On Tuesday, November 23, 2010, Monolito Montoy Camon, better known as "Monty," of 504 Mills St, Valdosta, pled guilty to malice murder for the arson firebombing death of 12-year old Laquinta Bowens on Feb. 4, 2009. Camon, who was 16 at the time of the crime, faced a jury trial on Monday, Nov. 29. Now an adult, Camon was sentenced by Alapaha Judicial Circuit Chief Judge Dane Perkins to life in prison. DA Cathy Helms, along with Sr. ADA Al Tester, prosecuted the case. Camon was represented by Valdosta attorney Miles Hannan.
The victim's family members were present at the plea and sentencing, and several of them spoke movingly of the devastation they suffered as a result of this child's death and the loss of their home and belongings. Camon barely looked at them during the proceedings, showed no emotion, and refused to divulge information about others who may have been involved except to testify that his co-defendant, Antonio "Tom" McCutchin, age 22, of 801 Washington St, Lakeland, knew about the fire-bombing plan but did not actually participate in the making or throwing of the Molotov cocktail device. McCutchin also entered a plea of guilty to conspiracy to commit arson in the 1st degree and conspiracy to commit criminal damage to property in the 1st degree. Chief Judge Perkins sentenced him to 15 years, the first 5 years to be served in confinement. McCutchin was represented by indigent defense attorney Janice Prince.
DA Helms praised the professionalism of the GBI, ATF, State Fire Marshall, local fire departments, and the Lanier County Sheriff's Department officers who worked this case, bu singled out GBI special agent Amy Braswell and ATF agent Shannyn Gardner, stating "this case would not have been solved without their tireless efforts interviewing scores of witnesses, tracking down evidence, and poring over voluminous text messages and phone records." Helms also thanked her staff for the tremendous amount of work they put into assisting her in preparing for this trial over the last month after the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Middle District of Georgia unexpectedly turned the case back over to us. "Once the case returned, to us, we put everything resource we had into preparing for trial because we intended to get a conviction based on the evidence in the case."
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