Murder suspect free after 11 years in Ga. prison

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.