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Trial priorities emerge at criminal court session

By Walter Geiger A three-hour court session here Jan. 4 resulted in the issuance of multiple bench warrants for failure to appear and sentences in several relatively minor cases but trial priorities for the week of Jan. 22 did emerge. The case of Tyler Walker Pitts was announced as ready by prosecutors. Chief assistant district attorney Elizabeth Bobbitt said that trial will take about three days. Pitts opened fire on Lt. Chris Webster after a high speed chase ended near LCHS. Pitts was hit several times during the subsequent gun battle. He is charged with three counts aggravated assault on a peace officer, obstruction, aggravated assault, fleeing and attempting to elude and two firearms charges. There were indications Pitts, who is being held in the Butts County jail, has not been cooperating with the public defenders assigned to represent him. The state announced ready for the retrial of Jamorris Antron Cole who is charged with aggravated assault, battery and false imprisonment in one case and sexual battery and simple battery in another. The first attempt to try him ended in a mistrial after he attempted to strike his public defender. Cole’s case could be first Jan. 22 if Pitts continues to hamper his legal team. Also ready for trial are the cases against codefendants Keondre Deshone Strother and Dequane Rayshun Williams. They are charged with the armed robbery of a Gordon State College student on Aug. 11, 2016. The pair, who are from Sparta, allegedly took a small amount of cash from a student who was sitting on a wall near The Commons on campus. Williams was armed with a handgun at the time, according to court records. In limbo is the case of Jamie Earl Turner of Meansville who is charged with aggravated assault, aggravated battery and reckless conduct. Those counts stem from a July 17, 2017 incident in which he allegedly ran down his wife Stacey Turner with a vehicle. The incident occurred on an on ramp on Veterans Parkway near Indian Trail. Defense attorney Jacob Weldon has filed a motion for a speedy trial in this case. The retrial of David Lewis McGuire is scheduled for April. He is charged with malice murder, murder, felony murder and other counts in connection wit the Sept. 15, 2016 shooting death of his mother Elaine McGuire at her home on Liz Acres Road. The first attempt to try him involved a week-long proceeding which ended in a mistrial here Oct. 27, 2017. There are strong indications the public defender’s office will file a motion for change of venue in that case. Also set for trial in April are the cases against Sarah Elizabeth Hart and Lance Kershaw. Hart faces four counts of aggravated assault and one count of aggravated battery in a shaken baby case. Kershaw faces multiple charges after allegedly photographing his nude granddaughter with a concealed shower camera and posting the photos in boys’ restrooms at LCHS on Oct. 17, 2016.

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