Justices overturn verdict in slaying of veteran

The Georgia Supreme Court has ruled that a man convicted of murder in Richmond County should get a new trial because prosecutors did not disclose that their key witness had worked out a deal that could have reduced his sentence.


On Monday, the court reversed the conviction of Richard Anthony Gonnella for the 2002 shooting death of John Henry Williams.

Evidence showed Mr. Gonnella and Christopher Evans went to Mr. Williams' apartment. Mr. Evans said he heard a gunshot while in his car. The two later turned themselves in, and Mr. Evans told police where to find the gun.

Mr. Gonnella was convicted of felony murder and sentenced to life in prison. Mr. Evans was sentenced to 15 years after a guilty plea to voluntary manslaughter.

The court said prosecutors deprived Mr. Gonnella of the ability to impeach Mr. Evans' testimony.

Mr. Williams, a disabled Navy veteran, was shot in the left temple on Sept. 6, 2002, at his home in Ramblewood Apartments on Center West Parkway. Neighbors found him a few hours later on his doorstep, police said.