Judge questions first trial

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The judge who will decide if six men convicted in one of Augusta's biggest criminal trials in 2001 are entitled to new trials focused prosecutors' and defense attorneys' attention Wednesday on three potential trouble spots in the original trial.

It was a complicated Richmond County Superior Court racketeering case. Six men were convicted of playing various roles in a criminal enterprise that included a double homicide. In addition, two of the defendants also faced charges associated with the brutal 1998 slaying of Sam's Club Manager David Holt.

At the end of the two-day hearing Wednesday, Judge Neal W. Dickert outlined those points he had the most questions about, beginning with the combination of the Sam's Club crimes and the racketeering case.

Judge Dickert, who inherited the case from Senior Judge Bernard J. Mulherin Sr., said he wanted to hear what prosecutors thought was right and the defendants' attorneys thought was wrong about the trial judge's refusal to split the case.

In addition, he pressed the sides to stake their positions on what more, if anything, should happen because potentially damning evidence arose for the first time in a closing statement.

Judge Dickert also asked the attorneys to weigh in about District Attorney Danny Craig's attack on one of the defendants for deciding not to present an expected alibi.

Carlston Coleman, Ronald Coleman, Jarman Harold, Charles D. Winters, Kendric Dudley and Ronnie B. Overton were each convicted of violating the state's Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act. That charge included aspects of the July 1997 slayings of two young men, Ryan J. Singh and Manuel B. Arroyo.

The Colemans, who are not related, were the only defendants accused and convicted of the Sam's Club crimes.

Murder charges have never been filed in Aiken County, where Mr. Holt's remains were found in the trunk of his burning car, or in Warren County, where the remains of Mr. Singh and Mr. Arroyo were found in the trunk of a burned car.

Judge Dickert set a schedule for when attorneys are required to submit their positions in writing. After a transcript of this week's hearing is prepared, the defendants' attorneys have 60 days. The prosecution will have 30 more days to respond. Once he receives all the briefs, Judge Dickert will decide if any of the defendants are entitled to a new trial.

The Colemans, who are serving two life sentences plus 65 years, are now represented by Barbara Claridge and Michael Waddington.

Mr. Harold, Mr. Winters, Mr. Dudley and Mr. Overton - who are now serving 20-year prison sentences - are now represented by attorneys William Sussman, Jeannie Hyatt, William M. Fleming and Randolph Frails, respectively.

Reach Sandy Hodson at (706) 823-3226 or sandy.hodson@augustachronicle.com.

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patriciathomas
42
Points
patriciathomas 05/17/07 - 05:27 am
0
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As long as the state isn't

As long as the state isn't footing the bill for all or any of the convicted felons lawyers, everything is going fine. If the state has to support the legal entertainment of the incarcerated there is a problem.

pantherluvcik
628
Points
pantherluvcik 05/17/07 - 06:10 am
0
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If they were wrongfully

If they were wrongfully prosecuted the state should foot the bill. They were entitled to a fair trial, and if one was not provided they should be granted another trial. The cases should have been split, without a doubt. If they were not all charged with both cases they should have been tried in different trials.

Honden
2
Points
Honden 05/17/07 - 07:09 am
0
0
When all is said and done I

When all is said and done I expect the convictions to be affirmed

Khaaaaaan
2
Points
Khaaaaaan 05/17/07 - 08:22 am
0
0
The DA is going to do what

The DA is going to do what the presiding Judge allows him to do. If there were errors in the original trial, it is Judge Mulherin's fault.

blaqbird07
4
Points
blaqbird07 05/17/07 - 04:31 pm
0
0
If they release these guys

If they release these guys back into the streets of Augusta, then we have a really screwed up Court system in Richmond County. I know each of them very well. They were all bad then and they are all bad now! Say what you want about my comment. These guys did the crime. Some of them admit to it. So whay is tax payers money being wasted to grant a new trial?

mable8
2
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mable8 05/18/07 - 01:32 pm
0
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Just another muck-up by Danny

Just another muck-up by Danny Craig.

cindy207d
0
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cindy207d 09/01/07 - 02:00 am
0
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These young men are

These young men are individuals and should have been tried separately. I attended the trial and Judge Mulherin took several naps duing the trail so how could he be objective. I remember doing the sentencing Danny Craig stood before the Judge and said he didn't know what part one of the defendents played, but he knew he played a part. That like accusing someone of a crime without motive, witnesses, or evidence. I thought you had to have proof and evidence to convict a person of a crime. Is it possible to get a fair trial in Augusta. By the way its been about 90 days how much longer will it take to rule these young men need a new trial.

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