A Fort Stewart soldier who claimed his wife committed suicide was found guilty of murder after the jury rendered its verdict Dec. 9.
It took the jury about six and a half hours to find Perry Lee Hatcher guilty on one count of felony murder, one count of aggravated assault and one count of cruelty to children in the third degree.
Hatcher will be sentenced at a hearing tentatively scheduled for January, according to court records.
The jury was selected Dec. 5 and opening statements got under way after they were sworn in. The trial was heard by Liberty County Superior Court Judge Charles P. Rose.
The trail took place two years after Hatcher called 911 telling police that his wife, Dashea Hatcher had committed suicide after a domestic dispute on Nov. 5, 2014 at their apartment at 744 South Main Street in Hinesville.
But police became suspicious from the start when details provided by Hatcher at the time of the crime didn’t fit the autopsy report or evidentiary
findings by Hinesville Police Detective Cpl. Gail Poulsen, former Detective Major Thomas Cribbs and Detective Joshua Heath.
Atlantic Judicial Circuit Assistant District Attorney Abigail Long presented the case on behalf of the state.
She said the state presented testimony with the assistance of about seven expert witnesses that corroborated what they suspected since the preliminary hearing held two years earlier Dec. 22, 2014, including evidence that pointed to Dasher as the shooter.
Poulsen testified Hatcher was involved with another woman during his marriage and that Dashea Hatcher was preparing to take their child to her mother’s house.
Poulsen said Dashea Hatcher even went as far as to change her profile photo on Facebook to that of her child and called her husband a joke on the night of her death.
Public Defender John Ely represented Hatcher. He brought forward expert witnesses to support the claim Dashea Hatcher suffered from depression. Ely presented evidence that Dashea Hatcher had visited her doctor for postpartum depression after the birth of their child in September 2014.
Ely noted Dashea Hatcher was taking hydrocodone. He also questioned whether his client was properly arrested, interviewed and read his Miranda Rights.
The maximum sentence for felony murder is life without parole.