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News from the Courthouse

         On Friday January 31st, Judge E.M. Wilkes III, situated in front of the three pillars pronouncing Wisdom, Justice and Moderation began his day with a packed courtroom. Many arraignments were heard and cases set for trial dates. Then came the guilty pleas from various defendants.

Steven Dewayne Pearsey, dressed in Appling County Correctional orange pled guilty to possession of cocaine. In August of 2011 Pearsey was observed by an officer in a known drug area blinking his car lights off and on. The officer upon speaking with Pearsey discovered he was driving with a revoked license and was in possession of drugs.
As part of a plea agreement with the state Pearsey will serve 5 years on probation.
Also part of that same agreement he was ordered to pay fees and fines.

Most of the defendants on this day were ordered to pay the same fines and fees. They are as follows: $50.00 for Law Enforcement Training, $150.00 Jail Construction Fee, $75.00 Victim Witness Assessment, $50.00 Crime Lab Fee, $50.00 Indigent Defense Application Fee, and $150.00 Indigent Defense Fee.  
Leslie Kyle Butler pled guilty to Theft by Taking stemming from an incident in which Butler stole a calf from a local dairy. Butler was given probation and ordered to pay the aforementioned fines and fees.
Tramayne Therone Walker pled guilty under the 1st offender act in regards to a February 2013 arrest for Possession of cocaine that was the result of a routine traffic stop. The defendant was a passenger in the vehicle pulled over. When the officer observed Walker acting odd he deployed the Canine Unit, which indicated drugs on the passenger side of the vehicle. Walker will serve 3 years probation as part of a plea agreement and pay a $1500.00 fine in addition to the previously mentioned fines and fees.
Judge Wilkes, during discussions with the defendant explained that under the 1st offender law that “If you come back (on another charge) it will not be a good day in your life”
Heaven Leigh Manning, pled guilty under the 1st offender act for possession of cocaine. On May 2, 2012 Ms. Manning was pulled over and sited for DUI at that time she was found to be in possession of cocaine.  As part of her plea agreement she will serve 3 years probation, pay a $1500.00 fine as well as a $750.00 Drug Abuse Treatment Education Fee, which Judge Wilkes mentioned would also pertain to the previous defendant. This is a fine levied to pay for educating others on the suffering associated with drug use.
David Trenton Kersey pled guilty to theft by shoplifting. In January of 2013 Mr. Kersey was observed inside Wal-Mart putting various merchandise into a box in order to conceal and steal, including a computer of some sort. The items were valued at $586.34. Mr. Kersey had already served 6 months in jail after his arrest. As part of his plea agreement he will serve an additional 4 ½ years probation, pay a $1500.00 additional fine. He is also banned from Wal-Mart for the duration.  This was not a first offense.
Mary Amanda Souza was arrested in September 2012 on a warrant. When she was searched at the jail pills were found in her possession. When sent off for testing the pills were determined to be Methadone and Oxycodone. Souza was sentenced as a first offender to 3 years probation to be served concurrent on each count. She will also pay a $1500.00 fine in addition to regular fees and fines.

Elvie Allen Stone was convicted in Brunswick, GA in 2003 of selling methamphetamine, a felony. As a result he is not supposed to possess a firearm. On November 3, 2012 Stone was deer hunting near County Farm / Prentiss Road when a DNR agent approached him. Stone volunteered that he was not supposed to have the weapon in his possession. Stone plead guilty to Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon. He was sentenced to 5 years probation and ordered to pay an additional $1500.00 fine.
Jessica Lynne Andrew in her orange jump suit appeared to answer 3 cases before the court.
In December 2012, Andrew was cleaning a home in Baxley for pay. She took the Bank Card of the person she was working for without permission and charged $121.75 at Wal-Mart.
In January 2013, during a routine traffic stop the drug dog alerted and Andrew was found in possession of Cocaine and Hydromorphone (a derivative of the morphine family)
On September 24, 2013, a warrant was served at a residence on Tupelo Circle. The bedroom occupied by Ms. Andrew contained methamphetamines.
As part of the plea agreement Andrew pled guilty to Financial Transaction Fraud. She received 3 years probation (to run concurrent with all other charges) and ordered to pay $121.75 restitution on that case. Seven years probation was ordered in response to the guilty plea on Possession of Cocaine and Hydromorphone. The defendant was also ordered to serve 180 days in PDC (Probation Detention Center) OR upon acceptance into and successful completion of a Residential Drug Treatment Facility the 180 days will be waived. In addition to the seven years probation a $2000.00 fine was also assessed. She also pled guilty to Possession of Methamphetamine and received 3 years probation to run concurrently as well.
Ms. Andrew is also responsible for court cost on each case. Her attorney John Lockwood asked for and was granted extra time for his client to pay all fines and fees.  Jessica was returned to the jail.
James Edward Smith was charged with 2 counts of aggravated assault stemming from a June 2013 incident near a park on Bay Street. Smith was riding on a bicycle and threatened a couple in the park telling them he was going to shoot them and brandishing a weapon. The couple called police who subsequently located and questioned Smith. Officers found Smith in possession of a BB gun that looked like a regular pistol. Smith was allowed to plea to 2 counts of making terroristic threats with the stipulation that he immediately leave Appling County upon release and remove himself from the state of Georgia within ten days. He also agreed not to re-enter the state during his ten years of probation (5 years per case to run consecutively).
In all of the above mentioned cases Judge Wilkes informed the defendants that they would be waiving their 4th Amendment rights with a guilty plea. The Fourth Amendment (Amendment IV) to the United States Constitution is the part of the Bill of Rights that prohibits unreasonable searches and seizures and requires any warrant to be judicially sanctioned and supported by probable cause. All defendants agreed to give up that right and allow probation officers as well as any law enforcement officer to search their person, vehicle or residence without a warrant.

Three additional inmates of Appling County Jail were brought before the court to be explained their rights before proceeding to trial February 18th. The charges pending include Sexual Battery, Burglary and Assault.  

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