Murder, bribery trials near start

Several high-profile cases could go to trial early this year.


On today’s trial calendar are three men charged with the September 2010 homicide of Damion Alexander Collier.

Records show that Brandon White, Johnny Thibodeaux and Carron Winfrey, each charged with two counts of murder and possession of a firearm during the commission of a crime, have been in jail for more than 400 days.

Collier was fatally shot in the 1900 block of Second Avenue in what investigators think was a gang-related shooting.

Another trial expected in the coming weeks is David Fry, who was indicted on bribery charges after an offer authorities say he made to Augusta Commission members Alvin Mason and Corey Johnson. The indictment alleges that Fry offered a contract to operate a downtown parking deck if they voted to build the nearby Trade, Exhibit and Event Center.

Fry was scheduled to enter an Alford plea, which acknowledges a guilty verdict is likely but doesn’t admit guilt, in November.

Instead, the case was ordered to go to trial after neither the prosecution nor Fry’s attorney could agree on the definition of bribery.

The trial of Corey Smith is another one of the remaining unresolved homicides of 2010. Smith is charged with murder and rape in connection with the Augusta 2010 death of Pat Burley, a 55-year-old woman with Down syndrome who lived in a neighborhood off Laney-Walker Boulevard.

Smith was committed to a state hospital for a mental evaluation, but ordered back into local custody on Dec. 5 after he was found competent to stand trial.

Court records show Smith’s attorney filed motions Dec. 20 intending to raise a defense of mental incompetency and demanding a special jury trial.

A bench trial has been requested for Willie Ferrell, who is charged with following too closely, a misdemeanor, in connection with a wreck that gravely injured cyclist Ernest Tanner in August.

Tanner’s sister, Emelyn Hunter, said in December that Tanner is still recovering from the brain injuries he suffered in the wreck on Tobacco Road.



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