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Worthy pretrial continued after failed motion

Superior Court Judge Tommy Wilson today denied a motion by the legal team representing Morehouse College police chief Vernon Worthy that could have sent his assault case back to the grand jury. He was indicted in September 2009 on false imprisonment, aggravated assault and pointing a pistol at another. Worthy is accused of pointing the pistol at Nathaniel Rooks and threatening him on Nov. 11, 2008, while hunting. Rooks testified Worthy ordered him to lie face down on the grass and forced him at gunpoint to roll away from his rifle and toss away his cell phone. ”He told me ‘I will blow your (expletive deleted) brains out if you try anything’,” Rooks said. He added he feared for his life and started praying aloud only to hear Worthy say, “God is the only (expletive deleted) who can help you right now.” Worthy’s attorney Pandora Palmer argued the grand jury was invalid because bailiff George Barrett was a county officer while serving as a jury commissioner. They called into question his actions in the July 2006 primary election that resulted in him, Dr. E.H. Harris and former probate court judge Frank Fletcher signing an administrative consent order regarding irregularities in the way they assisted some absentee voters. Judge Wilson sided with the district attorney’s office, which noted the term “county officer” refers to constitutional officers and citizens can only be disqualified if they have been convicted of a felony. Barrett and Dr. Harris, both called to the stand as witnesses, have never been convicted of any crime. In addition to the supplemental plea abatement argument, a pretrial hearing was continued due to Worthy’s supreme court appeal of earlier arguments in the case that were denied.

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