Murder suspect free after 11 years in Ga. prison

Wednesday, Nov. 30, 2011 1:39 PM
Last updated Thursday, Dec. 1, 2011 1:11 AM
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QUITMAN, Ga. — A south Georgia murder suspect was freed from jail after 11 years behind bars when a jury found him not guilty of several charges stemming from a 2000 slaying.

Freddie Lee Davis, 73, walked out of the Brooks County Courthouse a free man Tuesday afternoon after a trial, The Valdosta Daily Times reported.

The charges date to June 14, 2000, when the body of his sister, Bernice Thomas, was found at a Quitman residence. Authorities said her boyfriend, James Newsome, was found alive but died later due to complications of blunt force trauma to the head.

After 50 minutes of deliberation on Tuesday, jurors found Davis not guilty of two counts of felony murder, two counts of aggravated assault, two counts of malice murder and one count of armed robbery.

“I prayed to God every day that this thing would come out,” Davis said. “I’m happy they acquitted me.”

His attorney, William Edwards of Valdosta, said that some of the witnesses brought forward by prosecutors had been charged with drug abuse and were unreliable.

This week’s trial was the third time the case has been tried before a jury.

In May 2003, a mistrial was declared because the jury could not reach a verdict. Davis was tried again in March 2004, when a jury found him guilty of all charges. The Georgia Supreme Court ruled the case should be tried a third time because the high court said a judge failed to give jurors the right instructions related to circumstantial evidence.

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lsmith 11/30/11 - 04:57 pm
I sometimes wonder what goes

I sometimes wonder what goes thru a judge's mind when he/she sends a case back for a retrail because of "faulty instructions". Particularly when the end result is an aquittal. And if we're going to assume that drug users are unreliable, who are we going to turn to for testimony when the only persons around are of the same deviated population segment as the perpertrator. We just accept nothing but law abiding citizens as witnesses and throw murderers back onto the streets to repeat their crimes. This is insanity at it's worse. Those civil liberty heroes sitting on the bench need to come out of that privileged bubble they live in and walk the dark, dangerous streets the rest of us do, perhaps then they'd not be so quick to totally dismiss less than stellar witnesses, and perhaps be a little more forgiving at picking apart their peers jury instructions......

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