News Release: Office of the District Attorney, Joseph K. Mullholland
The week of trials for Decatur County Adjourned November Term of Superior Court consisted of two impaneled jury trials. District Attorney Joseph K. Mulholland began a three day jury trial on Monday, February 10, 2014 and finished Wednesday, February 12, 2014. The impaneled jury found Deonte Tvaris Smith guilty on three counts of Felony Murder, two counts of Cruelty to Children in the First Degree and two counts of Aggravated Assault-Family Violence. Felony Murder carries a mandatory life sentence. Sentence was deferred by Chief Judge A. Wallace Cato.
With the assistance of GBI agent, Michael Walsingham, Medical Examiner in Forensic Pathology, Dr. Anthony Clark, and Bainbridge Public Safety, evidence at trial showed that Mr. Smith did maliciously cause excessive physical pain by inflicting trauma to the inner skull, brain, and neck with his hands by grabbing and shaking and causing death to his two month old child on April 12, 2012.
District Attorney Joseph K. Mulholland stated, “this innocent child did not stand a chance in the home of such terrible parents and family members. I am pleased the defendant will now be accountable for his horrific and evil crime on his own two month old child.”
The second impaneled jury trial was tried by Chief Assistant Mike Bankston. Mr. Bankston began a two day jury trial on Wednesday February 12, 2014 and finished Thursday, February 13, 2014. The impaneled jury found Christopher Ryan Mitchell guilty on one count of Felony Aggravated Assault and one count of Felony Terroristic Threats. Sentence was deferred by Chief A. Wallace Cato after a psychological evaluation is performed.
With the assistance of Bainbridge Public Safety Investigator Mark Esquivel, evidence at trial showed that on May 14, 2013 Mr. Ryan Mitchell made an assault upon Mr. Mark Mitchell with a deadly weapon, a .40 caliber pistol by firing the pistol over the head of Mark Mitchell, being the parent of the accused. The defendant also threatened Mrs. Regina Mitchell by stating that he would put a bullet between her eyes. Chief Assistant Mike Bankston stated, “ this was a tough case between a father and son. However, we want the people of Decatur County to know that there will be zero tolerance for such horrific crimes in which someone could have easily been killed.”
At least 62 other 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. Joseph K. Mulholland, District Attorney for the South Georgia Judicial Circuit stated, “receiving two convictions by an impaneled jury made for a great week for our office. We had a very good jury pool. I would also like to commend the officers of the Decatur County Sheriff’s Office, Bainbridge Public Safety and the Georgia Bureau of Investigation for their outstanding and diligent work this trial term.”
Should you have any further questions or comments please call Mr. Joseph K. Mulholland at 229-246-1823.