Men convicted of Grovetown murder

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A Columbia County jury convicted two Augusta men Friday of murder, and each was sentenced to life in prison.

After more than seven hours of deliberation, the jury found Willie Bernard Butler, 20, and Martin Napoleon Holmes, 18, guilty in the September 2008 killing of 33-year-old Rickey Gibson in his Grovetown home.

Mr. Butler, Mr. Holmes and three other men -- Karmbi Octavious Young, 20; Patrick Booker, 19; and Garland Ray Pittman, 15 -- were accused of killing Mr. Gibson during a home invasion. A jury convicted Mr. Young in August.

In addition to felony and malice murder charges, the jury found Mr. Butler and Mr. Holmes guilty of burglary, armed robbery, aggravated assault, kidnapping, hijacking a motor vehicle and possession of a firearm during the commission of a crime. Mr. Holmes also was found guilty of misdemeanor marijuana possession.

Superior Court Judge James G. Blanchard Jr. sentenced the men to life in prison and handed down 20-year sentences on many of the other charges.

Mr. Butler's defense attorney, Victor Hawk, said he likely would use Judge Blanchard's dismissal of a juror on Thursday as grounds for an appeal.

The man the court referred to as Juror 12 was dismissed for discussing the case with other jurors and possibly proclaiming that he believed the defendants were innocent.

Judge Blanchard said all jurors were told before the trial they were not to discuss the case before jury deliberations and not to form an opinion before all the evidence was presented.

When questioned by Judge Blanchard, Juror 12 said he didn't feel like the prosecution made its case and that he recognized Mr. Gibson from a photo introduced into evidence.

However, Juror 12 never admitted that he proclaimed Mr. Butler and Mr. Holmes innocent.

He also told the judge he believed he could refrain from forming an opinion until time for deliberations.

Based on that statement, Mr. Hawk and Mr. Holmes' attorney, Alexia Davis, argued that he should remain on the jury.

Reach Donnie Fetter at (706) 868-1222, ext. 115, or donnie.fetter@augustachronicle.com.

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Just me 2
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Just me 2 10/03/09 - 07:29 am
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They should not get life in

They should not get life in prison. They took the life of another human being. The person they killed was in his own home. They should get the death penalty and it should be very, very soon! WHY
would our justice system GIVE them LIFE when they took life from another???

Doyougetitnow
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Doyougetitnow 10/03/09 - 08:27 am
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A lot of people close to this

A lot of people close to this are wondering the same thing just me.

corgimom
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corgimom 10/03/09 - 09:28 am
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Death cases are very

Death cases are very expensive to prosecute and they bankrupt counties. And they frequently are overturned, especially when you have a situation like Juror #12.

MyOpinion2
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MyOpinion2 10/03/09 - 10:20 am
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What if …..what if I get

What if …..what if I get caught? Do you kids ever ask yourself that? Is that big screen TV, Xbox, etc., really worth losing 3, 5, 10 perhaps 20 years to spend in a tiny jail cell? Or breaking into a vehicle for a cell phone or GPS? And having it going on your record, it is hard enough to get a job with a clean record let alone one with marks on it. I personally cannot see myself behind bars for any length of time, therefore; I will NOT commit a crime. Think of the pain/money your parents will have to bare. Ask yourself if you can see yourself behind bars? It just may happen, you may NOT be as invincible as you think.

overburdened_taxpayer
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overburdened_taxpayer 10/03/09 - 11:10 am
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Thugs only care about the

Thugs only care about the thug life. They have bolstered their creds and if all go to the same prison they will probably be in part of the hierarchy. It's a thugs life for them.

ANOTHER-PERSON
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ANOTHER-PERSON 10/03/09 - 11:13 am
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to: myopinion2. this was not

to: myopinion2. this was not about kids jus stealing an x-box or breaking into a car. yea that is probably how they began their criminal career. this was murder. poeple can say what they wnt to about the "victim" in this case, however regardless of what anyone may have thought about his lifestyle, he was a person that alot of people cared about and miss dearly. i sympathize with the fact that these "kids" probably grew up on the streets. by that i am implying a complete lack of parental supervision. life on the streets these days are hard enough on kids especially when they feel like they have to be "hard" infront of the older crowd. but now a man's life has been taken from him and 5 will sit in prison for the rest of their lives. everyone loses.... my sympathies to all families and loved ones involved. to the friends of these guys, take this as a lesson. how do you plan on spending your next 70 years?

corgimom
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corgimom 10/08/09 - 03:30 pm
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Myopinion, your post makes

Myopinion, your post makes absolute sense. But they don't think that way. It's all about THEM. Antisocial behavior.

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