Bond hearings held this week -- here's who got out and who didn't
- Written by Kristen Kitchens
- Published in News
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Nearly 50 inmates in the Coffee County Jail appeared in court for bond hearings this week, with Judge Andy Spivey being required to grant a 90-day bond to Steve Sellers, who is accused of lighting his ex-girlfriend’s clothes on fire. Many of the individuals were denied release, including Devon Mack, a suspect in the recent Baymeadows shooting incident, and Ernest Knighton, a man who is accused of recently robbing a convenience store at gunpoint for the second time since 2014.
At the end of June, Sellers, 42, of Douglas, made headlines after his ex-girlfriend said she returned to her home and saw the right side of her front porch in flames. The victim reported that a pile of her clothes were on the ground next to the porch and had been lit on fire. After speaking to a witness and further investigation, Sellers was charged with arson in the second degree and criminal damage to property. He also received one count of theft by taking for reportedly stealing two of the victim’s televisions from the residence.The morning after Sellers was taken into custody, he was denied bond in the magistrate court and has been in the Coffee County Jail waiting for his motion for release to be heard before a Superior Court judge.
Unlike the majority of the defendants on the calendar, Sellers appeared in court this week with a guaranteed bond due to his case not being indicted by a grand jury on the charges within 90 days. In Georgia, the 90-day statute gives a defendant the right to have their case presented before a grand jury to be indicted within 90 days of their arrest. The defendant is legally entitled to be released on bond if the case is not indicted by the deadline.
However, Sellers’ bond did not come without special conditions, which included a no-contact order with the victim in the case and a banishment from Coffee County while the case is pending, except to attend court appearances. The jail roster shows that he was released later that day after posting a $10,000 bond.
Three other defendants were also granted a 90-day bond, including Timothy Wooten, Robert Williams III, and Tremaine Clemons. Two of the men are accused of drug and firearm offenses, with Wooten charged with possession of a Schedule II controlled substance and possession of a firearm during the commission of a crime, and Williams facing one count of possession of a firearm by a first offender on probation and marijuana possession of less than 1 oz.
Clemons was arrested on one count of possession of cocaine with intent to distribute and one count of possession of methamphetamine with intent to distribute. In a separate local case, Clemons faces charges of marijuana with the intent to distribute and possession of a firearm during the commission of a crime.
Wooten and Williams have since been released on $25,000 bonds while Clemons remains behind bars, according to the jail's roster on Friday. Clemons’ bond was set at $75,000.
Ernest Knighton, one of the suspects charged with armed robbery at the same convenience store he was found guilty of robbing in 2014, was also denied bond this week. Knighton was recently arrested after an armed robbery was said to have occurred on August 17 at Circle K at Baker Highway and Peterson Avenue. Officials with the Douglas Police Department released photos of the suspects, with Knighton taken into custody the following day on a charge of armed robbery. The twist in the case: Knighton was released from prison in 2018 after being convicted of robbery at the same convenience store in 2014. In that incident, Knighton and his brother were accused of walking into the store with one of the men throwing a cup of hot coffee into the face and upper body of the female clerk and then forcing the cashier to give the money from the cash drawer. A jury trial was held in the case, with Knighton receiving a guilty verdict on charges of robbery and battery, which resulted in a five-year prison sentence.
Ethan Rogers, a local 61-year-old, was also denied bond and will remain in custody at the Coffee County Jail awaiting trial on two counts of child molestation. Rogers was denied bond in the magistrate's court the following morning and by Judge Andy Spivey in his hearing this week.
The only suspect in the recent Baymeadows shooting incident who was denied release in the magistrate's court, Devon Mack, was once again denied bond by Judge Andy Spivey. CCSO officials released a statement on September 6, stating deputies were dispatched to the subdivision on September 3 after receiving several reports of gunshots being fired in the area. Through an investigation, investigators reported that two young men, Mack and Parker Hines, had been involved in an altercation. Mack allegedly struck Hines on the head with a handgun and then opened fire on another individual, Dejon Fussell, which led to several homes in the surrounding area being struck by the bullets. Mack was one of the three suspects charged in the case, and will remain in jail awaiting trial.
Rusty Spell of Broxton, accused of his third offense of theft since May 2021, will not be released following a bond hearing this week. In his newest case, Spell allegedly stole a cargo trailer from a local business, which is the same crime he was out on bond for at the time after reportedly stealing a trailer from a different business in May 2021. He has also been charged several other times in connection to local thefts, and has spent time in prison for committing thefts and other crimes.
During this week’s hearings, Amanda Lott was one of the few defendants who made recent headlines who received a bond. She was arrested last month as the second suspect in connection with a case of arson and theft, where a local business truck and trailer were reportedly stolen and shot prior to being set on fire. Lott received a consent bond in the amount of $1,000.
The remaining defendants who were released on bond include: Darryl Harrison (reinstated bond) - possession of cocaine; Robert Williams III - possession of a firearm by first offender probationer and marijuana less than 1 oz.; James Nolan - criminal damage to property in the 2nd degree, criminal trespass, and obstruction of law enforcement; Melissa Wheeler - theft by shoplifting (2x); Jermaine Graham - possession of cocaine with intent to distribute, possession of methamphetamine with intent to distribute, possession of firearm by a convicted felon and theft by receiving stolen property; Tracie Lee - financial card fraud (9x); Joshua Lowry - purchase/possess/have under his control a controlled substance; Jennifer Marchman - purchase/possess/have under her control any controlled substance (2x); Takevion Strozier - possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony and possession of marijuana less than an ounce; Jeffery Bowen - failure to report address change as a sexual offender; Kimberly Thomas - criminal attempt to commit a felony and possession of a firearm or knife during the commission of or attempt to commit certain felonies; Susie Hall - exploit/inflict pain/deprive essential services to disabled person/elder person or resident; Zykirria Jackson - financial transaction card fraud (2x), forgery in the 4th degree misdemeanor, and forgery in the fourth degree felony.
The individuals who were denied bond include: Michael Stevens - possession of methamphetamine, DUI and exploitation and intimidation of disabled adult/elder/resident; Michael Ruis - theft by taking; Frankie Wade - terroristic threats and acts, criminal trespass, and harassing phone calls; John Gravino - theft by taking (6x), receipt/possession/transfer of a firearm by convicted felon (2x) and burglary in the 1st degree; Annilanet Dover - financial transaction card fraud and theft by receiving stolen property (misdemeanor); Roger Vincent - aggravated stalking; Stephen Martin - financial transaction card fraud (4x), exploit/inflict pain/deprive essential services to a disabled person or resident and forgery; Gustavo Valasquez-Zomora - possession of a schedule II controlled substance; Ashley Tanner - aggravated stalking; Skylar Mims - fleeing or attempting to elude police officers; Cameron Smith - interference with government property; Kevin Butler - trafficking methamphetamine and possession of marijuana with the intent to distribute; Craig Shivers - failure to report address change as a sexual offender; Shapiro Warren - possession of a firearm by convicted felon or felony first offender, possession of a firearm or a knife during the commission of or attempt to commit a crime and pointing or aiming a pistol at another; Devon Mack - aggravated assault; William Stevens - manufacturing with the intent to distribute, abandonment of certain dangerous drugs, poisons or controlled substances, and willful obstruction of law enforcement officer (misdemeanor); Tiffany Nolan - terroristic threats and acts and criminal trespass; Stanley Kirkland - burglary in the 2nd degree, party to a crime and theft by taking (misdemeanor) and Matthew Ansel - theft by taking.
During Wednesday’s proceedings, one of the men on the calendar seeking a bond, Earl Roger Knowles, pleaded guilty to possession of methamphetamine.
Criminal trials will take place next week, and DouglasNow will report which trials will be heard as soon as the information is released.
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