to not file a motion for a bond hearing at the time, leaving her client, accused 15 year old Hunter Hill to remain in a juvenile detention facility for the time being.

A third party in the group of juveniles accused, Levi Manuel, will have a preliminary hearing and possible bond hearing at a later date. This comes from Manuel recently switching his legal representation.

Attorney Bruce Harvey of Atlanta, Ga. will now represent Manuel in the McKinney murder trial. This move came as a surprise to the court and to Manuel’s previous council attorney Andrew Wehunt.

Judge Weaver noted that while she had received Harvey’s appearance filing that she did not see a withdraw from Wehunt, and thought that Wehunt might have been taken off guard by this move.

Harvey, the high profile Atlanta based attorney, has represented his fair share of clients in Manuel’s position and was already making moves in the courtroom as he asked for a delay in Manuel’s first appearance / bond hearing.

According to Harvey, Manuel’s previous council had filed a motion for a psychological and competency evaluation to find out if the boy was capable of standing trial. This evaluation was never completed and Harvey felt that moving forward without this information would not be in his or his client’s best interest.

Judge Weaver along with District Attorney Sosebee agreed to have this testing done and postpone the first appearance hearing. Manuel’s hearing has tentatively been moved to take place on Feb. 18, 2019.

You can read more on the McKinney Murder Case by following the links below:

Fatal Shooting in Fannin County

Details Emerge Surrounding Murder Case in Fannin County

Two More Arrested in McKinney Murder Case

McKinney Murder. What Happened That Night. FYN Exclusive Interview With Survivor Anna Franklin

“Pop and Rob”: McKinney Murder Motive Revealed By Prosecution

Fetch Your News is a hyper local news outlet that attracts more than 300,000 page views and 3.5 million impressions per month in Dawson, Lumpkin, White, Fannin, Gilmer, Pickens, Union, Towns and Murray counties as well as Cherokee County in N.C. FYNTV attracts approximately 15,000 viewers per week and reaches between 15,000 to 60,000 per week on our Facebook page. For the most effective, least expensive local advertising, call 706-276-6397 or email us at advertise@FetchYourNews.com

Author

Natalie Kissel

Natalie@FetchYourNews.com

“Pop and Rob”: McKinney murder motive revealed by prosecution

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Blue Ridge, Ga. – The prosecution painted a picture of what took place in the early morning hours of Dec. 4, 2018 that left one Fannin County resident, Justin McKinney, dead and another, Anna Franklin, seriously injured.

According to the state’s findings, the McKinney murder was not a case of revenge but rather a cold blooded, premeditated murder, in which the juveniles involved intended to “pop and rob” the victims.

Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI) Special Agent Jamie Abercrombie was assigned to the case when Captain Justin Turner of the Fannin County Sheriff’s Office (FCSO) contacted GBI for assistance with the murder.

Special Agent Abercrombie recalled listening to the 911 call placed by victim Anna Franklin the night of the murder.

“Hunter Hill and Blake Dickey were at her (Franklin’s) residence at the time of the shooting,” Abercrombie said recollecting Franklin’s initial call for help, “and that is how I first learned of Mr. Hill and Dickey.”

Fannin County, Georgia, Blue Ridge, Murder, 15 Year Old, 16 Year Old, Blake Dickey, Hunter Hill, Appalachian Judicial Circuit Superior Court, Judge, Brenda Weaver, Public Defender, Clint Hooker, Attorney, David Farnham, District Attorney, B. Alison Sosebee, Justin McKinney, Anna Franklin, GBI, Georgia Bureau of Investigation, Fannin County Sheriff's Office, Gainesville Regional Youth Detention Center, Elbert Shaw Regional Youth Detention Center, Fannin Regional Hospital, Drugs, Dalton Manuel, Lakota Cloer, Special Agent, Jamie Abercrombie, Dustin Hamby, Captain, Justin Turner, Investigator, John Arp, Chief Deputy, Major Keith Bosen, Elrod Lane, Maple Grove Road, Chase Havard, Kevin Shamaty, Lakota Cloer, Levi Manuel

Accused Hunter Hill (15) and Blake Dickey (15) set in a Fannin County Courtroom at a previous appearance.

Both Dickey and Hill knew the victim McKinney well and had been to his home on numerous occasions to buy marijuana.

The scene at 135 Elrod Lane in Morganton, Ga. was laid out, as Abercrombie described walking into the single-wide trailer. The kitchen and living room had an open floor plan and there was a bedroom located on either side of this main area.

After walking up the ramp that led to the front door, Abercrombie said of what she saw when she entered the home, “Mr. McKinney was deceased in the floor of the kitchen area and the wood-stove area.”

There was a single spent 410 shotgun shell located at the scene, and this was the weapon used on McKinney. According to Abercrombie, “He had been shot in the back of the head.”

Franklin who had already been taken to the hospital had been shot through the arm, which she had used to shield her face during the attack, and the bullet, unable to be removed, remains in her neck.

Two .25 caliber shell casings were found at the crime scene. These belonged to the weapon used to attack Anna Franklin.

Abercrombie later learned that a third resident of the home had been present the night of the shooting. Donald Majors was asleep in the second bedroom when the shooting occurred, but having drank heavily before retiring Majors did not even know a shooting had occurred.

“They (FCSO) woke him up. He was asleep in his room and law enforcement woke him up,” Abercrombie told the story of Majors being unable to provide any details of the night during her interview process.

Abercrombie, along with GBI Special Agent Dustin Hamby, located both Dickey and Hill at Fannin County High School the next day, and by coordinating with school staff were able to apprehend the two fifteen year olds in the principal’s office and take them in for questioning.

“He was not truthful with me in the beginning,” Abercrombie said of her interview with Dickey.

After a short time Dickey did tell his story of the night and admitted that he had been the one to kill McKinney with the shotgun. Dickey stated to Abercrombie that they had planned it out and that they had planned to shoot both McKinney and Franklin.

Dickey did claim that the killing was done out of revenge. According to Dickey, McKinney had been selling Hill’s older brother, Logan Hill, methamphetamine (meth) and that Logan had become severely addicted and was injecting the drug.

This addiction had left Logan hospitalized, and McKinney was the one who provided the meth. Dickey was the only juvenile involved that Abercrombie heard this motive from at that time.

Hill who was interviewed by Special Agent Hamby backed up Dickey’s recollection of events, and both boys were arrested on the spot.

Fannin County, Georgia, Blue Ridge, Murder, 15 Year Old, 16 Year Old, Blake Dickey, Hunter Hill, Appalachian Judicial Circuit Superior Court, Judge, Brenda Weaver, Public Defender, Clint Hooker, Attorney, David Farnham, District Attorney, B. Alison Sosebee, Justin McKinney, Anna Franklin, GBI, Georgia Bureau of Investigation, Fannin County Sheriff's Office, Gainesville Regional Youth Detention Center, Elbert Shaw Regional Youth Detention Center, Fannin Regional Hospital, Drugs, Dalton Manuel, Lakota Cloer, Special Agent, Jamie Abercrombie, Dustin Hamby, Captain, Justin Turner, Investigator, John Arp, Chief Deputy, Major Keith Bosen, Elrod Lane, Maple Grove Road, Chase Havard, Kevin Shamaty, Lakota Cloer, Levi Manuel

District Attorney B. Alison Sosebee at a previous appearance with defendant Lakota Cloer (16) present.

When left alone with FCSO Chief Deputy, Major Keith Bosen, Hill is noted as claiming if given the chance, he would do it again.

Dickey also mentioned that 16 year old Lakota Cloer had driven them to the residence on Elrod Lane. This was the first mention of someone other than Dickey and Hill being involved, but more would come forward that would implicate Cloer as well.

Another individual came forward on night of Wednesday Dec. 5, 2018. Chase Havard voluntarily arrived at the Fannin County Sheriff’s Office and told staff that he had information regarding the McKinney murder.

Abercrombie said, “Havard provided a written statement.” The Special Agent also told about how Havard shed light onto the shooter of Franklin.
Havard was visiting a friend, Kevin Shamaty, who resided at the Cloer residence on Dec. 3. It was during this visit that Havard recalled Hill, Dickey, Cloer and another individual, 15 year old Levi Manuel, were discussing the plans to “pop and rob” McKinney.

According to the interview with Havard, Hill said that the four were “going to rob someone who had marijuana and pills” and asked Havard if he wanted in. Hill also told Havard that they were going to shoot everyone there and take whatever they have.

Havard declined and left with friend Shamaty to go to Walmart. Shamaty received a call later that night in the early morning hours of Dec. 4 from Cloer. Cloer stated that he was on Maple Grove Road and was in need of gas.

Havard and Shamaty drove to meet Cloer and gave him gas for his truck. Cloer was by himself and told Havard that he had dropped off Hill, Dickey and Manuel on Elrod Lane.

Having not heard from Manuel, Havard and Cloer went to look for the three. Shamaty parked at a church and waited for Havard to return.

As Havard walked down Elrod Lane, he says that he saw a light and heard “it’s me” in a voice that he recognized as Manuel.

Once back to Cloer’s truck the juveniles, along with Havard, met Shamaty and proceeded back to the Cloer residence.

“Mr. Hill had made statements that everyone was dead,” Abercrombie recalled Havard’s testimony. Havard also stated that Manuel made comments that he had unloaded a clip into the girl and that Hill, who was last out of the residence, stated that he had finished Franklin off and killed Majors.
The boys at this point believed that everyone in the home was deceased.

Havard stated that Manuel was the one who had the .25 caliber handgun, and admitted that he had advised Cloer to dispose of the weapon.

Cloer attempted to scratch off the serial numbers on the handgun before getting rid of the weapon. Shamaty then drove Havard and Cloer to the “cliffs at Nottely Lake” where Cloer threw the gun into the water.

Havard later took FCSO Investigator John Arp and GBI Special Agent Abercrombie to Nottely Lake and showed where the handgun had been thrown. With the help of divers the gun was recovered.

The shotgun was also recovered. Manuel who was residing at the Cloer residence at the time of the murder, gave investigators the gun which had been hidden between the mattresses in his bedroom.

Fannin County, Georgia, Blue Ridge, Murder, 15 Year Old, 16 Year Old, Blake Dickey, Hunter Hill, Appalachian Judicial Circuit Superior Court, Judge, Brenda Weaver, Public Defender, Clint Hooker, Attorney, David Farnham, District Attorney, B. Alison Sosebee, Justin McKinney, Anna Franklin, GBI, Georgia Bureau of Investigation, Fannin County Sheriff's Office, Gainesville Regional Youth Detention Center, Elbert Shaw Regional Youth Detention Center, Fannin Regional Hospital, Drugs, Dalton Manuel, Lakota Cloer, Special Agent, Jamie Abercrombie, Dustin Hamby, Captain, Justin Turner, Investigator, John Arp, Chief Deputy, Major Keith Bosen, Elrod Lane, Maple Grove Road, Chase Havard, Kevin Shamaty, Lakota Cloer, Levi Manuel

Accused Levi Manuel (15) and Lakota Cloer (16) at previous hearing regarding McKinney murder case.

Manuel was later interviewed and told his side of the events that night. He claimed to not know Justin McKinney.

Stepping outside briefly after the three boys entered the home, Manuel said that he heard a gunshot, and rushed back inside. Once inside he saw Dickey standing over McKinney’s body.

At this point Manuel says that he aimed his gun above Anna Franklin and shot. Manuel admits to having shot the gun more than once. According to Abercrombie, Manuel claims “they got scared and ran out and forgot to take anything”.

Much like the Manuel and Havard account, Cloer paints Hill as the mastermind behind the crime, saying that Hill presented the entire idea and said that he knew someone they could “pop and rob”.

According to Abercrombie, Cloer also stated that “Mr. Dickey follows whatever Mr. Hill does”.

“Mr. Cloer knew that pop meant to kill and Mr. Hill made statements they would kill him (McKinney) and take what he had,” Abercrombie told of Cloer’s testimony and added that the boys had intended to steal marijuana and pills.

Cloer says that Hill never mentioned his brother, Logan Hill, never mentioned revenge and did not show any anger about McKinney.

According to Abercrombie, “Mr. Cloer stated that Mr.Hill stated that his motive was specifically to rob McKinney and kill him.”

Cloer admitted to his involvement saying that he did give Manuel the handgun that he later tried to alter and dispose of, and that he was also the driver that dropped the boys off.

After the testimony of GBI Special Agent Abercrombie was complete, Appalachian Judicial Circuit Superior Court Judge Brenda Weaver made the ruling to move forward with the charges against Hill, Dickey, Cloer and Manuel: “The Court does find that probable cause has been established.”

The charges against the accused include Malice Murder, Felony Murder, Aggravated Assault, and Aggravated Battery.

A search warrant was obtained for the 135 Elrod Lane where the crime took place. Marijuana was the only illegal substance found at the home. The juveniles remain in custody awaiting trial.

 

You can read more about the McKinney murder case by following the links below:

Fatal Shooting in Fannin County

Details Emerge Surrounding Murder Case in Fannin County

Two More Arrested in McKinney Murder Case

McKinney Murder. What Happened That Night. FYN Exclusive Interview With Survivor Anna Franklin

 

Fetch Your News is a hyper local news outlet that attracts more than 300,000 page views and 3.5 million impressions per month in Dawson, Lumpkin, White, Fannin, Gilmer, Pickens, Union, Towns and Murray counties as well as Cherokee County in N.C. FYNTV attracts approximately 15,000 viewers per week and reaches between 15,000 to 60,000 per week on our Facebook page. For the most effective, least expensive local advertising, call 706-276-6397 or email us at advertise@FetchYourNews.com

Author

Natalie Kissel

Natalie@FetchYourNews.com

Additional charges filed in McKinney murder case

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Blue Ridge, Ga. – Additional charges will be faced in the murder of Justin McKinney and the assault of Anna Franklin.

Three of the 4 juvenile suspects charged in connection with the crimes that took place in the early morning hours of Dec. 4, 2018 appeared in Fannin County Superior Court on Monday, Jan. 7 for another first appearance hearing regarding new charges.

Fifteen year old Hunter Hill, 15 year old Dalton Manuel and 16 year old Lakota Cloer were all present with individual legal representation to hear the charges that they will now be facing.

Fannin County, Georgia, Blue Ridge, Murder, 15 Year Old, Blake Dickey, Hunter Hill, Appalachian Judicial Circuit Superior Court, Judge, Brenda Weaver, Public Defender, Clint Hooker, Attorney, David Farnham, District Attorney, B. Alison Sosebee, Justin McKinney, Anna Franklin, GBI, Georgia Bureau of Investigation, Fannin County Sheriff's Office, Gainesville Regional Youth Detention Center, Elbert Shaw Regional Youth Detention Center, Fannin Regional Hospital, Drugs, Dalton Manuel, Lakota Cloer, Karen Shelley

Accused LaKota Cloer and Dalton Manuel sit with legal representatives as new charges are read.

Fifteen year old Blake Dickey (AKA Blake Dye) was not present as his lawyer, Defense Attorney David Farnham, was out of state and unable to attend. Farnham waived his client’s right to this first appearance.

Originally Cloer’s attorney had filed a motion for the appearance to be a preliminary hearing as well as bond hearing. After discovery of the new charges, however, Cloer’s attorney opted to keep these motions filed but move the hearings to a later date.

Emotions were high in the courtroom as family members of the victims as well as the accused were present. Not present was alleged victim Anna Franklin.

“She (Franklin) was notified of the proceedings,” District Attorney B. Alison Sosebee said explaining the absence of Franklin to the court. “She is not present today. She did decline to appear.”

Appalachian Judicial Circuit Superior Court Judge Brenda Weaver told those attendance the reasoning for the day’s hearing, ” One of the purposes of a first appearance, of course, is to allow the defendants to know what they are being charged with.”

Weaver then proceeded to read the charges against the teens. In the first warrants served in Fannin County for the year of 2019 all four suspects will be facing the same charges “individually and as a party to the crime”. These charges include:

1. One count of malice murder
2. One count of felony murder
3. One count of aggravated assault
4. One count of aggravated battery

Felony murder entails a murder that is committed during the process of another felony. Having initially been charged with only malice murder, the added charge of felony murder came after charges concerning the aggravated assault and battery of Franklin were added.

Weaver gave detail into the additional charges stating that aggravated assault is “when said accused assaulted Anna Franklin with a deadly weapon” and that aggravated battery is due to the extent of harm Franklin had received “by rendering a member of her body, her left arm, useless.”

Franklin who was shot during the Dec. 4 altercation deflected the bullet by throwing up her arm in a defensive manner. The bullet entered and exited the arm before entering Franklin’s face and becoming lodged in the neck.

Fannin County, Georgia, Blue Ridge, Murder, 15 Year Old, Blake Dickey, Hunter Hill, Appalachian Judicial Circuit Superior Court, Judge, Brenda Weaver, Public Defender, Clint Hooker, Attorney, David Farnham, District Attorney, B. Alison Sosebee, Justin McKinney, Anna Franklin, GBI, Georgia Bureau of Investigation, Fannin County Sheriff's Office, Gainesville Regional Youth Detention Center, Elbert Shaw Regional Youth Detention Center, Fannin Regional Hospital, Drugs, Dalton Manuel, Lakota Cloer, Karen Shelley

Accused Hunter Hill listens to new charges in McKinney murder case.

In the state of Georgia malice murder means the intent to take a life without legal justification or mitigation. In this case the State does not need to prove a motive in order to obtain a conviction but instead will attempt to show that the person accused deliberately intended to take another person’s life.

Foreshadowing came to the future direction of the trial as Defense Attorney Karen Shelley, representing accused Hunter Hill, objected to media presence in the courtroom.

“I would ask the court to perhaps consider less media coverage because of the delicate nature,” Shelley presented her reason for objection, stating that the accused in this case are all juveniles and that media coverage could prematurely sway public opinion.

Ultimately, Sheley’s request that her client not be photographed or recorded was denied with Weaver stating that the hearing was “open to the public” and the media would not be providing information that was not readily available for anyone in attendance.

“There’s going to be a venue objection when we go to trial on this matter,” Shelley stated of Weaver’s ruling, “if the media is covering this case, which the community is already began to cover.”

The defendants were dismissed with Weaver stating of their rights that all accused “are presumed to be innocent until such time that they are found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.”

A Grand Jury is expected to convene on Feb.18, 2019. The motion for a preliminary hearing and bond hearing could take place before this date.

 

Additional Articles Related to McKinney Murder Trial:

Details emerge surrounding murder case in Fannin County

Fatal Shooting in Fannin County

Two more arrested in McKinney murder case

McKinney murder, what happened that night? FYN Exclusive interview with survivor Anna Franklin

 

Fetch Your News is a hyper local news outlet that attracts more than 300,000 page views and 3.5 million impressions per month in Dawson, Lumpkin, White, Fannin, Gilmer, Pickens, Union, Towns and Murray counties as well as Cherokee County in N.C. FYNTV attracts approximately 15,000 viewers per week and reaches between 15,000 to 60,000 per week on our Facebook page. For the most effective, least expensive local advertising, call 706-276-6397 or email us at advertise@FetchYourNews.com

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McKinney murder, what happened that night? FYN Exclusive interview with survivor Anna Franklin

Featured, News, Police & Government

Blue Ridge, Ga. – Shortly after midnight, in the early morning hours of Dec. 4 gunshots rang out at a home on Elrod Lane in Morganton, Ga. The shots resulted in the murder of 33 year old Justin McKinney and a critically wounded second victim, Anna Franklin.

Not many facts have been released regarding the McKinney murder case, but 4 juveniles have been arrested and charged with the crime.

Surprise came to Fannin County as the arrests were announced. Fifteen year old Blake Dickey (AKA Blake Dye), 15 year old Hunter Hill, 15 year old Dalton Manuel and 16 year old Lakota Cloer were detained. Citizens were shocked to learn that such crime would come from a group of teens.

Franklin sat down with FetchYourNews to discuss the events that took place that night and to dispel rumors surrounding the possible motive of the boys.

Franklin and McKinney were about to go to bed when the couple heard loud banging coming from their front door. According to Franklin, McKinney answered the door to find Blake Dickey and Hunter Hill asking to come in.

According to Franklin, Dickey and Hill had told the couple that they “had to jump out of someone’s car and run but they didn’t say who or why”.

Fannin County, Georgia, Blue Ridge, Murder, 15 Year Old, 16 Year Old, Blake Dickey, Hunter Hill, Appalachian Judicial Circuit Superior Court, Judge, Brenda Weaver, Public Defender, Clint Hooker, Attorney, David Farnham, District Attorney, B. Alison Sosebee, Justin McKinney, Anna Franklin, GBI, Georgia Bureau of Investigation, Fannin County Sheriff's Office, Gainesville Regional Youth Detention Center, Elbert Shaw Regional Youth Detention Center, Fannin Regional Hospital, Drugs, Dalton Manuel, Lakota Cloer

Four teens charged in the murder of Justin McKinney (Left – Right): Hunter Hill, Blake Dickey, Lakota Cloer, and Dalton Manuel

“I would have never expected them two to do anything like that,” Franklin said about the boys. “Hunter and Blake always seemed like calm, good kids to me, and it does not make sense.”

Franklin acknowledged that the couple knew Dickey and Hill, and that McKinney had been friends with the boys’ fathers for years.

“All the Hill brothers used to come over and help Justin with his animals. He had a lot of animals and they would help him feed them and clean their cages and everything,” Franklin said recalling the relationship with the Hill family and added about Dickey, “Blake had always been real quiet.”

Once the boys entered the home, Franklin says that their demeanor became calm, not as it had been just moments prior when the boys where found banging on the door.

For the next fifteen minutes the two boys and McKinney spoke. Franklin says she sat on a nearby loveseat but didn’t hear what the three were talking about because she was distracted by her phone.

“There was no argument or nothing,” Franklin spoke of the interaction, “If somebody had raised their voice I would have looked up and payed attention.”

McKinney got up at some point to tend the fire, and that is when Franklin heard the first gun shot. She thought at first it was a loud crackle in the fire, but as the second shot came she quickly realized it was gunfire.

“After the second shot I looked over towards him (McKinney) and he wasn’t where he was,” Franklin continued, “I didn’t know if they were going to shoot at me or not. I just covered my face because I was scared.”

Two more shots were fired at this point, and one of those shots struck Franklin. The bullet went through Franklin’s arm and entered her face, shattering her jaw and lodging in her neck.

Franklin spoke of the bullet that is unable to be removed from her neck, “What they told me when I was at the hospital, it will cause more damage if they do it.” The wound has caused Franklin to lose feeling in the bottom half of her face.

After being shot Franklin said that she heard Hill yell Dickey’s name and the two boys fled.

“I didn’t see who pulled the trigger. I didn’t have time to look,” Franklin didn’t lower her arm until the boys were gone. “I don’t know if they thought I was ok or not, but they aimed at both of our heads.”

After Franklin uncovered her face she says she jumped up and shut the front door and locked it. She then turned her attention to McKinney.

“Then I ran to Justin. His eyes were open but I knew he didn’t see me. I tried to stop the blood with my clothes but couldn’t. It was pooling around my feet,” Franklin became emotional as she spoke of McKinney. “I had to leave him to go call them (911) on the house phone. My mind was not accepting that he was gone.”

Fannin County, Georgia, Blue Ridge, Murder, 15 Year Old, 16 Year Old, Blake Dickey, Hunter Hill, Appalachian Judicial Circuit Superior Court, Judge, Brenda Weaver, Public Defender, Clint Hooker, Attorney, David Farnham, District Attorney, B. Alison Sosebee, Justin McKinney, Anna Franklin, GBI, Georgia Bureau of Investigation, Fannin County Sheriff's Office, Gainesville Regional Youth Detention Center, Elbert Shaw Regional Youth Detention Center, Fannin Regional Hospital, Drugs, Dalton Manuel, Lakota Cloer

Anna Franklin with Justin McKinney. Photo via Facebook.

Franklin said that she never saw the other two boys (Cloer and Manuel) that have been charged in the case nor did she see a vehicle at her home.
Rumors have spread surrounding this case regarding a motive that would lead four teens to conspire to murder. Drugs have been a common theme among these rumors. Franklin wanted to set the record straight.

“It’s not what everybody keeps talking about,” Franklin said of the gossip about McKinney, “He smoked pot. He had nothing to do with meth or coke (cocaine) or anything like that. He was very against it. What they’re saying about those drugs aren’t true. He was very against anything that would hurt somebody like that.”

Hearsay has also come about that McKinney sold Hill’s older brother drugs that had an adverse effect on the young man and that the murder was revenge. Franklin said on this speculation, “That’s ridiculous. His brother might have had something, but it was not from Justin.”

Franklin acknowledged that it is possible that the boys had planned on robbing McKinney of his marijuana that night, but says that she didn’t feel like they were there long enough to have taken anything and said of her own speculation of a possible motive, “That’s something I can’t figure out.”

Franklin, who had been with McKinney for the last six years, wants people to know of the man who was murdered, “He was everything to me. He made sure that I was ok. He had a very good heart.”

“What happened will be forever burned in my mind,” Franklin spoke with tear filled eyes as she recounted the events that unfolded in the early morning hours of Dec. 4.

Related Articles:

Details emerge surrounding murder case in Fannin County

Fatal Shooting in Fannin County

Two more arrested in McKinney murder case

 

 

Fetch Your News is a hyper local news outlet that attracts more than 300,000 page views and 3.5 million impressions per month in Dawson, Lumpkin, White, Fannin, Gilmer, Pickens, Union, Towns and Murray counties as well as Cherokee County in N.C. FYNTV attracts approximately 15,000 viewers per week and reaches between 15,000 to 60,000 per week on our Facebook page. For the most effective, least expensive local advertising, call 706-276-6397 or email us at advertise@FetchYourNews.com

Author

Natalie Kissel

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Two more arrested in McKinney murder case

Featured, News, Police & Government

Blue Ridge, Ga. – Two more arrests were made in connection with the murder of Justin McKinney.

Fifteen year old Dalton Levi Manuel and 16 year old Lakota Ricky Cloer were detained last night. According to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI):

On Thursday, December 6, 2018, two additional arrests were made in this case. Dalton Levi Manuel, 15, of Morganton, GA was arrested and charged with murder and Lakota Ricky Cloer, 16, of Morganton, GA was charged with party to the crime of murder. Both will be housed in regional youth detention centers.

Still dressed in civilian clothing to pair made their way into a Fannin County courtroom for an initial appearance today.

Appalachian Judicial Circuit Superior Court Judge Brenda Weaver presided over the hearing and opened the court by questioning, “Have the families of the alleged victims been notified of today’s hearing?”

“They have not your honor,” District Attorney B. Alison Sosebee replied giving explanation: “We are waiting on information from the investigative agency, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, to get that final contact information.”

Weaver individually read the warrants against the boys charging each with the crime of murder and informed them of their rights.

Cloer, the older of the pair, told the court that his family would be hiring an attorney to represent his case, while Manuel expressed uncertainty and opted for a Public Defender.

Public Defender Clint Hooker was present in the courtroom again today to advise the defendants on their rights. However, there is an ongoing conflict of interest with Hooker’s team defending the boys due to having represented at least one of the alleged victims in the past.

“I have asked the public defenders office to sit and be with you today to make sure that none of your rights are violated,” Judge Weaver explained the presence of the defense team on hand in the courtroom.

Family members of the defendants were present in the courtroom, and the mother of Cloer spoke up about her son before dismissal.

Fannin County, Georgia, Blue Ridge, Murder, 15 Year Old, Blake Dickey, Hunter Hill, Appalachian Judicial Circuit Superior Court, Judge, Brenda Weaver, Public Defender, Clint Hooker, Attorney, David Farnham, District Attorney, B. Alison Sosebee, Justin McKinney, Anna Franklin, GBI, Georgia Bureau of Investigation, Fannin County Sheriff's Office, Gainesville Regional Youth Detention Center, Elbert Shaw Regional Youth Detention Center, Fannin Regional Hospital, Drugs, Dalton Manuel, Lakota Cloer

(Left to Right) Lakota Ricky Cloer, age 16 and Dalton Levi Manuel, age15, of Morganton, GA was arrested and charged with the murder of Justin McKinney.

“Lakota has had death threats against him, at the Marietta youth detention center, so if we could request him to be sent to a different location,” Cloer’s mother spoke on her son’s behalf and clarified, “From other inmates. They told him that if he came back they were going to kill him.”

Sosebee offered to inform the proper parties of the threats that have been made and allow the detention center to take any action needed.

“He did let them know at the detention center and I don’t know what actions were taken, if any,” Cloer’s mother replied and added, “I just want my son safe.”

Weaver agreed with informing the detention center of the threats, and told Cloer’s mother that the wardens at the facility would be told directly.

“Do you know with the ongoing investigation will there be others who may need a first appearance Monday or Tuesday of next week? Do you know if anyone else might be arrested in this matter?” Judge Weaver questioned Sosebee before adjournment.

District Attorney Sosebee replied that she would not be able to answer that question with the investigation still ongoing.

More charges are expected to come in the case, including those related to a second victim, Anna Franklin, that was also shot in the early morning hours of Dec. 4.

 

Related Articles:

Details emerge surrounding murder case in Fannin County

Fatal shooting in Fannin County

 

 

Fetch Your News is a hyper local news outlet that attracts more than 300,000 page views and 3.5 million impressions per month in Dawson, Lumpkin, White, Fannin, Gilmer, Pickens, Union, Towns and Murray counties as well as Cherokee County in N.C. FYNTV attracts approximately 15,000 viewers per week and reaches between 15,000 to 60,000 per week on our Facebook page. For the most effective, least expensive local advertising, call 706-276-6397 or email us at advertise@FetchYourNews.com

Author

Natalie Kissel

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Details emerge surrounding murder case in Fannin County

Featured, News, Police & Government

Blue Ridge, Ga. – The two defendants recently arrested for the murder of 33 year old Justin McKinney on Tuesday, Dec. 4 made their first appearance in a Fannin County courtroom today.

Appalachian Judicial Circuit Superior Court Judge Brenda Weaver presided over this initial hearing to establish representation for the defendants as well as grant permission for two motions being made by Defense Attorney David Farnham.

Arrest warrant for Blake Dickey

Both of the 15 year old defendants made their way into the courtroom shackled and displaying a calm demeanor. Blake Dickey (AKA Blake Dye) had already obtained legal representation through Farnham, but co-defendant Hunter Hill opted for a Public Defender.

Public Defender Clint Hooker was present to represent defendant Hunter Hill.

“I believe our office does have a conflict as we have represented at least one of the victims,” Hooker stated of the ability of his office to represent Hill. Due to this conflict of interest Hooker was only present to answer questions for Hill, but Hill’s Public Defender for future hearings will be assigned at a later date.

The boys sat quietly as Weaver read the charges, and replied with a “yes” only when asked if they understood the charges against them. Currently both juveniles have been charged with felony murder.

According to a press release from the Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI), a 911 call came into Fannin County dispatch at approximately 12:50 a.m. the morning of Dec. 4. The caller, 35 year old Anna Franklin, indicated that she and a male victim, McKinney, had been shot.

When Fannin County deputies arrived to a home off of Elrod Lane, McKinney was deceased. Franklin was taken to a hospital with trauma care for treatment.

Sources have told FetchYourNews that McKinney had received a fatal gunshot wound to the head, and that Franklin was also shot at point blank range. She, however, deflected the shot by throwing up her arm in a defensive stance.

According to these sources, the bullet entered and exited the arm before entering Franklin’s face and becoming lodged in the neck.

While both juvenilles have been charged with felony murder relating to the death of McKinney, neither have been charged with the attempted murder of Franklin.

Weaver addressed a consent order that she had received via Dickey’s attorney Farnham : “One of the things that was emailed to me was a consent order signed by you (Farnham) on behalf of your client and Ms. Sosebee on behalf of the state requesting a motion and order for blood test examination.”

Arrest warrant for Hunter Hill

Debate arose as to whether this testing had already been done with Dickey claiming that blood had already been drawn. Through further discussion it was determined that the blood drawn at the Elbert Shaw Regional Youth Detention Center was for the purpose of medical screening.

Parties agreed to have the blood testing done on Dickey. District Attorney Alison B. Sosebee explained, “At this point in time the current arrangements would be after the first appearance here there will be a transport of Mr. Dickey, also known as Mr. Dye, back to the Dalton facility. Prior to him being transported to the Dalton facility he will be taken to Fannin Regional Hospital for that blood draw to occur.”

Questions arose for the need of this test since the incident occured several days ago. This led some to speculate that the testing’s purpose is to check for drug use by the defendant.

Drugs have been a common rumor circulating via social media regarding the motive of the young men to commit murder. While there has been no confirmation of drugs directly relating to the crime, it is confirmed that family members of the defendants as well as the alleged victims themselves have a history of run-ins with local law enforcement over drug related charges.

Family members were not present at the hearing today which led to Weaver question counsel: “Were the parents not invited to the hearing this morning?”

Weaver also questioned if family of the alleged victims had been notified of the hearing. With short notice being given prior to this hearing, it was discovered that not all parties had been contacted.

“In the future we really need to notify the parents if we hear anything about hearings,” Weaver spoke to defense and prosecution.

“I just want to put on the record that I was informed that my client was taken from school, handcuffed, and was brought down for interrogation at the sheriff’s department without counsel and without his mother’s knowledge or any custodial parents,” Dickey’s attorney, Farnham, stated before dismissal at the hearing. “I do not want any further interrogation of my client unless counsel is present.”

Fannin County, Georgia, Blue Ridge, Murder, 15 Year Old, Blake Dickey, Hunter Hill, Appalachian Judicial Circuit Superior Court, Judge, Brenda Weaver, Public Defender, Clint Hooker, Attorney, David Farnham, District Attorney, Alison B. Sosebee, Justin McKinney, Anna Franklin, GBI, Georgia Bureau of Investigation, Fannin County Sheriff's Office, Gainesville Regional Youth Detention Center, Elbert Shaw Regional Youth Detention Center, Fannin Regional Hospital, Drugs

Dickey (Left) and Hill (Right) listen as prosecution and defense discuss future hearings.

This request brought the realization to many in the courtroom that after allegedly committing murder the two young defendants then went to school the next day, carrying on routine as though nothing had happened just hours previously.

Agreement was made that no further interrogation would conducted without counsel present. Weaver added of this decision, “Certainly that will go for both defendants because the court has now provided an attorney for Mr. Hill.”

Bond was not requested for either of the defendants at this initial hearing. Farnham stated that he would like more time to review all of the circumstances surrounding the case, and that due to threats being made on social media that there is a possibility that for, at least his client (Dickey), bond might not be sought at all.

After the hearing today the boys were transported to separate detention facilities. Hill will be transferred to Gainesville Regional Youth Detention Center and Dickey will return to Elbert Shaw Regional Youth Detention Center.

While both youths are being charged and tried as adults, Georgia state law mandates that they be held in juvenile detention centers until the age of 17.

If convicted of felony murder both Hill and Dickey face a sentence of life in prison. According to Georgia law since the crime has been committed while the defendants were only 15 years of age they are both ineligible for the death penalty.

More charges are expected as GBI continues their investigation, and there is rumor of a possible third suspect being involved in the case. FetchYourNews will bring you the latest as this story unfolds.

 

 

 

Fetch Your News is a hyper local news outlet that attracts more than 300,000 page views and 3.5 million impressions per month in Dawson, Lumpkin, White, Fannin, Gilmer, Pickens, Union, Towns and Murray counties as well as Cherokee County in N.C. FYNTV attracts approximately 15,000 viewers per week and reaches between 15,000 to 60,000 per week on our Facebook page. For the most effective, least expensive local advertising, call 706-276-6397 or email us at advertise@FetchYourNews.com

Author

Natalie Kissel

Natalie@FetchYourNews.com

DA Sosebee begins information campaign in schools

News, Videos
District Attorney Alison Sosebee speaking to GHS students about Vaping and drug use.

ELLIJAY, Ga – The Appalachian Judicial Circuit’s District Attorney, Alison Sosebee, began her campaign today in Fannin Middle School and Gilmer High School with presentations for students about the rising trend of vaping in all forms.

Speaking to the students she shared some of the responses that authorities have begun included harsher penalties for vape devices in general, not to mention the felonies possible with controlled substances. Using drugs in the vape devices like the popular Juul brand devices is only a part of growing concerns as authorities and administrations fear for students who expect non-nicotine flavored water vapor in devices they may find friends with when in reality these devices could contain anything from Heroin to Synthetic Marijuana.

Sosebee also invited Georgia Bureau of Investigations Special Agent Dustin Hamby to speak about the Bureau’s involvement. Hamby noted that almost 90% of his cases tied to drug usage in some way. He goes on to note that he’s had three murders in his career directly related to drug usage.

Sosebee recalled the story of a case she and Hamby shared about a guy who had taken drugs with a close friend. Under the influence, he grew greatly agitated at his friend and violently murdered him without full realization. He spoke further about how little it takes to blow up into major consequences in situations like vaping unknown substances.

Sosebee also noted that they are finding that many students and users of vape devices believe them safer than regular cigarettes. She noted that not only is there zero research to support his claim, but there is also no research or regulations on vaping devices right now. No one can tell you everything that is in Vape Juice, nor if people at smoke shops are adding extra ingredients. She called the students this generations guinea pigs for testing if vaping as they would be the cases that doctors study thirty years from now to determine the actual effects that Vaping can have in both short-term and long-term effects.

Only the first day, Sosebee is expected to travel to Fannin High, Pickens High, and Pickens Middle schools in the next two weeks along with possibly adding Gilmer Middle as well.

PHS lockdown and what’s next in the Vaping Campaign

News

Jasper, Ga – The Pickens County Board of Education hosted a no-threat lockdown today on the campus of Pickens High School.

Parents and citizens saw the Pickens County Sheriff respond to concerns saying:

We currently have a team of deputies and K-9 units participating in a controlled sweep of the Pickens High School campus. While the school is being checked, students are being placed in a non-emergency lockdown status. Students are safe and no threat exists at the school.

When questioned about the lockdown, Pickens County Schools Superintendent Dr. Carlton Wilson said the K-9 sweep was scheduled for a few weeks ago, but had to be pushed back due to scheduling conflicts with Cherokee County who supplies the K-9 units. As the Pickens County Sheriff’s Office has retired its last K-9 unit for medical reasons, Wilson stated it is a part of the agreement with Cherokee County to utilize theirs.

With the lockdown and sweep completed, Wilson informed FYN that no drugs were located during the sweep today. Though he noted it was not directly related to the rising use of vape devices, Wilson did respond to questions about the trend saying that it is a concern in the school system.

Sweeps like this is a part of the school’s enforcement of its code of conduct as well as state and federal law. Though Wilson said there is more going on behind the scenes in the system’s response to the rising vape concerns and to school security in general, he declined to release details saying, “There is a number of things that we are doing and things that we are working with the Sheriff’s Office, some of that we just can’t publicize at the moment.”

More information on these steps like the K-9 sweeps and other programs the school already has in place over its years in operation can be found at the upcoming Monday, September 24, day of events involving the Office of the Sheriff, the District Attorney, and Pickens School district as they hold a meeting for parents for information and the ‘Chat with the Superintendent’ at Pickens High School at 6 p.m.

Wilson went on to note that the school system is being forced to change the way it views vaping devices. While he notes that it is against the law for underage kids to possess cigarettes and vaping devices and they have enforced the law, he did state that the school system may have, at times, not utilized the most extreme forms of discipline available in every situation involving the use of nicotine. He went on to say, “Now that this added ability of being able to vape just about anything, that brings it to a whole different level.”

As part of the school’s efforts to inform parents and students about the dangers that vapes present with not knowing what is in them, the board is working with the District Attorney and the Sheriff’s Office. Wilson said, “We may have looked at vaping in the past as more of a replacement for a cigarette, and not as a delivery device for drugs… Going forward, we probably would.”

He added later, “We’re going to have to really start disciplining to the fullest extent that we can, given to us by our Code of Conduct or either by the Law to keep our children safe.”

“Vaping” incident part of a larger problem

News

Ellijay, Ga. – An incident report from the Gilmer County Sheriff’s Office confirmed reports of a student “blacking out” and suffering seizures after inhaling a substance from a SMOK Vape device.

Photo provided by Office of District Attorney, Appalachian Judicial Circuit

Photo provided by Office of District Attorney, Appalachian Judicial Circuit

The male student was hospitalized from the incident and later released. The incident, however, did prompt officials to call in K-9 units to search for other drugs. Authorities found two additional SMOK Vapes with one testing positive for containing marijuana. While the

original vape has been tested, no official response is available identifying the substance in the original device.

However, according to the incident report, it was reported that the student was told by a fellow classmate that “there was a vape in the boy’s restroom and he should go smoke some of it.”

With the investigation in Gilmer CID’s (Criminal Investigations Division) hands, no names of the students nor additional information is available.

However, FYN spoke with Gilmer County Charter School Superintendent Dr. Shanna Downs who confirmed the incident is part of a larger problem facing the schools today. She told FYN that last year, the school system confiscated eight vape devices over the course of the entire year. This year, they have already collected 25 devices since the beginning of school a few weeks ago.

Each instance results in disciplinary action for the student as it is a violation of the code of conduct, according to Downs, but as the rise in using other substances in the devices continues, the charges against students get far more serious as they deal with controlled substances.

Photo provided by Office of District Attorney, Appalachian Judicial Circuit

Photo provided by Office of District Attorney, Appalachian Judicial Circuit

Downs went on to say that she has spoken with other Superintendents to see if Gilmer is alone in the rise of vape usage. Though she declined to name which counties she had spoken with, she did confirm that Gilmer was not alone.

Confirming the rise in popularity of these devices in several counties, the Appalachian Judicial Circuit District Attorney B. Alison Sosebee made a press release stating, “Within the last week, several teens in Pickens, Gilmer and Fannin counties have experienced medical emergencies as a result of “vaping,” by use of electronic cigarettes. These medical emergencies necessitated treatment by both EMS and treatment at hospitals.”

Many of the vape devices found being used are very small handheld devices easily concealed within one’s palm or bag, like a purse or book bag, or even in one’s pocket as several designs become thinner and shorter. Downs confirmed they have found Juul brand vapes and last weeks incident report confirmed the males vape was a SMOK brand. Sosebee notes, “Some e-cigarettes look like regular cigarettes, cigars, or pipes. Some look like USB flash drives, pens, and other everyday items.”

As the use of vapes themselves are intended to be used with nicotine for adult smokers, the rising concern is the ability to swap out the common “juice” for homemade cocktails or drugs. Downs confirmed that reports have been made of students crushing Adderall and other things to make the “juice.”

According to Juul’s website, “These alternatives contain nicotine, which has not been shown to cause cancer but can create dependency. We believe that these alternatives are not appropriate for people who do not already smoke.”

Photo provided by Office of District Attorney, Appalachian Judicial Circuit

Photo provided by Office of District Attorney, Appalachian Judicial Circuit

Sosebee also commented on other substances that have been found in the devices saying, “The liquid that is inhaled, known commonly as “vape juice,” can contain any number of substances: it can contain flavoring; it can contain nicotine; it can also contain drugs and illegal substances such as THC oil, fentanyl and LSD. Of great concern, the user may or may not know what they are inhaling, what their reaction will be to the substances, what they are exposing others to and may erroneously believe that they are simply inhaling “harmless water vapor.” There is nothing harmless about what is occurring.”

Downs went on to say that some parents may have purchased vapes for their kids not knowing that they are swapping out the contents. The feeling was echoed by Sosebee as she called for parents to “be aware of the dangers of vaping and e-cigarettes.”

With concerns rising from parents, administration, and law enforcement alike, investigations are continuing as programs and events are attempting to educate the community about the devices and their popularity.

Downs said the Gilmer Administration is stepping up efforts in educating and building awareness in their staff about what to look for and also to educate our parents in the community saying, “I feel like there is a real lack of knowledge and lack of understanding among our community in relation to this… This has blown up overnight to the point that I feel like its almost epidemic.”

 

 

County officials discuss the safety of our local schools

Community, GMFTO

BLUE RIDGE, Ga. – Students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, returned to class today, Feb. 28, just two short weeks after one of America’s deadliest mass shootings in modern history took place in their halls.

In the wake of this tragedy, which claimed 17 lives, discussion have opened up about school safety and what can be done to prevent situations like this from occurring in the future.

Brian K. Pritchard (BKP), chief executive officer of FetchYourNews and host of Good Morning From The Office morning show, invited local officials from Gilmer and Fannin counties to address the safety of our local school systems.

Georgia, Blue Ridge, Ellijay, Fannin County, Gilmer County, School Superintendent, Dr. Michael Gwatney, Dr. Shanna Wilkes, Sheriff, Dane Kirby, Stacy Nicholson, School Resource Officer, SRO, Sergeant Greg Dodson, Lieutenant Darvin Couch, District Attorney, B. Alison Sosebee, Parkland, Florida, Shooting, School Safety, Appalachian Judicial Circuit

County officials from both Fannin and Gilmer counties met to discuss the safety of our schools.

In opening the discussion, BKP directly asked both Gilmer and Fannin County School superintendents how safe do they feel the schools in our area are.

Fannin County School Superintendent Dr. Michael Gwatney answered from a personal perspective: “My child is in a Fannin County school this morning.”

“We are always vigilant in watching what’s going on with our students, watching what’s going on on social media,” Gilmer County School Superintendent Dr. Shanna Wilkes said, explaining why she too felt the schools in her county were safe, “and staying in constant contact with our law enforcement.”

“What I feel has come out of Parkland (shooting) is a breakdown in the system,” BKP pointed out to the guest panel and questioned how officials have addressed any recent incidents.

Gilmer County Sheriff Stacy Nicholson replied that his department has had to respond to incidents almost daily for the past two weeks, but clarified that most complaints are not serious.

“The problem is law enforcement can no longer say that’s not serious. We have to take it serious,” Nicholson explained.

Modern times are different according to Nicholson and he stressed, “Pranks are no longer pranks. When it comes to school safety we will investigate and we will prosecute and arrest or send you to juvenile court.”

Many counties in Georgia do not have school resource officers (SRO) assigned to every school in their district. Fortunately, for both Fannin and Gilmer, this is not the case. All schools within each system has its own SRO, and all panel members feel that this is a major element in keeping our schools safe.

Georgia, Blue Ridge, Ellijay, Fannin County, Gilmer County, School Superintendent, Dr. Michael Gwatney, Dr. Shanna Wilkes, Sheriff, Dane Kirby, Stacy Nicholson, School Resource Officer, SRO, Sergeant Greg Dodson, Lieutenant Darvin Couch, District Attorney, B. Alison Sosebee, Parkland, Florida, Shooting, School Safety, Appalachian Judicial Circuit

Gilmer County SRO Sgt. Greg Dodson discussed SRO training and duties.

“Are all the SRO officers armed this morning?” BKP directly asked the panel. Both Nicholson and Fannin County Sheriff Dane Kirby replied that all officers on all campuses were armed.

Gilmer County School Resource Officer Sergeant Greg Dodson explained the duties of an SRO: “A very large part of the job is visual security. It’s patrolling the interior and exterior of the school, checking doors, making sure that they’re locked, trying to monitor who comes and goes.”

“If you see someone at the schools that you don’t recognize, make sure they have a visitor pass, that they’ve gone through the office properly,” Dodson added.

Other duties include checking parking lots, bathrooms, hallways, and interacting and developing relationships with the students.

In Gilmer County, to become an SRO, a deputy must submit a formal letter requesting that position. A panel of the officer’s peers then formally recommends who they feel should be placed in that position. Sheriff Nicholson makes a final decision based on the panel’s recommendations.

Fannin County Sheriff Dane Kirby confirmed that the process in Fannin County is very similar to Gilmer County and added, “That’s not a job (SRO) that you have just to draw a paycheck. That has to be something that the deputy wants to do.”

“From the very get go, it has to be what that person really wants to do,” Kirby said, explaining that the SROs in place are not only trained but also have a passion for that particular field.

Training for an SRO goes beyond that of a police academy. This training includes a School Resource Officer course, Crisis Intervention Training, Gun Safety, and in-service training such as active shooter scenarios.

Appalachian Judicial Circuit District Attorney B. Alison Sosebee was present to discuss the legal aspects of threats against a school and what her department does in collaboration with law enforcement to combat any potential crimes.

“I just need one referral to start. I need one concerned student. I need one diligent parent. That’s what allows us to be able to initiate the investigation and to assess what we need to do next,” Sosebee described of the process of how her department can become involved.

Georgia, Blue Ridge, Ellijay, Fannin County, Gilmer County, School Superintendent, Dr. Michael Gwatney, Dr. Shanna Wilkes, Sheriff, Dane Kirby, Stacy Nicholson, School Resource Officer, SRO, Sergeant Greg Dodson, Lieutenant Darvin Couch, District Attorney, B. Alison Sosebee, Parkland, Florida, Shooting, School Safety, Appalachian Judicial Circuit

Fannin County Sheriff Dane Kirby and Gilmer County Sheriff Stacy Nicholson address law enforcement’s role in providing safety for our schools.

Sosebee said we are fortunate to live in a smaller community where residents feel comfortable speaking up when there is an incident that makes them feel uncomfortable.

Confirming Sosebee’s thoughts on residents willing to tip off authorities, Gilmer County School Superintendent Dr. Shanna Wilkes said, “In my experience, when we’ve had a threat that we needed to investigate, I have not gotten it from one person. I get it from 50 people within about an hour.”

“No matter how good you are technologically, there is no substitution for a good tip,” Fannin County School Superintendent Dr. Michael Gwatney expressed in similar views.

Both Fannin and Gilmer County school systems continue to take steps to improve safety measures in their schools. Gwatney is looking into extra safety measures using technology. This would include a large network of monitoring devices.

Wilkes is working to renovate Gilmer High School. She would like to implement scan cards for access to doors and is working to restructure the building to create a single point of entry through the front office.

With large campuses and multiple buildings, BKP asked, “Would you look at letting teachers or putting that program into place at your schools to allow weapons in there and how would it work?”

Texas has legislation, School Marshal, to allow teachers to carry weapons on campus, and Florida recently passed similar legislation. Currently in Georgia, there is no statewide legislation on the issue, but rather Georgia allows local school districts to create their own policies regarding this matter.

Gilmer County has looked at sample legislation from other counties in the past, but never voted to enact a policy. Wilkes said that she would favor a policy that would require the individual to qualify with a firearm and that would obligate the individual to attend an annual firearm training course.

Wilkes also would like there to be anonymity in which teachers are armed within the school.

“It would have to be very regulated. It takes the right person, like it takes the right SRO,” Wilkes shared of her stance.

Gwatney was not opposed to the idea but does not want it to negatively affect an educator’s job: “The purpose of a teacher to care for the kids and teach for the kids. We don’t want to create a situation where we force the teacher to try to take on a law enforcement role.”

The panel also expressed frustrations on a system that sometimes works against them in their efforts to keep our children safe.

On a criminal level, Sheriff Nicholson expressed disappointment in a system that seems increasingly unwilling to keep a juvenile in detainment: “It’s getting harder and harder to get someone detained. That’s frustrating.”

Georgia, Blue Ridge, Ellijay, Fannin County, Gilmer County, School Superintendent, Dr. Michael Gwatney, Dr. Shanna Wilkes, Sheriff, Dane Kirby, Stacy Nicholson, School Resource Officer, SRO, Sergeant Greg Dodson, Lieutenant Darvin Couch, District Attorney, B. Alison Sosebee, Parkland, Florida, Shooting, School Safety, Appalachian Judicial Circuit

BKP’s All Star Panel questions officials on a number of issues that the school systems face in regard to safety.

Sosebee confirmed Nicholson’s frustration and explained, “Part of that, the court system with relation to that, is the restrictions that are put on the court system as to when these juveniles can be detained and when they cannot be detained and that is where a lot of the hands tying is coming from, from the court system.”

Just like law enforcement, the school systems feel that there is legislation and policy in place that ties their hands when they witness “red flags”.

BKP pointed out the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which has grown since it was first enacted and states that schools being a government agency must accommodate individuals with diagnosed disabilities.

Wilkes acknowledged that the ADA does play a heavy role in how schools can handle disciplinary situations: “In many cases, you’re dealing with students who have a disability such as an emotional behavioral disorder, which falls under special education.”

In such cases, if a student makes a threat or acts in a way that requires disciplinary action, the school must first have a Manifestation Hearing.

In a Manifestation Hearing, a panel is made up of a licensed school psychologist, the student’s special education case manager, a teacher that works directly with the student, an administrator, and the parents or guardians of the child.

The panel determines if the threat or infraction is directly related to the student’s disability. If it is deemed that it is in relation to the disability, then disciplinary action cannot be taken.

If it is deemed that the issue is not related to the child’s disability, then a tribunal is formed to determine what disciplinary actions should be taken.

“If a student has any disability at all,” Wilkes clarified, “even if it’s a learning disability in reading, and let’s say they try to burn down the school, then we have to have a manifestation hearing to see if that learning disability led to them trying to burn down the school.”

Due to this process and the strict rules surrounding juvenile privacy, Wilkes stated if it is related to a disability “our hands are tied as to what we can do.”

The panel agreed that collaboration between departments along with a proactive stance on safety is the best route to take when it comes to the welfare of our counties’ children but felt that changes could be made in legislation that would make providing our schools with this security a much more efficient process.

You can watch BKP’s Good Morning From The Office #AnythingGoes School Safety Special in the video below.

Author

Natalie Kissel

Natalie@FetchYourNews.com

Sworn in for second term, Appalachian Judicial Circuit District Attorney B. Alison Sosebee

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Thursday, December 29th,  Pickens County Probate Judge David W. Lindsey administered the oath of office for Appalachian Judicial Circuit District Attorney B. Alison Sosebee. Fannin, Pickens, and Gilmer counties make up the circuit. 

Sosebee, “I want to express my heartfelt thanks to the voters of Fannin, Gilmer and Pickens counties for being elected to another term as District Attorney of the Appalachian Judicial Circuit.  Being sworn in to a second term is both an honor and humbling that the citizens of the Appalachian Judicial Circuit have placed their trust in me. In looking forward to the upcoming term, each criminal case will continue to be evaluated on its merits and this determination will be made without bias or prejudice towards any person.  I also look forward to continuing and expanding the community outreach and prevention programs supported and sponsored by the District Attorney’s office.”

B. Alison Sosebee is a lifelong resident of Fannin County and she is the mother of two sons, Nathaniel and Grahym Maloof. She is the daughter of Robert L. Sosebee, Sr., the general manager of Tri-State Electric Cooperative for several years and Barbara Payne Sosebee.

B. Alison Sosebee is a lifelong resident of Fannin County and she is the mother of two sons, Nathaniel and Grahym Maloof. She is the daughter of Robert L. Sosebee, Sr., the general manager of Tri-State Electric Cooperative for several years and Barbara Payne Sosebee.

The Circuit’s Chief Judge Brenda S. Weaver made some brief comments concerning accountability courts. Weaver stressed how important it is to have the support of the District Attorney for the accountability courts to be successful.  Weaver thanked Sosebee for the DA’s committed support to the speciality courts.  The specialty courts consist of Appalachian Judicial Circuit Adult Drug Court, Mental Health Court, Adult Veterans Drug Court,  Family Drug Court,  & Juvenile Drug Court.

Sosebee will be starting her second term. She ran unopposed in both the 2016 primary and general election. Sosebee defeated incumbent Joe Hendricks and former superior court judge Harry Doss in the 2012 primary for her first term.

Watch the video below and meet DA. B. Alison Sosebee

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