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Murderers request new trials

Pair convicted in 2010 of killing 2-year-old

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POSTED: February 26, 2014 10:12 a.m.

Convicted murderers Corey Allan Brown and Andrea Renee Wilson requested new trials Monday in a hearing before Superior Court Judge Jay Stewart at the Liberty County Justice Center in downtown Hinesville.
The two were convicted in 2010 of killing Wilson’s 31-month-old cousin, Prince C. Davis, in 2007 at their Riceboro home. Wilson and Brown were found guilty of two counts of felony murder and two counts of cruelty to children. The death penalty was withdrawn from the case just prior to the trial, court officials said. Both Brown and Wilson are serving life sentences without the possibility of parole.
The court was informed Brown had requested a continuance. Wilson’s current attorney, Robert Persse, argued his client should have a new trial because her original counsel had been ineffective.
Persse said Wilson’s former attorneys, Richard Darden and Brian Daly, had failed to object when detectives repeated co-defendant Brown’s comments that he and Wilson had believed the child victim to be demonically possessed and used prayer oil on him in preparation for an exorcism. Darden said he should have objected, and Daly said his failure to object was a “Bruton” issue.
Bruton is defined as, “the violation of a criminal defendant’s constitutional right of confrontation,” according to the website uslegal.com. “An accused has the right to confront and cross-examine the government’s witnesses against him or her. This right is guaranteed by the Sixth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. In Bruton v. United States, 391 U.S. 123 (U.S. 1968), it was held that the constitutional right of a defendant is violated if a confessing defendant’s statement is used against a non-confessing defendant at their joint trial.”
Assistant District Attorney Melissa Poole said the Bruton standard was not violated because Wilson later testified herself to preparing the boy for exorcism.
Persse added his client’s former lawyers also should have objected to the charge of felony murder, claiming the charge was not adequate regarding the end cause of the child’s death.
The Courier previously reported that during Wilson and Brown’s trial, Georgia Bureau of Investigations Medical Examiner and Forensic Pathologist Dr. Jamie Downs had described the boy’s injuries in detail. Downs testified the injuries he found on the child’s brain during autopsy were caused by blunt force trauma. Downs also described finding blood iron in Davis’ eyes, marks across the child’s body, a rotted toe and internal injuries within the cervical thoracic cavity.
Poole said the felony murder charge was adequate and that causation was proven during the trial. Causation is “the relationship of cause and effect of an act,” according to uslegal.com. Causation also can be established “if an injury would not have been caused but for the conduct of the defendant,” the legal definition website states.
The judge asked the defense and prosecution to each submit a brief to the court in 14 days.
Murder suspect Justin Deon Gordon also appeared before Stewart, requesting a bond reduction, which was denied. Gordon’s bond is set at a total of $75,000.
Gordon is accused of stabbing and killing Davis Williams Jr., in January 2013. Gordon allegedly stabbed Williams, who was leaving a birthday party at Ernest and Corine Park on Lewis Frasier Road in Midway. Williams had been stabbed multiple times in the back.


 

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