2005-08-10 / For The Record

Man get 12 months for stolen Coca-Colas

By Elizabeth Billips
True Citizen Associate Editor

By Elizabeth Billips
True Citizen Associate Editor

A Florida man was sentenced to 12 months in jail for accepting a 24-pack of stolen Coca-Cola.

Last week, David Earl Jones, 22, told State Court Judge Jerry Daniel that a friend gave him the stolen sodas and that, despite a long rap sheet, he was a changed man.

After reviewing his crimnal record, which included drug and sex crimes, burglaries and car thefts, Judge Daniel gave him the maximum sentence under Georgia law.

"You have too bad of a criminal history," Judge Daniel said. "I’m scared for you to walk the streets of this city."

Another Florida man intended to plead guilty to reckless driving and possession of marijuana, but got sent to jail before he had the chance.

Richard Starnes Norman was taken outside the courtroom and given a breathalyzer test after the clerk of court smelled alcohol on him.

"What’s he doing coming to my court drinking?" Judge Daniel asked when Norman’s .105 breath alcohol test was announced.

Norman maintained that he was sick and had taken Nyquil the night before.

"Well you must have drank a lot of it to still be drunk at eleven in the morning," Judge Daniel replied before ordering him to spend the night in jail.

The next morning Norman returned in a prison jumpsuit and handcuffs for an open hearing in the judge’s chambers.

Sober and apologetic, Norman said, "after a night in jail, I know that’s not where I want to be."

After several minutes of trying to explain his drinking habit and desire to quit, Judge Daniel told him to "stop talking" because he was trying to "con everybody."

"I’m a recovered alcoholic myself," Judge Daniel said. "You have to want to quit, and I don’t think you want to yet … you talk the talk, but you don’t walk the walk."

Norman avoided jail time since his plea negotiations began prior to Judge Daniel’s May 4 announcement that all possession of marijuana convictions would carry a 30-day jail sentence.

In addition to "intense" probation and over $2,000 in fines and surcharges, Norman was ordered to attend Alcoholics Anonymous twice a week for two years, victims’ impact and risk reduction programs and to put in 40 hours on garbage detail.

Two women subpoenaed for a bench trial were involved in a courthouse scuffle before their case was heard.

Defendant Demetree Harden said that witness Garnett Gaines pushed her from behind as she was trying to exit the courthouse elevator during a lunch recess.

The women were in court along with four others to testify about a May 16 altercation in which Gaines claimed Harden and two other women attacked her while she was holding her 2-year old.

"My baby hit the concrete so hard," Gaines said. "They were stomping all over my child … he was screaming and crying."

Three witnesses/defendants confirmed that a fight occurred between Gaines and codefendant Lafarron Levines, but said the baby was inside Gaines’ apartment and the others were trying to break up the fight.

According to a report filed at the Waynesboro Police Department, the baby did not appear to have been injured, but officers requested he be taken to the hospital as a precautionary measure.

Judge Daniel dropped the charges against two of the accused attackers, Kimberly Levines and Harden, and sentenced the alleged aggressor, Lafarron Levines, to 30 days in jail.

After reviewing testimony and evidence later that week, Judge Daniel reduced her sentence to three days in jail, sua sponte (on his own accord).

Waynesboro resident Mary Julia Griffin was referred to as an "honorary member" of the court before she was sentenced for her ninth public drunkenness charge since 2001.

When asked if she had a lawyer, indigent defense counselor William Fleming III joked that he had a lifetime appointment.

In addition to a $50 fine plus surcharges, Judge Daniel ordered Griffin to report to the courthouse for trash detail every Saturday for the next three months.

"Maybe you’ll get tired of coming to my court," he said.

A Burke county jailer received the standard sentence for a recent DUI charge.

Representing himself, Alex Beard pleaded guilty to DUI and failure to maintain lane.

He was sentenced to 12 months in jail, with all but three days probated, $650 in fines plus surcharges and 40 hours community service. He was also ordered to attend victims’ impact and risk reduction program.

Judge Daniel requested an investigation on a suspected prostitution ring after two women, under oath, accused Waynesboro bondsman Greg Green of "pimping" them.

Emily Ann Johnson was prepared to plead guilty to "prostitution" when Judge Daniel called up defendant Channel White for questioning.

The full courtroom had to be brought to order several times as the women told Judge Daniel that Green had arranged for them to have sex for a sum of $100 and $70, respectively.

"I want everyone involved charged with prostitution," Judge Daniel said as a section of the courtroom broke out in applause. The case will be continued, most likely by jury trial.

Bench warrants were issued on six defendants who didn’t show up for court.

These included:

· Allen Sintell Chance (passing in a no passing zone and speeding);

· Christopher Paul Ouzts (driving with a suspended license, second offense, and speeding);

· Charles Danta Owens (fishing without a license);

· Larry Owens (fishing without a license);

· Cedric Jerome Phillips: (false report of a crime); and

· Robert Lee Williams (possession of marijuana).

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