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Judge to consider retrial

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A Superior Court judge agreed Friday to consider a motion to retry a man convicted of killing a Grovetown resident during a home invasion.



A Columbia County jury had convicted Willie Bernard Butler, 20, in the September 2008 murder of Rickey Gibson, 33, in his Grovetown home. Judge James G. Blanchard Jr. sentenced Butler and co-defendant Martin Napoleon Homes, 18, to life in prison.

During a hearing at the Evans courthouse, Victor Hawk, Butler's defense attorney, tried to persuade Blanchard to grant a motion giving Butler a second trial.

Hawk said Friday that Butler and Holmes should have been tried separately. He also contended that an eyewitness identification of Butler was flawed, testimony of a shoe print of the scene possibly belonging to Butler was too speculative, and Blanchard's decision to replace a juror during the trial for discussing the case with other jurors was inappropriate.

Assistant District Attorney Charles Sheppard argued that defendants accused of the same crime often are tried together and that the eyewitness identification of Butler is valid because he was near the crime scene not long after the incident. He said that partial shoe prints have been used as evidence in criminal trials for decades and that the judge had every right to remove a juror for discussing the case before all the evidence was presented.

Blanchard said he would consider the motion and decide "in a couple of days."

Butler, Holmes and three other men -- Karmbi Octavious Young, 20; Patrick Booker, 19; and Garland Ray Pittman, 15 -- were accused of killing Gibson.

Pittman was sentenced in April to 20 years in prison on a charge of voluntary manslaughter. He received an additional 10 years in prison for robbery and two five-year probation terms for two counts of possession of a firearm during the commission of a crime.

Booker was found guilty of burglary, armed robbery, two counts of aggravated assault and other charges in October 2009. The jury acquitted Booker of malice murder and couldn't reach a verdict on the felony murder charge. He was sentenced to life in prison.

A jury convicted Young of murder, armed robbery, burglary, kidnapping, two counts of aggravated assault, two counts of possession of a firearm during the commission of a crime and possession of marijuana in August 2010 and was sentenced to life in prison.

The jury found Butler and Holmes guilty of burglary, armed robbery, aggravated assault, kidnapping, hijacking a motor vehicle and possession of a firearm during the commission of a crime. Holmes also was found guilty of misdemeanor marijuana possession. In addition to life sentences, Blanchard handed down 20-year sentences on several of the other charges.

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hereinaugusta
0
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hereinaugusta 03/04/11 - 05:51 pm
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Good going Judge!Let it stand

Good going Judge!Let it stand

realitycheck09
312
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realitycheck09 03/04/11 - 08:53 pm
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The headline is a bit

The headline is a bit misleading. Motions for new trial are filed in almost every case. Just because the motion was made and argued doesn't mean that the "killer may get" a trial. Plus, a judge taking something under advisement is a nice way of saying "I haven't yet figured out how to articulate the reason I am denying defense counsel's motion."

sugarbutton
1122
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sugarbutton 03/05/11 - 07:18 am
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I know a few people who have

I know a few people who have been through enough since Sept 08. Guilty is guilty. This is not what I want to hear about on a Saturday morning when life is just starting to get back to normal. I'll just keep praying like I've been doing and God will sort out the rest.

WoodyKaminer
2
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WoodyKaminer 03/05/11 - 08:55 am
1
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Is it just me, or is

Is it just me, or is something wrong with these 2 sentences? Booker was found guilty of burglary, armed robbery, two counts of aggravated assault and other charges in October 2009 and sentenced to life in prison. Young was found guilty of armed robbery, burglary, two counts of aggravated assault, two counts of possession of a firearm during the commission of a crime, possession of marijuana, KIDNAPPING AND MURDER, and was sentenced to life in prison! How can someone that kidnapped and murdered someone get the same life sentence as someone who didnt? Great Justice system we have in place.

sugarbutton
1122
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sugarbutton 03/05/11 - 09:23 am
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Woody, you need alot more

Woody, you need alot more details to understand all of this. There's just some details that people don't need to know. It's futile. The man is dead and left behind children who don't need to be exposed to it all over again. The memories of it are traumatic enough the first go round.

realitycheck09
312
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realitycheck09 03/05/11 - 11:42 am
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Woody - the max penalty for

Woody - the max penalty for armed robbery is life. Same for murder (in a non death penalty case). Hence the reason they got the same sentence.

Glad they changed the headline.

WoodyKaminer
2
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WoodyKaminer 03/05/11 - 12:35 pm
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So whats wrong with 2 life

So whats wrong with 2 life sentences? That way parole would be harder to achieve. Lets face the facts: average years spent in prison on a life sentence is 7 years. Average time spent in prison for armed robbery is 10 years. Seems to me that you got a better chance of getting out of prison quicker if you kill them than if you just rob them.
Sugarbutton, arent the details what were supposed to find out?

hopple
9
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hopple 03/05/11 - 04:21 pm
0
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All of the necessary details

All of the necessary details pertaining to the conviction of the individuals who committed these acts were found out...sometimes there are other still living victims involved in cases like this...and when things are called into question...then that just opens old wounds for the family and friends of the living and deceased victims...if you knew sugarbutton, woody, then you wouldn't be saying things like that...if you knew the whole story the way that some people in this world knew it...then you would know why she said what she said

realitycheck09
312
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realitycheck09 03/05/11 - 06:38 pm
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Woody - that used to be true.

Woody - that used to be true. In Georgia, the law now requires you to do 30 years on a life sentence before you are eligible for parole. So, the 7 year thing is no longer accurate.

sugarbutton
1122
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sugarbutton 03/05/11 - 08:02 pm
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Thank you

Thank you realitycheck....this is such a touchy subject I don't even want to go into sometimes. People are so judgemental but are not usually nearly as wise as they are quick to judge. I rarely only comment about something that touches home, but many times it's turned around on you. It's all too common to think they know what someone else is feeling, but living it day to day is a different story. Clarification usually nips them in the bud.

ndpendent
6
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ndpendent 08/03/12 - 01:36 pm
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BOOKER WAS FOUND NOT GUILTY

BOOKER WAS FOUND NOT GUILTY OF A MURDER BECAUSE THEY HAD NO PROOF OF HIM KILLING ANYONE... THEY HAD FALSE WITNESSES AND NO EVIDENCE TO CHARGE HIM WITH MURDER BECAUSE THEY COULDNT PLACE HIM AT THE SCENE...SO HOW THE JUDGE CHARGE HIM WITH ARMED ROBBERY AND OTHER CHARGES HIS EVIDENCE PROVED HIM INNOCENT.....THIS IS A RACIAL MATTER... THATS WHY THEY TRIAL THEM SEPARATE...BECAUSE IF THEY WOULD HAVE BEEN TOGETHER... SOME OF THEM BOYS WOULD HAVE WALKED...

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