Thursday, January 4, 2018


Griffin Judicial Circuit’s District Attorney’s Office 2017 Year in Review 

Note from Ben Coker, Your District Attorney 

This time of year is always a time to reflect on our accomplishments, learn from our mistakes, and plan for the future. 2017 was certainly an eventful year for me and my staff. As your newly elected District Attorney, I set many goals for myself and my offices. Some of those goals were to eliminate a backlog that existed, fully staff each of my offices, and resolve some of the older cases that needed trials. I am happy to report to you that we have met those goals. We drastically reduced the backlog, each office is fully staffed, and we tried multiple older cases that needed resolution.

This review is simply a snapshot of our year. If you want more information about any of the cases or events in this newsletter, please visit my website at or my Facebook page, @gjcdistrictattorney. This year has not been easy. These tasks, along with my other goals, have tested the resolve of my staff; however, they never wavered. I am eternally grateful to them. These monumental undertakings required us, as a circuit, to become a team. We are not just an Upson Office, a Pike Office, a Spalding Office, and a Fayette Office. We are the Griffin Judicial Circuit. 2018 will bring about new challenges, and we will continue to work on the backlog. We will try the hard cases, tackle the difficult problems, stare down evil, and we will do it all with integrity.

Thank you for your trust in me. I never take it for granted. Your safety is always in my mind. Thank you for the wonderful first year. To the year of 2018, we say, bring it on!

Courtroom Review:

Michael Bowman Convicted of Malice Murder and Sentenced to Life Without Parole

Michael Bowman was convicted after a two week trial of Malice Murder and sentenced to life without the possibility of parole. Bowman was convicted of shooting Griffin Police Department Officer Kevin Jordan multiple times in the back in Spalding County. District Attorney Coker tried the case along with Chief Assistant District Attorney Marie Broder, and Assistant District Attorney Dan Hiatt.

Bill Moore, Jr. and Todd Jones Retried and Convicted of Malice Murder and Sentenced to Life without Parole 

Moore and Jones were convicted after a week long trial for the brutal murder of Kevin Harmon in Spalding County. The defendants took the victim to an abandoned lot in the early morning hours of February 14, 2011, stabbed Harmon multiple times and beat him with a baseball bat after robbing him. District Attorney Coker and Chief Assistant District Attorney Marie Broder tried the case. The case was a retrial after a new trial was granted. A co-defendant, Cody Tuggle, was not granted a new trial. His conviction stands.

Kashif Mohammed Convicted of Home Invasion and Robbery and Sentenced to Life in Prison 

Mohammed was convicted after a week long trial in Upson County for entering the home of two victims, holding them at gunpoint, tying them up, and stealing guns and money from the home. District Attorney Coker and Assistant District Attorney Mark Irvin tried the case.

Thomas Zerbarini Sentenced to Life for Aggravated Child Molestation 

Thomas Zerbarini was convicted on Friday, December 15th, of Aggravated Child Molestation, two counts of Child Molestation, Incest, and Enticing a Child for Indecent Purposes. Assistant District Attorney Dan Hiatt and Deputy Chief District Attorney Warren Sellers with the Fayette County District Attorney’s Office tried the case.

David Lee Stewart Guilty of Aggravated Child Molestation

Stewart entered a guilty plea in Pike County after evidence was presented at a trial. He was sentenced to Life with 25 years to serve. Assistant District Attorney Michael Rogers handled the case.

Kristopher Cawthon Convicted of Exploitation and Intimidation of Disabled Adult

A Fayette County Jury found Cawthon guilty of Exploitation and he was sentenced to 20 years with the first 7 to serve in prison. Deputy Chief Assistant District Attorney Warren Sellers tried the case.

Royce Robinson to Serve Life in Prison after Kidnapping Conviction 

Assistant District Attorneys Kate Lenhard and Morgan Kendrick tried Robinson for kidnapping his estranged wife, beating her, and strangling her. A Spalding County jury convicted him of Kidnapping with Bodily Injury, False Imprisonment, and Battery.

Quasha Nicole Harris Convicted of Multiple Counts and Sentenced to 30 Years with 15 to Serve in Prison 

Harris was convicted of Felony Obstruction of a Police Officer, Felony Theft by Shoplifting, Identity Fraud, Forgery in the 2nd Degree, Possession of a Controlled Substance, Fleeing and Attempting to Elude, and Driving while License Suspended. Assistant District Attorney Michele McCutcheon tried the case for the State.

Timothy Allen Convicted of Kidnapping and Aggravated Assault 

Assistant District Attorneys Donna GoPaul and Kate Lenhard tried Allen over the course of three days. A Spalding County jury convicted him of Kidnapping his ex girlfriend, placing a gun to her head, strangling her, and beating her. Allen was sentenced to 45 years in prison.

Cary Wilson Convicted of Aggravated Assault and Sentenced to 20 years in prison

A Spalding Jury convicted Wilson for stomping on the face of a man at Kevin’s Corner in Griffin. Assistant District Attorney Canon Snow and Assistant District Attorney Donna GoPaul tried the case.

Ruby Coursey Sentenced to Life after Guilty Plea for Murder 

Coursey pled guilty to abandoning a paraplegic in a wooded area of Upson County in freezing temperatures. The victim died from exposure.

ADA’s Argued in both Appellate Courts

Fayette County ADA, Christy Jindra, argued in front of the Georgia Court of Appeals.

Upson County ADA, Ashton Fallin presented an argument in front of the Georgia Supreme Court.

Johntavis Bailey Pleas Guilty to Smash and Grab Burglary 

Bailey pled guilty to burglarizing the Simply Mac in Peachtree City. He was sentenced to 25 years with 20 to be served in prison.

Former Spalding County Captain Entered Blind Guilty Plea 

David Gibson entered a non-negotiated guilty plea and was sentenced to 10 years with the first 3 to be served in prison.

Cornelius Henderson Pleas to Voluntary Manslaughter 

Henderson pled guilty to shooting and killing Demarkis Williams in Spalding County and was sentenced to 20 years with 15 years to serve.

Reginald Lews Blackmon Receives 40 Year Sentence for Trafficking Methamphetamine. 

An Upson County Jury found Blackmon guilty of possessing over 50 grams of methamphetamine. Assistant District Attorney Michael Rogers tried the case.

William Bradford Sentenced to 41 serve 21 Years in Prison for Armed Robbery

Bradford pled guilty to robbing the PNC Bank in Fayetteville.

Marcia Annette Demarcus Pled Guilty to Homicide by Vehicle in the First Degree 

Demarcus pled guilty for killing a 16 year old girl with her car while being under the influence of drugs. She was sentenced to 30 years with the first 15 to be spent in prison.

RICO Defendants Entered Pleas 

Multiple defendants charged with RICO in Spalding County cases that were 3-4 years old entered guilty pleas. Each of those cases have now been resolved. Each of the main players received over 10 years in prison and are banished from the circuit. Chief Assistant District Attorney Marie Broder handled the cases.

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