Ga. Supreme Court upholds four CSRA murder convictions

Updated: Jun. 1, 2021 at 8:59 AM EDT
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ATLANTA (WRDW/WAGT) - The Georgia Supreme Court has upheld the murder convictions and life sentences for several defendants in CSRA cases.

From left: Donovan Fitts, Jermanique Franklin, Dequan Holmes and Charles Tyler
From left: Donovan Fitts, Jermanique Franklin, Dequan Holmes and Charles Tyler(WRDW)

In opinions issued Tuesday, the court upheld the convictions of:

  • Donovan Fitts and Jermanique Franklin in Warren County: Fitts and Franklin appealed their convictions for murder and other crimes in connection with the March 4, 2015, shooting deaths of Tenecia Posley and Barry Johnson. In an 8-2 opinion, the court upheld Franklin’s convictions for felony murder but vacated her convictions for armed robbery and burglary, which the court said should have merged into her felony murder convictions for sentencing purposes. Fitts’ convictions were upheld.
  • Dequan Holmes in Richmond County: Holmes appealed his convictions for felony murder, aggravated assault and two counts of possession of a firearm during the commission of a crime for the shooting death of Javares Alston and the non-fatal shooting of Danielle Willingham June 28, 2012. He argues that evidence was insufficient to convict him and that the trial court committed error when it charged the jury to “consider with great care and caution” his out-of-court statements. Holmes, who was a juvenile at the time the crime was committed, also challenged his sentence of life without parole, arguing that it violates the Eighth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
  • Charles Tyler in Richmond County: A jury found Tyler guilty of felony murder, armed robbery and other crimes in connection with the Hune 4, 2008, shooting death of David Fulkrod and theft of copper from a recycling facility. On appeal, Tyler challenged the sufficiency of the evidence as to all of his convictions.

Also in the news ...

  • Georgia’s highest court has upheld a man’s death sentence for killing his ex-fiancée’s adult son. In a ruling Tuesday, the Georgia Supreme Court said Rodney Young failed to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that he is intellectually disabled. Young was convicted of murder and sentenced to die in the 2008 slaying of Gary Jones in Covington. It is not legal to execute people who are intellectually disabled. But Georgia has the toughest standard in the nation for proving intellectual disability, requiring proof beyond a reasonable doubt. Chief Justice Harold Melton wrote in his opinion that Young failed to meet that bar.

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