News Release: November 6, 2014

The Decatur County Superior Court adjourned November term, 2014 consisted of approximately 80 criminal cases. Two cases of significant note were two Felony Murder cases of Darwin Johnson and Marquez Taylor. Darwin Johnson was charged with one count of Malice Murder, Felony Murder, and Aggravated Assault. Mr. Johnson pled blind, at the mercy of the court, and was sentenced to 20 years to serve in the state system consecutive to any sentence he is now serving by Judge Kevin Chason. With the assistance of Bainbridge Public Safety Investigator Mark Esquivel, evidence showed that Mr. Darwin Johnson stabbed and killed Mr. Jamarlin Bell in the chest and neck with a sharp edged object on or about May 22, 2011 in Decatur County, Bainbridge, Georgia. Chief Assistant District Attorney Mike Bankston for the South Georgia Judicial Circuit, stated, "we hope that the Bell family can now have some closure knowing that Mr. Johnson has been accountable for his horrendous conduct and crime. Our prayers go out to the Bell family for their loss."

The second Felony Murder case was Marquez D. Taylor charged with one count of Felony Murder, Aggravated Assault and Attempt to Commit a Felony. With the assistance of GBI agent Michael Walsingham and Bainbridge Public Safety Investigator Chip Nix, evidence showed that Mr. Marquez Taylor shot and killed Ms. Datta Dave on or about October 15, 2008 with intent to rob her in Decatur County. Mr. Taylor pled in front of Judge Kevin Chason and received a sentence of 20 years to serve in the state system. District Attorney Joseph K. Mulholland stated, "cold cases are always incredibly difficult to prove. Obviously if they were straightforward the suspect would be held accountable at the time of the offense. Due to the diligent work of law enforcement, we were able to solve this crime that shocked the community back when it happened. Bainbridge should know that our office will always prosecute to the fullest those that would endanger our families and children by robbing stores in order to make a few bucks."

Another significant case this week involved Bryan Lamar Harrell. Mr. Harrell was charged with one count of Felony Homicide by Vehicle in the First Degree and Reckless Driving. With the assistance of the Georgia State Patrol Troopers Keith Butterworth and Walt Landrum, evidence showed that Mr. Bryan Lamar Harrell on March 6, 2012 in Decatur County, Georgia while driving and operating a motor vehicle did and without malice cause the death of a human being while driving too fast for conditions and following too close with his vehicle while exceeding the speed limit of flow of traffic.

Mr. Harrell pled in front of Chief Judge A. Wallace Cato and received a sentence of 15 years to serve 8 years in custody at the state penal system with the balance on probation. District Attorney Joseph K. Mulholland stated, "our prayers go out to the Walden family for their loss. Nothing can bring the life of this innocent child back and we pray closure can now be brought to the families knowing Mr. Harrell has been accountable for his conduct and crime."

A two day impaneled jury trial was tried by District Attorney Joseph K. Mulholland on Tuesday, November 4, 2014 and concluded on November 5, 2014. The jury found Mr. Al Dontarius Childs guilty on two counts of Felony Theft by Shoplifting. Evidence at trial showed that Mr. Childs did remove merchandise from the Bainbridge Walmart valued over $800.00 and exited the store without paying for the merchandise. Mr. Mulholland filed a recidivist motion on Mr. Childs based upon three prior convictions. Sentencing was deferred by Chief Judge A. Wallace Cato.

Mr. Mulholland and Mr. Bankston applaud the excellent work our law enforcement agencies did this trial term. Both Mulholland and Bankston stated, "this was a tremendous week for our office, we had a great jury pool and we were able to secure convictions. The other 70 plus defendants were arrested, charged and entered pleas of guilty this week in Decatur County. The defendants were sentenced to serve some time in custody or lengthy probation.