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Johnson case: Family sought special prosecutor

Part 12 in a serialization of interviews published on the 26th anniversary of the brutal murder of Donna Johnson: Members of murder victim Donna Johnson’s family, working through a prominent local minister, attempted to have a special prosecutor appointed to the case in 2006. Becky Peterman, aided by Dr. Benny Tate of Rock Springs Church, sought help from Georgia attorney general Thurbert Baker after a rejuvenated investigation yielded new entomological evidence that prosecutors and GBI agents refused to take to a grand jury. Baker refused to intervene in the case. In a letter to Peterman dated August 14, 2006, then deputy attorney general Michael E. Hobbs wrote, ‘Unfortunately, this office lacks jurisdiction or authority to prose cute the case or to appoint another prosecuting attorney to do so. As the elected district attorney for the Towaliga Circuit, Mr. (Richard) Milam has been elected to make the sometimes difficult decisions concerning the prosecution of criminal matters. In the absence of a recusal or disqualification of the district attorney, it is not within the purview of this office to intervene with respect to those decisions.’

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