Long wants prosecutors off child cruelty case

WAYNESBORO, Ga. --- Christine Long wants the district attorney's office out of the picture.


Mrs. Long, mother of the 11 children found living in squalor in rural Burke County in July, faces 10 charges of second-degree cruelty to children and five charges of failure to educate. She appeared at a hearing Monday at the Burke County Courthouse.

Mrs. Long wants Superior Court Judge James G. Blanchard Jr. to remove District Attorney Ashley Wright and Assistant District Attorneys Geoffrey Fogus and Kristi Connell as prosecutors in the case. She contends that the office has a conflict of interest.

On March 24, Superior Court Judge David Roper appointed the district attorney's office as counsel for the Long children. But because the office represents the state, it can't represent individuals. Realizing this, the office asked Judge Roper to revoke its status as counsel, which he did April 16. Amanda Hudock, Mrs. Long's attorney, said that because the office served briefly as counsel its attorneys could not represent the state as prosecutor.

The office's Adam King argued that there was no reason to have them removed.

"Everything that we have done related to this case has been in our office as district attorney," he said.

The office said removing it from the case would do nothing but hold up its attempts to settle the real issue at hand.

"We're ready to provide closure to the children, and we're ready to provide closure to the community, which desperately needs it," Mr. King said.

The judge gave attorneys for both sides 20 days to file briefs.

Reach Gracie Shepherd at (706) 823-3228 or gracie.shepherd@augustachronicle.com.