High court upholds convictions in slaying at Hancock County prison

From left: Demarco Draughn, Xavier Levatte and Benny Hayward.
From left: Demarco Draughn, Xavier Levatte and Benny Hayward.(WRDW)
Published: May. 3, 2021 at 12:48 PM EDT|Updated: May. 3, 2021 at 12:49 PM EDT
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ATLANTA (WRDW/WAGT) - The Georgia Supreme Court today upheld the murder convictions and life sentences for three men in a Hancock County case.

Demarco Draughn, Xavier Levatte, and Benny Hayward had appealed their malice murder convictions for the stabbing death of fellow inmate Bobby Ricks at Hancock State Prison.

Evidence at trial showed that Ricks was approached by four inmates while showering at the prison on Oct. 11, 2017, and fatally stabbed. A witness told authorities he was stabbed because he violated the code of the gang he was a member of.

On Sept. 25, 2018, a Hancock County grand jury indicted Draughn, Levatte, Hayward and Diante Thompson for malice murder, felony murder and aggravated assault.

After a joint trial held from July 30 to Aug. 2, 2019, a jury found Draughn, Levatte and Hayward guilty on all counts. Thompson was tried and convicted separately; his attorney was ill on the morning of the joint trial.

Draughn, Levatte and Hayward sought a new trial, which the trial court denied, and they appealed that decision, which was also denied today by the Supreme Court.

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