Saturday, January 28

Atlanta rappers Young Thug, Gunna will remain in jail for now


Young Thug, whose real name is Jeffrey Williams, did not enter a formal plea Monday. His attorneys’ request for bond was postponed until early next month pending a motion by the state to have attorney Brian Steel disqualified as Williams’ counsel because he represents others named in the 56-count indictment.

ExploreYoung Thug’s lawyers file emergency bond motion, cite ‘torturous’ jail conditions

A hearing to discuss the potential conflict and Williams’ bond request has been scheduled for June 2.

The musicians are accused of conspiring to violate Georgia’s criminal racketeering law, but the indictment outlines more serious crimes allegedly carried out by their associates ranging from drug possession to murder. Attorneys for both rappers strongly deny the allegations.

In asking to have Kitchens released from jail, defense attorney Steve Sadow said his client was willing to put up $750,000 bond and five houses as collateral, including his mother’s Fulton County home and his father’s house in Muscogee County.

He said Kitchens offered to await trial on house arrest and gave the state permission to monitor the rapper’s cellphone and computer activity in the meantime. The judge denied bond, siding with prosecutors who said those named in the indictment pose a “significant threat” to the community.

“He’s not charged with any act of violence, selling any drugs or obstructing the administration of justice,” Sadow said. “He is charged with just one count.”

Geary said Kitchens, along with Williams, was a founding member of “Young Slime Life,” which prosecutors say is a criminal street gang started more than a decade ago in southwest Atlanta.

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“They’ve got their troops,” Geary said in court. “They direct their troops into combat. They are not the ones that fire the bullets.”

ExploreFulton DA casts rapper Young Thug’s indictment as victory against crime

Sadow, who said his goal is to get Kitchens exonerated, argued it would be tough to cross-examine state’s witnesses if they couldn’t make it to trial.

Nearly a dozen people charged in the indictment were denied bond Monday morning over their attorneys’ objections.

Lawyers for the rappers contend YSL, or Young Stoner Life, is simply a record label, not a street gang as prosecutors allege. In trying to convince the judge to deny bond, Geary found himself repeating the sometimes violent rap lyrics prosecutors are using to help charge the men.

Attorney Marc Mallon, who represents Martinez Arnold, said musical expression doesn’t necessarily amount to criminal activity.

“It’s up to a jury to decide whether this is evidence or this is braggadocio,” he told the judge.

Glanville has scheduled the trial for Jan. 9, 2023.

Former DeKalb County District Attorney Robert James said if prosecutors intend to use lyrics, they need to make sure there is an actual link between the lyrics and the crime.

“Lyrics themselves are not criminal so it’s not a crime to say violent things on a record or to talk about violence on a record or even talk about it in public,” James said in an interview with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “(Fulton District Attorney Fani Willis’) staff is going to try to link some of the things said on the records to something that happened in some of the acts or some of the cases they are using to make the RICO case. Otherwise, it doesn’t have a whole lot of relevance.”

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James said the more similar the lyrics are to the actual crime, the more likely a judge will allow it to be admissible and the more likely a jury will consider it. If they can’t find the connection, the defense can argue he is just an entertainer.

“The only way you get around that, as a district attorney, is to be able to link these things up specifically with specific details,” he said. “If you can’t, you got a problem.”

James, who was DeKalb County District Attorney from November 2010 to December 2016, said it’s common for social media posts to be used in gang cases. While DA, James said the gang unit would spend a lot of times going through alleged gang members social media to find anything that could help a case. Similar to lyrics, James said social media posts need to have a connection as well.

APD Continues its Crackdown on Gangs and Repeat Offenders- Gang Enforcement Detail Leads to Arrest of Wanted SuspectnnThe Atlanta Police Department continues its mission to reduce crime, and hold gang members and repeat offenders accountable. On 5/18/2022, the APD Gang Unit, along with Zone 1, Zone 4, F.I.T., and A.C.E. conducted an enforcement detail in various zones throughout the city. The detail began in Zone 4 with the immediate arrest of wanted larceny from auto suspect who was on the Larceny from the Auto Unit’s top 5 wanted list. Members of the Zone 4 F.I.T. were patrolling in the area of Pryor and M.L. King Jr. Dr. when they spotted a silver SUV being driven by wanted suspect Victavious Terrell. nnUnits attempted a traffic stop on the vehicle, but Terrell abandoned the car and ran off from officers. Officers successfully brought Terrell into custody after a short foot chase. Terrell is a documented gang member. He had outstanding warrants out of four different jurisdictions. Clayton County: Assault Strangulation, Possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony, Terroristic Threats. Sandy Springs: Aggravated Assault and Robbery, and Henry County warrants were for traffic offenses. Terrell had two warrants out of the city of Atlanta for Theft by Receiving and Financial Fraud. Inside the vehicle, two firearms were recovered both 9mm Glock handguns. The vehicle was impounded and both guns were turned into property. nnWe would like to thank and commend the APD Gang Unit, Zone 1 and Zone 4 F.I.T. Teams, and A.C.E. for a collaborative effort to arrest another dangerous criminal and keep our City of Atlanta streets safe. Criminals are on notice that if they come to our city to commit a crime, our team will find you, make the arrest, and escort you to jail. #DontDoTheCrimeIfYouCantDoTheTime

Posted by City of Atlanta Police Department on Monday, May 23, 2022

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According to Atlanta police, he was wanted on charges of assault strangulation, possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony and terroristic threats out of Clayton County. He also has warrants in Sandy Springs for aggravated assault and robbery, and Henry County for traffic offenses."},{"_id":"QNPYN4XZDZAPVDUZWXWXTJDEAU","additional_properties":{"inline_comments":[],"comments":[],"_id":1653340293042},"type":"text","content":"Inside the SUV, two 9mm handguns were found underneath the front passenger seat, the video revealed. The vehicle was impounded and both guns were confiscated. Police did not say if the SUV was stolen."},{"_id":"LTAFS2OSJRD6HMW76B73APREJY","additional_properties":{"inline_comments":[],"comments":[],"_id":1653340293043},"type":"text","content":"The Atlanta Journal-Constitution has reached out to authorities in Clayton County, Sandy Springs and Henry County for more information about the other warrants."},{"_id":"4CRPVAXDMFGKZOAYOEDCIA2K7Q","additional_properties":{"inline_comments":[],"comments":[],"_id":1653340293044},"type":"text","content":"— Please return to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution for updates."}],"display_date":"2022-05-23T22:28:20.807Z","headlines":{"basic":"WATCH: Gang member wanted in 3 counties arrested in Atlanta, cops say"},"first_publish_date":"2022-05-23T22:28:20.807Z","taxonomy":{"sections":[{"path":"/news/crime","parent":{"default":"/news"},"_website":"ajc","parent_id":"/news","name":"Crime & Public Safety","description":"Crime in Atlanta: News and issues about crime, criminals, police and personal security in metro Atlanta. 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The boat followed and maintained contact with her until she could be pulled to safety."},{"subtype":"facebook-post","referent":{"referent_properties":{"additional_properties":{"comments":[],"_id":1653340174188}},"provider":"https://www.facebook.com/plugins/post/oembed.json/?url=","service":"oembed","id":"https://www.facebook.com/GwinnettFire/posts/415530417246787&locale=en_US","type":"facebook-post"},"_id":"F3REG3KI4ZAFBABYJ4O65QAQCM","raw_oembed":{"author_name":"Gwinnett County Fire and Emergency Services","author_url":"https://www.facebook.com/GwinnettFire","width":552,"html":"

n

Firefighters responded at 2:49 P.M. to a report of two stranded persons near the 6300 block of Cumming Highway NE in...

Posted by Gwinnett County Fire and Emergency Services on Sunday, May 22, 2022

","provider_url":"https://www.facebook.com","_id":"https://www.facebook.com/GwinnettFire/posts/415530417246787&locale=en_US","additional_properties":{"comments":[],"_id":1653340174188},"provider_name":"Facebook","type":"facebook-post","version":"1.0"},"type":"oembed_response"},{"_id":"HULCQMAETBC4FOHGX6JX4VTAJ4","additional_properties":{"inline_comments":[],"comments":[],"_id":1653340174189},"type":"text","content":"They were both taken to McGinnis Ferry Bridge, where emergency medical personnel were waiting. The daughter was treated and released to her father, but her mother was taken to the hospital. Gwinnett officials did not release further details about the nature of her injuries and have not shared any updates."},{"_id":"RQ2EYFN3IVAAZAO5HOCD2UWK7U","additional_properties":{"inline_comments":[],"comments":[],"_id":1653340174190},"type":"text","content":"“This incident serves as a good reminder that the National Park Service encourages everyone to wear Personal Flotation Devices (PFDs) whenever near rivers,” county officials said."},{"_id":"AO3OFZTX6VFCHAKPSURSJ7MY6M","additional_properties":{"inline_comments":[],"comments":[],"_id":1653340174191},"type":"text","content":"Information about the flow conditions of the Chattahoochee River below the Buford Dam can be found on the National Park Service’s website."}],"display_date":"2022-05-23T22:01:29.736Z","headlines":{"basic":"Mother, daughter recovering after being pulled from Chattahoochee in Gwinnett"},"first_publish_date":"2022-05-23T22:01:29.736Z","taxonomy":{"sections":[{"path":"/news/crime","parent":{"default":"/news"},"_website":"ajc","parent_id":"/news","name":"Crime & Public Safety","description":"Crime in Atlanta: News and issues about crime, criminals, police and personal security in metro Atlanta. 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The restaurant’s corporate entity, which has locations all over the world, is providing counseling for their employees and plans to continue to do so as long as it’s needed."},{"_id":"2PRLHRBJ5ZHP7J7Y4WNYLQSTNI","additional_properties":{"inline_comments":[],"comments":[],"_id":1653323673688},"type":"text","content":"The restaurant is also helping the security guard injured during the shooting and his family. The company said the decision to reopen was left for the local team in Atlanta to decide. Employees at the Buckhead location were paid their full salaries while the restaurant remained closed."},{"_id":"J4G6FTGGU5FBVMBEF6VKI4Q5YA","additional_properties":{"comments":[],"_id":"IVWALM4U3VEOFKTQJMYJW3LRIU"},"type":"interstitial_link","content":"‘It’s heartbreaking’: Loved ones seek answers in fatal police shooting at Buckhead restaurant","url":"https://www.ajc.com/news/crime/its-heartbreaking-love-ones-seek-answers-in-fatal-police-shooting-at-buckhead-restaurant/TKC7NQ3S4VAMFO3D7PPKOCOHZI/"},{"_id":"WVE53I6QR5DALF4JOXPFODMM7M","additional_properties":{"inline_comments":[],"comments":[],"_id":1653323673690},"type":"text","content":"Nygil Cullins, 22, was at Fogo de Chao Wednesday night when he was shot and killed by Atlanta police responding to the scene. Upon arrival, officers encountered Cullins near the bar."},{"_id":"HYZYVW3NFRB2VPQ5WUXLB7XE2M","additional_properties":{"inline_comments":[],"comments":[],"_id":1653323673691},"type":"text","content":"According to police, Cullins was uncooperative while trying to escort him out of the restaurant. One of the officers used a Taser, which had a negative effect on the Cullins. The struggle continue towards the front doors, where Cullins tried to leave but was tackled by a restaurant security guard."},{"_id":"5OTWYEVY5ZBGDKLEVTAXDVFU6Y","additional_properties":{"inline_comments":[],"comments":[],"_id":1653323673692},"type":"text","content":"According to Atlanta police, Cullins pulled out a gun, fired one shot and struck the guard. Officers responded to that shooting by fatally shooting Cullins. According to the GBI, Atlanta Police Officers Andrew Strutt and Alex Luebbehusen discharged their firearms."},{"_id":"AONCGCGKEZFEBA5IOFKKAFGOOU","additional_properties":{"inline_comments":[],"comments":[],"_id":1653335681148},"type":"text","content":"According to Georgia Peace Officer Standards and Training Council records, Luebbehusen joined the Atlanta Police Department as a cadet in June 2019 before becoming an officer in December 2019. He has no sanctions or investigations on his record and has received 15 hours of use of force training, including eight hours of use of deadly force training, and four hours of deescalation training over the past three years."},{"_id":"UH47UIWUMNDO5LMJCVDVOLXIBE","additional_properties":{"inline_comments":[],"comments":[],"_id":1653335681149},"type":"text","content":"Strutt started his law enforcement career at the State Board of Pardons and Paroles in 2013 before leaving in 2015 to join the Georgia Department of Community Supervision, where he remained until November 2019. Strutt joined APD as a cadet in December 2019 and became a peace officer in August 2020."},{"_id":"A6HOHBVKBZGFZJGE32QUP6WP2A","additional_properties":{"inline_comments":[],"comments":[],"_id":1653335681150},"type":"text","content":"According to his Georgia P.O.S.T. records, Strutt has received 20 hours of use of force and use of deadly force training and six hours of de-escalation training since joining law enforcement. Strutt has 40 hours of crisis intervention team training from 2014, while Luebbehusen has no mental health training on his Georgia P.O.S.T. record."},{"_id":"KI6J2RQXBFAR3CE623U2ENLGOM","additional_properties":{"inline_comments":[],"comments":[],"_id":1653323673693},"type":"text","content":"The GBI is investigating the incident."},{"owner":{"sponsored":false,"id":"ajc"},"address":{},"syndication":{},"caption":"Nygil Cullins, 22. was shot and killed by an Atlanta Police Officer at Fogo de Chao in Buckhead on Wednesday night.","source":{"system":"photo center","name":"AJC","edit_url":"","source_type":"staff","additional_properties":{"editor":"photo center"}},"taxonomy":{"associated_tasks":[]},"type":"image","distributor":{"mode":"reference","reference_id":"8aec2b8c-455c-4816-903d-79fc8fdf8019"},"version":"0.10.3","url":"https://cloudfront-us-east-1.images.arcpublishing.com/ajc/4E3P3V2C5VAWXDZTBB5HCY4MGE.jpg","licensable":false,"credits":{"affiliation":[],"by":[{"name":"Family photo","type":"author","byline":"Family photo"}]},"subtitle":"Nygil Cullins 2","width":1000,"_id":"4E3P3V2C5VAWXDZTBB5HCY4MGE","additional_properties":{"fullSizeResizeUrl":"/resizer/SyeHHD_AHdePC0QlZ0GigovLQvM=/arc-anglerfish-arc2-prod-ajc/public/4E3P3V2C5VAWXDZTBB5HCY4MGE.jpg","owner":"[email protected]","comments":[],"keywords":[""],"proxyUrl":"/resizer/SyeHHD_AHdePC0QlZ0GigovLQvM=/arc-anglerfish-arc2-prod-ajc/public/4E3P3V2C5VAWXDZTBB5HCY4MGE.jpg","originalUrl":"https://cloudfront-us-east-1.images.arcpublishing.com/ajc/4E3P3V2C5VAWXDZTBB5HCY4MGE.jpg","published":true,"resizeUrl":"/resizer/SyeHHD_AHdePC0QlZ0GigovLQvM=/arc-anglerfish-arc2-prod-ajc/public/4E3P3V2C5VAWXDZTBB5HCY4MGE.jpg","ingestionMethod":"manual","thumbnailResizeUrl":"/resizer/0d8w-1ymmGwWuYtajyHLVTSEl6Q=/300x0/arc-anglerfish-arc2-prod-ajc/public/4E3P3V2C5VAWXDZTBB5HCY4MGE.jpg","version":0,"originalName":"Nygil Cullins for crop.jpg_web.jpg","mime_type":"image/jpeg","restricted":false,"template_id":594,"galleries":[],"_id":"63QV7W7RKZCJRL3BKSOO7TIYCQ"},"created_date":"2022-05-19T17:11:25Z","last_updated_date":"2022-05-19T17:11:25Z","height":563,"image_type":"photograph"},{"_id":"RIW2NB2CJBDFBLA4KROW2JENVU","additional_properties":{"inline_comments":[],"comments":[],"_id":1653323673695},"type":"text","content":"Three 911 calls were released by Atlanta police regarding the shooting."},{"_id":"3VFX62CI6BHQ3OSSB5UXR475PU","additional_properties":{"inline_comments":[],"comments":[],"_id":1653323673696},"type":"text","content":"In the first of two calls made by the manager of the restaurant, Cullins is described as having a gun and “acting very weird.” The manager said Cullins never pointed the gun at any of his employees but was yelling at them and was drinking alcohol from the bar."},{"_id":"C5N6NO7C5FE45K5ZGVBWQCJ4OM","additional_properties":{"inline_comments":[],"comments":[],"_id":1653323673697},"type":"text","content":"During the call, the manager told the 911 operator that Cullins walked in but didn’t want to sit in the dining room. At the bar, Cullins tried to order the most expensive drink on the menu. According to the manager, Cullins walked to the salad bar and started grabbing food and continued yelling at the employees."},{"_id":"KNE2JZUJA5F2BBW3KKI5P7ENI4","additional_properties":{"comments":[],"_id":"M7VVV6YFMVH5XL623X2VP5PZXA"},"type":"interstitial_link","content":"Man killed at Buckhead steakhouse marks 50th police shooting in Georgia this year","url":"https://www.ajc.com/news/crime/officer-involved-in-shooting-near-upscale-buckhead-eatery-cops-say/UVEA4WWP3NGH5GFPNU3KG65ZXQ/"},{"_id":"KPJ4XLK7A5CHTB4ANFM7U6SOX4","additional_properties":{"inline_comments":[],"comments":[],"_id":1653323673699},"type":"text","content":"The manager told the 911 operator Cullins was wearing sunglasses. Almost 15 minutes after the initial call, the manager called 911 again and told the operator that Cullins had begun grabbing bottles from the bar and that he had a gun but had not pointed it to anybody."},{"_id":"GDB7VTIH6FEFTG5EOHHRACGAXM","additional_properties":{"inline_comments":[],"comments":[],"_id":1653323673700},"type":"text","content":"The first call was made at 7:09 p.m., while the second one at 7:24 p.m. According to the Atlanta Police Department, officers were dispatched at 7:29 p.m. and arrived at the restaurant at 7:36 p.m."},{"owner":{"id":"ajc"},"copyright":"2022 Atlanta Journal-Constitution","address":{"locality":"McDonough","region":"GA"},"caption":"May 19, 2022 McDonough - Mya Speller Cullins, mother of Nygil Cullins, reacts as she talks about her son on Thursday, May 19, 2022. Speller Cullins had called 911 hours before her son was shot and killed to get him transported to a mental health facility.","source":{"system":"AJC Freelancer","name":"AJC Freelancer","edit_url":"","source_type":"wires","source_id":"s3://ajc-arc-photo-integration/Freelancer/051922 FOGO SHOOTING HS05.jpg","additional_properties":{"editor":"photo center"}},"taxonomy":{"associated_tasks":["6286518f2906d538916326a8"],"seo_keywords":["AJC Freelancer"]},"type":"image","distributor":{"mode":"custom","name":"AJC Freelancer","category":"wires"},"version":"0.10.3","url":"https://cloudfront-us-east-1.images.arcpublishing.com/ajc/HME4SBQW4E2NI7HZKE2UV2CDYE.jpg","licensable":false,"credits":{"by":[{"name":"HYOSUB SHIN / AJC","type":"author"}]},"subtype":"Wires","subtitle":"Loved ones seek answers in fatal police shooting at Buckhead restaurant","width":3729,"_id":"HME4SBQW4E2NI7HZKE2UV2CDYE","additional_properties":{"fullSizeResizeUrl":"/resizer/Zh04dKOpPkDACj4VKAcxdVnbjEY=/arc-anglerfish-arc2-prod-ajc/public/HME4SBQW4E2NI7HZKE2UV2CDYE.jpg","iptc_source":"AJC","comments":[],"iptc_job_identifier":"6286518f2906d538916326a8","keywords":["family","police shooting","AJC Freelancer","Nygil Cullins","Mya Cullins"],"proxyUrl":"/resizer/Zh04dKOpPkDACj4VKAcxdVnbjEY=/arc-anglerfish-arc2-prod-ajc/public/HME4SBQW4E2NI7HZKE2UV2CDYE.jpg","takenOn":"2022-05-19T18:01:18Z","originalUrl":"https://cloudfront-us-east-1.images.arcpublishing.com/ajc/HME4SBQW4E2NI7HZKE2UV2CDYE.jpg","published":true,"resizeUrl":"/resizer/Zh04dKOpPkDACj4VKAcxdVnbjEY=/arc-anglerfish-arc2-prod-ajc/public/HME4SBQW4E2NI7HZKE2UV2CDYE.jpg","thumbnailResizeUrl":"/resizer/OhhNbW7qckRQvcATosEMn1HmvCU=/300x0/arc-anglerfish-arc2-prod-ajc/public/HME4SBQW4E2NI7HZKE2UV2CDYE.jpg","version":2,"originalName":"s3://ajc-arc-photo-integration/Freelancer/051922 FOGO SHOOTING HS05.jpg","mime_type":"image/jpeg","restricted":false,"galleries":[],"_id":"JFDCJ2NCZ5ECLIDMCPVOBOU5E4","iptc_title":"staff"},"created_date":"2022-05-19T19:26:06Z","last_updated_date":"2022-05-23T20:00:48Z","slug":"AAJC 051922 FOGO OFFICER SHOOTING FOLO","height":2505},{"_id":"JHJ6OTHS4NGAXMSC22GKY5L674","additional_properties":{"inline_comments":[],"comments":[],"_id":1653323673702},"type":"text","content":"Two hours before the initial call was made by the restaurant manager, Cullins’ mother, Mya Speller Cullins, had called 911 at 5:23 p.m. asking for assistance in transporting her son to a mental health institution, saying he was going through a manic episode. Cullins had been diagnosed with bipolar schizophrenia and other mental health issues."},{"_id":"DRZ6YYL3WRGPHA7KFJJG7U6CCA","additional_properties":{"inline_comments":[],"comments":[],"_id":1653323673703},"type":"text","content":"In 911 recordings released by the Atlanta Police Department, Speller Cullins can be heard telling the 911 operator that Cullins was talking to himself and hallucinating but was not violent and did not have a weapon. She specifically requested someone trained in dealing with people with mental health."},{"_id":"YLD5HJC46JBZ7JDLZ7KFWEJPTM","additional_properties":{"inline_comments":[],"comments":[],"_id":1653323673704},"type":"text","content":"The 911 operator can be heard saying paramedics were being sent to the Cullins’ apartment on Marietta Street. According to the Atlanta Police Department, first responders were not dispatched until 6:21 p.m., almost an hour after Speller Cullins made the call and arrived at the apartment on Marietta Street at 6:45 p.m., an hour and 22 minutes after the initial call was made and 24 minutes before the restaurant manager called 911."},{"_id":"H53BXE3OYBA3LO7YGCVQEMFTPM","additional_properties":{"inline_comments":[],"comments":[],"_id":1653336867323},"type":"text","content":"— Staff writer Caroline Silva contributed to this report."},{"_id":"NKIGQCCIHZAINCQWOCSVSQBYNI","additional_properties":{"inline_comments":[],"comments":[],"_id":1653336867324},"type":"text","content":"
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(Credit: Caroline Silva / [email protected])","type":"image","url":"https://cloudfront-us-east-1.images.arcpublishing.com/ajc/F7C3NGXQRJFJRDCPGGWPQ6DBMM.jpg","height":3024}},"canonical_url":"/news/crime/buckhead-restaurant-reopens-after-fatal-police-shooting-investigation-continues/RQDG7LGSENBKRB7UCSCLGPVV7Q/","_id":"RQDG7LGSENBKRB7UCSCLGPVV7Q"},{"content_elements":[{"_id":"CYQMUR3CJBHEPIIWNIWDLVYUPQ","additional_properties":{"inline_comments":[],"comments":[],"_id":1593365483154},"type":"text","content":"Two popular Atlanta rappers named in a sweeping gang indictment will remain behind bars for now."},{"_id":"PYIQTWSXI5AZHBH3KGFXMXVPMM","additional_properties":{"inline_comments":[],"comments":[],"_id":1653323459378},"type":"text","content":"Young Thug and Gunna were arrested earlier this month after a Fulton County grand jury handed up a sprawling indictment accusing the award-winning musicians of leading a criminal street gang responsible for much of the city’s violence."},{"_id":"M2PJNZSKKZGLVHP5NLVB6D7S4Q","additional_properties":{"comments":[],"_id":"3BONWEZ7WRE6RGASMLIGFLBV2M"},"type":"interstitial_link","content":"Young Thug arrested in Atlanta, named in gang indictment","url":"https://www.ajc.com/news/crime/breaking-young-thug-arrested-in-atlanta-charged-with-2-gang-counts/BIYGW7E37NDABA5N74QYLF3BYA/"},{"_id":"R4OZQN4C7BA5DA3P6ZKWENSIZ4","additional_properties":{"inline_comments":[],"comments":[],"_id":1653329434662},"type":"text","content":"Gunna, whose real name is Sergio Kitchens, pleaded not guilty at his arraignment hearing Monday morning but was denied bond after a Fulton County prosecutor told the judge several of the state’s witnesses are being intimidated."},{"owner":{"sponsored":false,"id":"ajc"},"address":{},"syndication":{},"caption":"Sergio Kitchens, who performs as hip-hop artist Gunna, was booked into the Fulton County Jail on Wednesday and is being held on a single count of conspiracy to violate the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act.","source":{"system":"photo center","name":"AJC","edit_url":"","source_type":"staff","additional_properties":{"editor":"photo center"}},"taxonomy":{"associated_tasks":[]},"type":"image","distributor":{"mode":"reference","reference_id":"8aec2b8c-455c-4816-903d-79fc8fdf8019"},"version":"0.10.3","url":"https://cloudfront-us-east-1.images.arcpublishing.com/ajc/WQV55WGIWRAD3PU7EXQAP6WY7A.jpg","licensable":false,"credits":{"affiliation":[],"by":[{"name":"Fulton County Sheriff's Office","type":"author","byline":"Fulton County Sheriff's Office"}]},"subtitle":"kitchens","width":1000,"_id":"WQV55WGIWRAD3PU7EXQAP6WY7A","additional_properties":{"fullSizeResizeUrl":"/resizer/3sl1KPG5hZHvUFPh0ZcvB2hj4-s=/arc-anglerfish-arc2-prod-ajc/public/WQV55WGIWRAD3PU7EXQAP6WY7A.jpg","owner":"[email protected]","comments":[],"proxyUrl":"/resizer/3sl1KPG5hZHvUFPh0ZcvB2hj4-s=/arc-anglerfish-arc2-prod-ajc/public/WQV55WGIWRAD3PU7EXQAP6WY7A.jpg","originalUrl":"https://cloudfront-us-east-1.images.arcpublishing.com/ajc/WQV55WGIWRAD3PU7EXQAP6WY7A.jpg","published":true,"resizeUrl":"/resizer/3sl1KPG5hZHvUFPh0ZcvB2hj4-s=/arc-anglerfish-arc2-prod-ajc/public/WQV55WGIWRAD3PU7EXQAP6WY7A.jpg","ingestionMethod":"manual","thumbnailResizeUrl":"/resizer/JRTjJEuREuqDE5zOW4JqxlFrRAg=/300x0/arc-anglerfish-arc2-prod-ajc/public/WQV55WGIWRAD3PU7EXQAP6WY7A.jpg","version":0,"originalName":"Mugshot Sergio Kitchens aka Gunna.jpg_web.jpg","mime_type":"image/jpeg","restricted":false,"template_id":594,"galleries":[],"_id":"MZEJKCWWB5BKTHYZIDSO2BMIAY"},"created_date":"2022-05-11T11:35:42Z","last_updated_date":"2022-05-11T11:35:42Z","height":563,"image_type":"photograph"},{"_id":"3C6BNIHVYVH5ZLVLE62XB3QWLQ","additional_properties":{"inline_comments":[],"comments":[],"_id":1653329434664},"type":"text","content":"“We have more than a few witnesses in this case who have already been threatened,” Don Geary told Judge Ural Glanville. “I’ve already got some witnesses who once cooperated but now refuse to.”"},{"_id":"Z2ESVQCBA5FQ3LPLILHREUKJKQ","additional_properties":{"inline_comments":[],"comments":[],"_id":1653323459379},"type":"text","content":"Young Thug, whose real name is Jeffrey Williams, did not enter a formal plea Monday. His attorneys’ request for bond was postponed until early next month pending a motion by the state to have attorney Brian Steel disqualified as Williams’ counsel because he represents others named in the 56-count indictment."},{"_id":"UGHN37ZN2ZA3VKNGYWQHP53WEA","additional_properties":{"comments":[],"_id":"K7EPMHH3DBBCVJY5PIZQ362EXU"},"type":"interstitial_link","content":"Young Thug’s lawyers file emergency bond motion, cite ‘torturous’ jail conditions","url":"https://www.ajc.com/news/crime/rapper-young-thugs-lawyers-file-emergency-bond-motion-cite-tortuous-conditions/TGIMMOWMBJGOHCN3524IL7EL2M/"},{"_id":"3226HEOMLNG7FMCHDVJUL3TKR4","additional_properties":{"inline_comments":[],"comments":[],"_id":1653329434667},"type":"text","content":"A hearing to discuss the potential conflict and Williams’ bond request has been scheduled for June 2."},{"_id":"R27A5YGGMZH2FDBA4JD7GQY5Z4","additional_properties":{"inline_comments":[],"comments":[],"_id":1653329434668},"type":"text","content":"The musicians are accused of conspiring to violate Georgia’s criminal racketeering law, but the indictment outlines more serious crimes allegedly carried out by their associates ranging from drug possession to murder. Attorneys for both rappers strongly deny the allegations."},{"_id":"4Q57XOT7T5GMDOECIZ5HAVW4LA","additional_properties":{"inline_comments":[],"comments":[],"_id":1653329434670},"type":"text","content":"In asking to have Kitchens released from jail, defense attorney Steve Sadow said his client was willing to put up $750,000 bond and five houses as collateral, including his mother’s Fulton County home and his father’s house in Muscogee County."},{"_id":"ZXUGEIUB7ZEXRKPQHYQ7QAUCMM","additional_properties":{"inline_comments":[],"comments":[],"_id":1653329434671},"type":"text","content":"He said Kitchens offered to await trial on house arrest and gave the state permission to monitor the rapper’s cellphone and computer activity in the meantime. The judge denied bond, siding with prosecutors who said those named in the indictment pose a “significant threat” to the community."},{"_id":"NQD7YGCAKRGOLABBNIZ47WBULQ","additional_properties":{"inline_comments":[],"comments":[],"_id":1653329434672},"type":"text","content":"“He’s not charged with any act of violence, selling any drugs or obstructing the administration of justice,” Sadow said. “He is charged with just one count.”"},{"_id":"UGW7DQGAFRFJLEHPUKL4MDSBDQ","additional_properties":{"inline_comments":[],"comments":[],"_id":1653329434673},"type":"text","content":"Geary said Kitchens, along with Williams, was a founding member of “Young Slime Life,” which prosecutors say is a criminal street gang started more than a decade ago in southwest Atlanta."},{"_id":"67ZEMPUYMFEJDGVDHMUEF62JUQ","additional_properties":{"inline_comments":[],"comments":[],"_id":1653329434674},"type":"text","content":"“They’ve got their troops,” Geary said in court. “They direct their troops into combat. They are not the ones that fire the bullets.”"},{"_id":"VKEL2L24BFD7NCULAE7ANOSZJI","additional_properties":{"comments":[],"_id":"KZQSREIH3JHIXLWWCEIXOETQAQ"},"type":"interstitial_link","content":"Fulton DA casts rapper Young Thug’s indictment as victory against crime","url":"https://www.ajc.com/news/crime/fulton-da-casts-young-thug-indictment-as-victory-against-violent-crime/52GAMULUVBCHRPOPETJJHRG6AU/"},{"_id":"HC7QL2JFUFBK5D32XLVCV5A4G4","additional_properties":{"inline_comments":[],"comments":[],"_id":1653329434676},"type":"text","content":"Sadow, who said his goal is to get Kitchens exonerated, argued it would be tough to cross-examine state’s witnesses if they couldn’t make it to trial."},{"_id":"XKAWRXENYBENZBS2C67D4RDDGU","additional_properties":{"inline_comments":[],"comments":[],"_id":1653329434677},"type":"text","content":"Nearly a dozen people charged in the indictment were denied bond Monday morning over their attorneys’ objections."},{"_id":"BTGETI5K2VHADJKL64MRSIQPEE","additional_properties":{"inline_comments":[],"comments":[],"_id":1653329434678},"type":"text","content":"Lawyers for the rappers contend YSL, or Young Stoner Life, is simply a record label, not a street gang as prosecutors allege. In trying to convince the judge to deny bond, Geary found himself repeating the sometimes violent rap lyrics prosecutors are using to help charge the men."},{"_id":"WTEAUEI4FFE7LKFG4IYUWMO7QU","additional_properties":{"inline_comments":[],"comments":[],"_id":1653329434679},"type":"text","content":"Attorney Marc Mallon, who represents Martinez Arnold, said musical expression doesn’t necessarily amount to criminal activity."},{"_id":"TY5XIAZS2JGHHGG76OJFRPA6YQ","additional_properties":{"inline_comments":[],"comments":[],"_id":1653329434680},"type":"text","content":"“It’s up to a jury to decide whether this is evidence or this is braggadocio,” he told the judge."},{"_id":"PIAOYKBFBZFYJJCJPHSNXXHURQ","additional_properties":{"inline_comments":[],"comments":[],"_id":1653329434681},"type":"text","content":"Glanville has scheduled the trial for Jan. 9, 2023."},{"_id":"JHULWMWCRRE2XFRODL4MVD5LEI","additional_properties":{"inline_comments":[],"comments":[],"_id":1653329674020},"type":"text","content":"Former DeKalb County District Attorney Robert James said if prosecutors intend to use lyrics, they need to make sure there is an actual link between the lyrics and the crime."},{"_id":"SZXLK4HRWFG35BVOSJJXGL63PY","additional_properties":{"inline_comments":[],"comments":[],"_id":1653329674021},"type":"text","content":"“Lyrics themselves are not criminal so it’s not a crime to say violent things on a record or to talk about violence on a record or even talk about it in public,” James said in an interview with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “(Fulton District Attorney Fani Willis’) staff is going to try to link some of the things said on the records to something that happened in some of the acts or some of the cases they are using to make the RICO case. Otherwise, it doesn’t have a whole lot of relevance.”"},{"_id":"UJB2DL35ZZBX3ARDIEHHOIHHKE","additional_properties":{"inline_comments":[],"comments":[],"_id":1653329674022},"type":"text","content":"James said the more similar the lyrics are to the actual crime, the more likely a judge will allow it to be admissible and the more likely a jury will consider it. If they can’t find the connection, the defense can argue he is just an entertainer."},{"_id":"YO5JEMNW5VCKROZP22AXHIKPFQ","additional_properties":{"inline_comments":[],"comments":[],"_id":1653329674023},"type":"text","content":"“The only way you get around that, as a district attorney, is to be able to link these things up specifically with specific details,” he said. “If you can’t, you got a problem.”"},{"_id":"PI6YS5OAMFBYNJIECD2YP2QGZM","additional_properties":{"inline_comments":[],"comments":[],"_id":1653329674024},"type":"text","content":"James, who was DeKalb County District Attorney from November 2010 to December 2016, said it’s common for social media posts to be used in gang cases. While DA, James said the gang unit would spend a lot of times going through alleged gang members social media to find anything that could help a case. Similar to lyrics, James said social media posts need to have a connection as well."}],"display_date":"2022-05-23T18:36:12.265Z","headlines":{"basic":"Atlanta rappers Young Thug, Gunna will remain in jail for now"},"first_publish_date":"2022-05-23T18:36:12.265Z","taxonomy":{"sections":[{"path":"/news/crime","parent":{"default":"/news"},"_website":"ajc","parent_id":"/news","name":"Crime & Public Safety","description":"Crime in Atlanta: News and issues about crime, criminals, police and personal security in metro Atlanta. 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The boy was taken to a hospital, and police said he is stable."},{"_id":"CU7YQADKSJATNEU4ILM2MIYLWY","additional_properties":{"inline_comments":[],"comments":[],"_id":1653314305829},"type":"text","content":"Police have not released any other information about the victim or what led up to the shooting. No suspects are in custody."},{"_id":"DH3AN6QV7JEFRD2VMC5USEISZI","additional_properties":{"inline_comments":[],"comments":[],"_id":1653314305830},"type":"text","content":"— Please return to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution for updates."}],"display_date":"2022-05-23T15:18:59.728Z","headlines":{"basic":"16-year-old in hospital after being shot in South Fulton"},"first_publish_date":"2022-05-23T15:18:59.728Z","taxonomy":{"sections":[{"path":"/news/crime","parent":{"default":"/news"},"_website":"ajc","parent_id":"/news","name":"Crime & Public Safety","description":"Crime in Atlanta: News and issues about crime, criminals, police and personal security in metro Atlanta. 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He was taken to a hospital, where he died."},{"_id":"XLGMAPGCABBGNGRIWTEMBXXGRY","additional_properties":{"inline_comments":[],"comments":[],"_id":1653309245266},"type":"text","content":"Based on the information gathered, investigators believe the shooting stemmed from a domestic dispute, according to Channel 2 Action News."},{"_id":"ZLPQK3SGA5AB5AJX4IKWPTEDGI","additional_properties":{"inline_comments":[],"comments":[],"_id":1653309245267},"type":"text","content":"The suspect, 25-year-old Francisco Renovato, was later found in a residential neighborhood in the 1100 block of Lanier Drive, the release states."},{"_id":"DFX73NIUCVE6XC7ZPZPVG7QWUY","additional_properties":{"inline_comments":[],"comments":[]},"type":"text","content":"Responding officers heard a gunshot come from a wooded area, which led to police activating their SWAT team. Upon searching the area, police found Renovato dead in a shed behind the home from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound, according to the release."},{"_id":"RLWDEAUCHRF2TAVDZSOY3YL4AY","additional_properties":{"inline_comments":[],"comments":[],"_id":1653309245270},"type":"text","content":"Police haven’t released any other details about what led up to the shooting."}],"display_date":"2022-05-23T14:18:16.492Z","headlines":{"basic":"Cops: 2 men dead after murder-suicide at Cobb mobile home park"},"first_publish_date":"2022-05-23T12:36:40.263Z","taxonomy":{"sections":[{"path":"/news/crime","parent":{"default":"/news"},"_website":"ajc","parent_id":"/news","name":"Crime & Public Safety","description":"Crime in Atlanta: News and issues about crime, criminals, police and personal security in metro Atlanta. 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He was wearing a gray sweatshirt, black beanie, dark-colored jeans and tennis shoes when he was shot."},{"_id":"64FTNA6XMVGDHFKSU4YUOQJX7M","additional_properties":{"inline_comments":[],"comments":[],"_id":1653226764205},"type":"text","content":"A witness told officers they saw a man wearing an orange sweatshirt and an orange hat run across the highway after hearing a gunshot, police said. However, while police have been unable to confirm whether that man had anything to do with the killing, they would still like to speak with him."},{"_id":"BKEHOU3SXVAKPIZBPNATW5MTQI","additional_properties":{"inline_comments":[],"comments":[],"_id":1653226764206},"type":"text","content":"Another witness, who has not been identified, walked into a nearby McDonald’s to tell employees that a man had been shot outside the restaurant, police said."},{"_id":"3Y7B7KOH5ZDD7PZ4BXWSWFTV7M","additional_properties":{"comments":[],"_id":"T3V4MMFA7FD5BDMB3YF2R6D7GI"},"type":"raw_html","content":""},{"_id":"2ZNV56NWQRG2LCZIFIELVFWACQ","additional_properties":{"inline_comments":[],"comments":[],"_id":1653226764208},"type":"text","content":"Anyone with information about the case is asked to call DeKalb police’s homicide unit at 770-724-7850."}],"display_date":"2022-05-22T14:13:37.639Z","headlines":{"basic":"Police: Do you know who killed this man in Decatur?"},"first_publish_date":"2022-05-22T14:13:37.639Z","taxonomy":{"sections":[{"path":"/news/crime","parent":{"default":"/news"},"_website":"ajc","parent_id":"/news","name":"Crime & Public Safety","description":"Crime in Atlanta: News and issues about crime, criminals, police and personal security in metro Atlanta. 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Kent retaliated by firing several gunshots into a crowd, critically wounding the opposing gang member as well as a security guard at the nightclub."},{"_id":"RSD4DIUXLNHP7EK6ZTVY7XFVUE","additional_properties":{"inline_comments":[],"comments":[],"_id":1653085582826},"type":"text","content":"During a police chase following the shooting, Kent tossed his gun from a vehicle just before he was captured."},{"_id":"66AXDRTEOJE43D34X7BB3KH2JA","additional_properties":{"inline_comments":[],"comments":[],"_id":1653085582827},"type":"text","content":"While in custody, he learned that a 17-year-old member of the Pirus who witnessed the shooting was questioned by investigators, prosecutors said. 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The FBI later recovered the weapon from the bottom of the lake and it matched cartridge casings and a bullet from the drive-by, tying Kent to the shooting, according to the release."},{"_id":"MUEAXZXAKJG3RCZFJEAEU2VJQI","additional_properties":{"comments":[],"_id":"53KIVUSQXND2ZC6HK4546NHMOA"},"type":"interstitial_link","content":"13 indicted in federal gang crackdown between Atlanta, Athens","url":"https://www.ajc.com/news/crime/13-indicted-in-federal-gang-crackdown-between-atlanta-athens/H35BG3PXNNH2FC4L4A32TUZP24/"},{"_id":"DSDNIDXTHVDVJJEA4T7S5JN5KI","additional_properties":{"inline_comments":[],"comments":[],"_id":1653085582830},"type":"text","content":"The RICO case has already yielded convictions against five of Kent’s fellow 135 Pirus, who’ve been found guilty of an array of charges ranging from murder to racketeering, according to the release."},{"_id":"ANLRTKAWKJBFDAQO4UJO5IOEUY","additional_properties":{"inline_comments":[],"comments":[],"_id":1653085582831},"type":"text","content":"Kent and his co-defendants will be sentenced at a later date, attorneys said."}],"display_date":"2022-05-20T22:47:20.736Z","headlines":{"basic":"Gang leader tied to multiple metro Atlanta shootings convicted of RICO conspiracy"},"first_publish_date":"2022-05-20T22:47:20.736Z","taxonomy":{"sections":[{"path":"/news/crime","parent":{"default":"/news"},"_website":"ajc","parent_id":"/news","name":"Crime & Public Safety","description":"Crime in Atlanta: News and issues about crime, criminals, police and personal security in metro Atlanta. 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They claimed they had then burned her body on a pecan orchard owned by the Dukes family. Those boasts were reported to law enforcement. But as the case gained national attention, investigators were overwhelmed with tips. According to one retired GBI special agent, the tip was overlooked. For years, the case was cold."},{"_id":"EOA4AFZMI5FKXN5X7DA55APMA4","additional_properties":{"inline_comments":[],"comments":[],"_id":1653059789680},"type":"text","content":"In February 2017, a tipster came forward with more information. Her boyfriend at the time, Dukes, had been involved in Grinstead’s disappearance. Dukes pointed the finger at Duke."},{"_id":"7M6XGYNLV5CLVBYJABPBFVAMOQ","additional_properties":{"comments":[],"_id":"TKEUZTCKDZEP5D6CIHRPPQ4RCU"},"type":"interstitial_link","content":"What happened to Tara Grinstead?","url":"https://www.ajc.com/news/crime/trial-to-begin-for-man-accused-of-killing-georgia-teacher-tara-grinstead/IRBSHSFVPJGZ3HYFOPSL3L4GFA/"},{"_id":"MRTT6DAST5GVNKHX6MKBKK7BHA","additional_properties":{"inline_comments":[],"comments":[],"_id":1653059789681},"type":"text","content":"One day after a GBI investigator knocked on his door, Duke arrived at the Ocilla Police Department. Within 90 seconds, he had confessed, according to the GBI. He also gave a written confession."},{"_id":"PIBEZEG555C73NCLGHIQ5TRRL4","additional_properties":{"inline_comments":[],"comments":[],"_id":1653063330095},"type":"text","content":"“I don’t feel like I deserve to be free to breathe,” Duke wrote in his confession."},{"_id":"KX2XUFKI7JGNNHRXHNTNT2C76A","additional_properties":{"inline_comments":[],"comments":[],"_id":1653063330096},"type":"text","content":"Duke told the GBI he broke into Grinstead’s home for drug money. When she caught him, he struck her, he said during the confession. According to the GBI, Duke knew details about the case that had previously not been released to the public, including a call made to Grinstead’s home from a nearby payphone."},{"_id":"MF7Q7GKST5GA3NDWB746QYQIFY","additional_properties":{"inline_comments":[],"comments":[],"_id":1653059789682},"type":"text","content":"A week later, Dukes was also arrested and charged in the case."},{"_id":"THOHBQGV5BBKDGE6XIMXDU3ZDA","additional_properties":{"inline_comments":[],"comments":[],"_id":1653059789683},"type":"text","content":"Dukes, who isn’t related to Duke, initially claimed he didn’t know anything about the disappearance and death. Months later, Dukes confessed. He didn’t kill Grinstead but helped dispose of the body, according to evidence at his trial. 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Dukes looked panicked and pale."},{"_id":"PFKTDULWT5FSFID5EQQIVNOCPQ","additional_properties":{"inline_comments":[],"comments":[],"_id":1653063330102},"type":"text","content":"“He said he killed Tara,” Duke testified."},{"_id":"6R5Y4GOWLBHT5FHXZOJP3CQSVQ","additional_properties":{"inline_comments":[],"comments":[],"_id":1653063330103},"type":"text","content":"But little evidence of a murder existed because Grinstead’s body was burned on two occasions, according to both Duke and Dukes. Bone and teeth fragments were located in the orchard woods, the GBI said. Burning left the remains in a condition that prevented forensic investigators from obtaining DNA."},{"_id":"SDWB5TCAS5GRTKHJ6HQZW4AH4M","additional_properties":{"inline_comments":[],"comments":[],"_id":1653063330104},"type":"text","content":"Dukes, wearing a prison uniform and handcuffs, was also called to the stand. But he refused to testify, stating he was invoking his Fifth Amendment rights."},{"_id":"C3HYHGDMPFCBTK24Q62BQMKPUY","additional_properties":{"inline_comments":[],"comments":[],"_id":1653063330105},"type":"text","content":"After eight days of testimony, closing arguments concluded Thursday morning. The jury deliberated Thursday afternoon and about two hours Friday morning before reaching a verdict."},{"_id":"55PLMX6YIFFVVESGQA6G3JDNA4","additional_properties":{"inline_comments":[],"comments":[],"_id":1653063330106},"type":"text","content":"Sentencing for Duke will be held Monday morning. The Grinstead family asked for additional time to prepare statements to be read in court."},{"_id":"74JH2VGDW5DSFE6PWPQBTM65UY","additional_properties":{"inline_comments":[],"comments":[],"_id":1653073896276},"type":"text","content":"Duke could be sentenced to up to 10 years in prison. He has already served just over five years since his arrest."},{"_id":"RYEO6VR5ZRDU7JZZS62LOGDHXY","additional_properties":{"comments":[],"_id":"2PMSJNPUBFDYPAZ3RZFPWBJ2NY"},"type":"divider"},{"_id":"2UXFAMZCLBGM3DRSEFHC77JHXE","additional_properties":{"inline_comments":[],"comments":[],"_id":1653063609457},"type":"text","content":"THE STORY SO FAR"},{"_id":"Q2AS2HYP7VH4RKMU3TFUV3S6FU","additional_properties":{"inline_comments":[],"comments":[],"_id":1653063609458},"type":"text","content":"October 2005: Tara Grinstead, a popular Irwin County teacher, disappears from her Ocilla home."},{"_id":"42MJWDMCQNCXZN5AMTGYNRP7E4","additional_properties":{"inline_comments":[],"comments":[],"_id":1653063609459},"type":"text","content":"February 2017: The GBI announces that Ryan Alexander Duke has been arrested and charged with her killing."},{"_id":"CAAHGLY6RJBQRIGWWXZPB5AWFM","additional_properties":{"inline_comments":[],"comments":[],"_id":1653063609460},"type":"text","content":"March 2017: A second suspect, Bo Dukes, is arrested and charged with concealing Grinstead’s death. The same week, a judge signs a sweeping gag order. The gag order is softened weeks later after The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and other media outlets challenge it."},{"_id":"JAYU3TSIENEFPKJHYRIJREFJIM","additional_properties":{"inline_comments":[],"comments":[],"_id":1653063609461},"type":"text","content":"March 2018: The Georgia Supreme Court tosses out the gag order."},{"_id":"SS7ZXI3YYRHFXJEYUCI3GN7T2Y","additional_properties":{"inline_comments":[],"comments":[],"_id":1653063609462},"type":"text","content":"March 2019: Dukes is sentenced to 25 years for his role in hiding Grinstead’s body"},{"_id":"ND23NUEMWNEPNH7S2I5RVHPUCU","additional_properties":{"inline_comments":[],"comments":[],"_id":1653063609463},"type":"text","content":"May 2: Jury selection begins in Duke’s trial."},{"_id":"H2S6ZZW2HJD5VJ2SERQVA7BWHY","additional_properties":{"inline_comments":[],"comments":[],"_id":1653063609464},"type":"text","content":"Friday: Jury acquits Duke of all charges except concealing a death."}],"display_date":"2022-05-20T18:33:07.090Z","headlines":{"basic":"Ryan Duke not guilty of murder in death of Georgia teacher Tara Grinstead"},"first_publish_date":"2022-05-20T15:32:00.509Z","taxonomy":{"sections":[{"path":"/news/crime","parent":{"default":"/news"},"_website":"ajc","parent_id":"/news","name":"Crime & Public Safety","description":"Crime in Atlanta: News and issues about crime, criminals, police and personal security in metro Atlanta. 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A 28-year-old man was pronounced dead at the scene."},{"_id":"N43XZD5TKBAJRPQBU3DINLITRE","additional_properties":{"inline_comments":[],"comments":[],"_id":1653067047864},"type":"text","content":"Clarkston police detectives said it was a domestic incident and identified J’ana Rawat, 26, as the suspect. The woman and the victim were arguing inside the apartment when she allegedly shot him, police said. Rawat remained at the scene after the shooting and was taken into custody."},{"_id":"HOFNJ37RYRABFP4KRZZIGHB3JA","additional_properties":{"inline_comments":[],"comments":[],"_id":1653067047865},"type":"text","content":"His name has not been released."},{"_id":"UGNZZQNV7ZHONHFW3UD2ZJOPFY","additional_properties":{"inline_comments":[],"comments":[],"_id":1653065073699},"type":"text","content":"Rawat was arrested and charged with murder, possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony and cruelty to children."},{"_id":"KUL25MN6ARFBRAHAZE4WPDSG4M","additional_properties":{"inline_comments":[],"comments":[],"_id":1653065073700},"type":"text","content":"— Please return to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution for updates."}],"display_date":"2022-05-20T17:12:09.375Z","headlines":{"basic":"Woman charged with murder after shooting inside Clarkston apartment"},"first_publish_date":"2022-05-20T17:12:09.375Z","taxonomy":{"sections":[{"path":"/news/crime","parent":{"default":"/news"},"_website":"ajc","parent_id":"/news","name":"Crime & Public Safety","description":"Crime in Atlanta: News and issues about crime, criminals, police and personal security in metro Atlanta. 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Troopers followed that suspect while police pulled over six other vehicles and apprehended the respective drivers, department officials indicated."},{"_id":"BDPKQ6UO2NCVZGONWDIME5WOQQ","additional_properties":{"inline_comments":[],"comments":[],"_id":1653047957531},"type":"text","content":"According to a social media post that showed portions of the chase, the fleeing ATV led authorities on a pursuit on surface streets from downtown Atlanta into Forest Park. The video showed the driver, identified as 35-year-old James Tazewell Sanford, speeding into oncoming traffic lanes at speeds of 70 mph, and veering onto sidewalks and open fields off-road."},{"_id":"BDPKQ6UO2NCVZGONWDIME5WOQQ","additional_properties":{"inline_comments":[],"comments":[],"_id":1653047957532},"type":"text","content":"Troopers finally stopped the suspect near Southfield Parkway in Clayton County and arrested him without incident. Sanford was taken to the Fulton County Jail, where he was booked on charges of felony fleeing and reckless driving. The Atlanta man was released from custody Tuesday, online booking records show."},{"_id":"PNCFTH4W7ZBE3H3JFFRED2JW7I","additional_properties":{"inline_comments":[],"comments":[],"_id":1653047957534},"type":"text","content":"“Because of the coordination between agencies and the effective communication between air and ground units, officers were able to safely apprehend these disruptive drivers,” the police department said on Facebook. “We will continue to work with our law enforcement partners to quell street racing, illegal ATV driving, and other criminal activity. 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Marita Harrell, a senior pastor at Connections at Metropolitan United Methodist Church, was discovered Wednesday along a secluded road near an industrial area outside Lithonia, DeKalb County police spokesman Lt. 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Dr. Michael T. McQueen, UMC’s district superintendent over its Fulton and Clayton County churches. “She was doing what she loved to do. That’s what makes this so tragic.”"},{"_id":"ZT6QOZTI4ZGTZNIB4VFGZK6UPU","additional_properties":{"inline_comments":[],"comments":[],"_id":1653072009425},"type":"text","content":"DeKalb police took out warrants charging Griggs with murder and arson in Harrell’s slaying. He was arrested Thursday evening and is being held without bond at the DeKalb jail, online records show. 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In October 2020, he was accused of impersonating a police officer and sexually assaulting a woman. At the time, DeKalb police said Griggs approached the victim wearing tactical gear and a badge. He also was carrying a gun, authorities said. He was released from jail several months later in March of 2021, according to online records."},{"_id":"3FK5QKLGTJBWPFLDHS4ZZZ4ESM","additional_properties":{"inline_comments":[],"comments":[],"_id":1653077116931},"type":"text","content":"“As you can imagine, this is a very sad day for us,” said Sybil Davidson, spokeswoman for the North Georgia Conference of the United Methodist Church."},{"_id":"NG3O2MRJYFFZJMO3M3TIMQVMN4","additional_properties":{"inline_comments":[],"comments":[],"_id":1653072009428},"type":"text","content":"Conference leaders held a call Friday morning and discussed ways to console congregants, friends and family members devastated by the pastor’s death. Grief counselors will be made available in the coming days and weeks, they said."},{"_id":"TZ74F7J6YRFIVNXGF2ZZYJQMZA","additional_properties":{"inline_comments":[],"comments":[],"_id":1653072009429},"type":"text","content":"Meanwhile, tributes poured in on social media as news of Harrell’s killing was shared online. Friends and former colleagues remembered her as a wonderful person and a “ray of sunshine” who brightened the lives of everyone she encountered."},{"_id":"T4FFYD3HUNDWRK2DXQI5FSGKIQ","additional_properties":{"inline_comments":[],"comments":[],"_id":1653056883328},"type":"text","content":"Harrell, a Chicago native, moved to Atlanta more than 30 years ago, according to the biography on her church’s website. She spent more than two decades at The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, working in the newspaper’s advertising department and as a diversity training facilitator."},{"_id":"SC72AVFJLNG75PPWZL4SUDGKQU","additional_properties":{"inline_comments":[],"comments":[],"_id":1653072009431},"type":"text","content":"“She was such a beautiful person inside and out,” said Pastor Cyndi Madison, who worked with Harrell at the newspaper decades ago."},{"_id":"KB6QFNQQ5BHD3GFQQW7XDYENG4","additional_properties":{"inline_comments":[],"comments":[],"_id":1653056883329},"type":"text","content":"Harrell graduated from Emory University’s Candler School of Theology and earned her Master of Divinity Degree in May 2014. She received her preaching certification the following year and was commissioned as a provisional elder in the church in June 2019."},{"_id":"DMRWH2Q63FFALAL5UJUPYM7YTM","additional_properties":{"inline_comments":[],"comments":[],"_id":1653056883330},"type":"text","content":"She served as the pastor of Rivertown UMC from 2016 to 2018, and at The United Methodist Children’s Home from 2018 until she was appointed as the assistant pastor at Newnan Chapel UMC the following December."},{"_id":"IMT4TIQMXJES5NZR75FQZQ62MU","additional_properties":{"inline_comments":[],"comments":[],"_id":1653072009434},"type":"text","content":"The East Point resident had been at Connections at Metropolitan, located in Atlanta’s Pittsburgh community, since July 2020, her supervisor said."},{"_id":"BVYDNSKVQZG3LO6TIBHA3IKDUM","additional_properties":{"inline_comments":[],"comments":[],"_id":1653072009435},"type":"text","content":"“She was strong, smart and just tremendously loved by all of her peers,” said McQueen, who plans to be with Harrell’s family and the members of her congregation during Sunday’s service."},{"_id":"2HUR345NFBCMDBSQLAUKJ52SDI","additional_properties":{"comments":[],"_id":"TEKD676XGNCMLFHIEIPKFE7DLA"},"type":"raw_html","content":""},{"_id":"DT2WOK5Z4FB4VEJKY6SBGPJESA","additional_properties":{"inline_comments":[],"comments":[],"_id":1653056883333},"type":"text","content":"Bishop Sue Haupert-Johnson called Harrell “a friend and a shining light among us.”"},{"_id":"6O2NCBGFLFDRLJTQOJLOBKZQT4","additional_properties":{"inline_comments":[],"comments":[],"_id":1653072009438},"type":"text","content":"“It is a blow to our clergy family, especially since it appears she died at the hand of one she was helping,” Haupert-Johnson said in a statement. “I pray for her family, her church, and all who loved her. I am grateful that the Lord she represented so well was with her in all things and accompanied her to her eternal home.”"},{"_id":"MWV3HQIYPJCKRJVV6OSYHICLBA","additional_properties":{"inline_comments":[],"comments":[],"_id":1653072009439},"type":"text","content":"In a Facebook post to his congregation, Rivertown UMC’s senior pastor called the news of Harrell’s death heartbreaking."},{"_id":"X74J7RLV3BEFHMFSLKCB42HCGM","additional_properties":{"inline_comments":[],"comments":[],"_id":1653056883334},"type":"text","content":"“I know the love Rivertown has for her, and the love she has for Rivertown,” Rev. 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That tally includes eight police shootings in metro Atlanta since April 29."},{"_id":"JALMVPEPLBDAXM7QUKLSDABSGM","additional_properties":{"comments":[],"_id":"5X3GE6GAV5D5NLQHSBSQD6UEVU"},"type":"interstitial_link","content":"Man killed at Buckhead steakhouse marks 50th police shooting in Georgia this year","url":"https://www.ajc.com/news/crime/officer-involved-in-shooting-near-upscale-buckhead-eatery-cops-say/UVEA4WWP3NGH5GFPNU3KG65ZXQ/"},{"_id":"TBZPNW6QLVBZBK3VLGR636NJKE","additional_properties":{"inline_comments":[],"comments":[],"_id":1653038424373},"type":"text","content":"Last year, Georgia did not encounter its 50th officer-involved shooting until June 30, according to the GBI."},{"_id":"EAPOXNN2TJEYDPW2PJ7LKDBPPI","additional_properties":{"inline_comments":[],"comments":[],"_id":1653038424374},"type":"text","content":"The shooting in Cobb came little more than 24 hours after Atlanta police fatally shot 22-year-old Nygil Cullins at Fogo de Chao, a Brazilian steakhouse in Buckhead. 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Atlanta Police Deputy Chief Charles Hampton Jr. said restaurant staff called for help with an unruly patron."},{"_id":"OBQYMTDLJZFINIUW6XB3F65V2M","additional_properties":{"inline_comments":[],"comments":[],"_id":1652974827645},"type":"text","content":"Upon arrival, officers encountered Cullins near the bar and tried to escort him out. Police say he was uncooperative. One of the officers used a stun gun, which “had a negative effect on the subject,” Hampton said."},{"_id":"WFMLHDQEGBEYPOK62BLGINJCOM","additional_properties":{"inline_comments":[],"comments":[],"_id":1652974827646},"type":"text","content":"The struggle continued towards the front doors of the restaurant, where Cullins tried to leave but was tackled by a restaurant security guard. According to Hampton, Cullins pulled out a gun, fired one shot and struck the guard."},{"_id":"AYFKCMNVEZDTFF7JMM6INBNBZM","additional_properties":{"inline_comments":[],"comments":[],"_id":1652974827647},"type":"text","content":"Officers responded to that shooting by fatally shooting Cullins, Hampton said. The GBI is investigating."},{"_id":"MZ5ABBRBJBDQTFNOQWYHUNMLPM","additional_properties":{"inline_comments":[],"comments":[],"_id":1652974827666},"type":"text","content":"There have been 50 officer involved shootings so far in 2022 where the GBI has been requested to investigate. This is the second one this month involving an Atlanta police officer shooting and killing a man at a Buckhead restaurant. Rogers Kyaruzi was shot and killed at Roasters Rotisserie on May 4."},{"_id":"JZW3Y52EPBHTVGDRV43TDKF54Y","additional_properties":{"inline_comments":[],"comments":[],"_id":1652974827649},"type":"text","content":"Nygil Cullins’ father, Quinten Cullins, said his son had been diagnosed with mental health issues and bipolar schizophrenia. Cullins said they were trying to get him help hours before he went to the restaurant."},{"owner":{"sponsored":false,"id":"ajc"},"address":{},"syndication":{},"caption":"Mya Speller Cullins (left) said her son Nygil Cullins struggled with mental health issues. 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We always tried to get him help dealing with his depression and bipolar (disorder). That is what we were trying to do yesterday,” Cullins said Thursday. “We called 911 for them to bring someone out. His mom got on the phone and made clear we were dealing with our son. We just needed someone to come and help us to get him to the hospital.”"},{"_id":"LAO6I5TINFAGBBXWGMKVGZOM6A","additional_properties":{"inline_comments":[],"comments":[],"_id":1652992721468},"type":"text","content":"Mya Speller Cullins knew her son was struggling. She got to his apartment in downtown Atlanta trying to help. When she arrived, she noticed her son was delusional, wasn’t on the right frame of mind, had a raspy voice."},{"_id":"ESZ3UD6I6ZGLVPE35DULDUURPM","additional_properties":{"inline_comments":[],"comments":[],"_id":1652992721469},"type":"text","content":"As someone who works with mental health patients, Speller Cullins knew what to do. She reached out to a mental health institution, found a bed for her son, then called 911 to get him to the facility."},{"_id":"G6XQIYQ3RVFFFLKU752HNW4SSU","additional_properties":{"inline_comments":[],"comments":[],"_id":1652992721470},"type":"text","content":"In 911 recordings released by the Atlanta Police Department, Speller Cullins can be heard telling the 911 operator that Cullins was talking to himself and hallucinating but was not violent and did not have a weapon. She specifically requested someone trained in dealing with people with mental health."},{"_id":"PMINJASV5JEPDPM64J6V5EQSC4","additional_properties":{"inline_comments":[],"comments":[],"_id":1652992721471},"type":"text","content":"The operator can be heard on the recording saying paramedics had been sent to help get him transported to a mental health facility."},{"_id":"PE5JEWPPDFHT7LMCVA6YXVSPQY","additional_properties":{"inline_comments":[],"comments":[],"_id":1652992721472},"type":"text","content":"The help was too late."},{"_id":"TEIRHEFVABBDVMEICOU6Z26JUY","additional_properties":{"inline_comments":[],"comments":[],"_id":1652992721473},"type":"text","content":"“I did what I knew I was supposed to do for the best interest of my own son,” she said. “I waited. An hour passed, an hour and 15 minutes passed, an hour and 20 minutes passed. By that time he was getting antsy and he left. Almost two hours later, the paramedics pulled up and the police pulled up.”"},{"owner":{"id":"ajc"},"copyright":"2022 Atlanta Journal-Constitution","address":{"locality":"McDonough","region":"GA"},"caption":"May 19, 2022 McDonough - Mya Cullins (right), mother of Nygil Cullins, speaks about her son as she sits with her Demietrice King (left), Nygil’s grandmother, and Paula Dixon, Nygil’s aunt, on Thursday, May 19, 2022. The family of a man shot and killed by Atlanta police at a crowded, upscale Buckhead restaurant are still looking for answers into what happened and what went wrong. Nygil Cullins, 22, was eating at Fogo de Chao, a Brazilian steakhouse in the 3100 block of Piedmont Road, Wednesday night when things took a turn. Atlanta police Deputy Chief Charles Hampton Jr. said restaurant staff called for help with handling an unruly patron. 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It hurts because we tried our best to save our son and get him help. Unfortunately, my son is in body bag at the morgue at the medical examiner’s office.”"},{"_id":"EYLURWQ3LRBVTPMWAQAKVDMNV4","additional_properties":{"inline_comments":[],"comments":[],"_id":1652992721477},"type":"text","content":"Mya Speller Cullins said she can’t comment on the investigation until all facts are known. But she is frustrated and wants answers."},{"_id":"F5DAMWQKRRBS7BMKLOBOSP5C5Q","additional_properties":{"inline_comments":[],"comments":[],"_id":1652992721478},"type":"text","content":"“No one is excluded from struggling with mental health. Nygil comes from a good family, he had a good heart, good friends,” she said. “He didn’t deserve it. We just got to do better to make sure people are professionally trained, educated and we are well-equipped in each county to make sure this doesn’t continue to happen.”"},{"_id":"YOTDSHS55ZBYBNU4BK2WLCJYOA","additional_properties":{"comments":[],"_id":"2PCPQE3PGBB6BG3LBQGWJU6F6Q"},"type":"interstitial_link","content":"Man killed by police after shooting security guard at Buckhead eatery, cops say","url":"https://www.ajc.com/news/crime/officer-involved-in-shooting-near-upscale-buckhead-eatery-cops-say/UVEA4WWP3NGH5GFPNU3KG65ZXQ/"},{"_id":"B7QLTQMGSZC4DO7EHFJEARJNK4","additional_properties":{"inline_comments":[],"comments":[],"_id":1652992721480},"type":"text","content":"Nygil’s parents both described him as happy and loving."},{"_id":"OILGCOGZJJH7DKXNJ4ZTYQO3B4","additional_properties":{"inline_comments":[],"comments":[],"_id":1652992721481},"type":"text","content":"“Nygil was a vibrant, big-hearted person. He loved everybody; he would give his shirt off his back. He loved helping people. I think that is something me and his mom instilled in him,” Quinten Cullins said. “He was just battling an illness that me and his mom have worked very hard to get him help with.”"},{"_id":"CCTFKL5PUVC2BNA67KRETDUSAA","additional_properties":{"inline_comments":[],"comments":[],"_id":1652992721482},"type":"text","content":"He said his son used to work at the restaurant before quitting a couple of months ago but didn’t leave on bad terms. Nygil Cullins was getting his certification and was working towards opening a massage parlor, according to his family."},{"_id":"RW55SFHA6FCQDA6XWXZQBEONTA","additional_properties":{"inline_comments":[],"comments":[],"_id":1652992721483},"type":"text","content":"Quinten Cullins said he has never known his son to have a gun."},{"_id":"GYNWD5JMIJFLTKNJWIPKJFPLAA","additional_properties":{"inline_comments":[],"comments":[],"_id":1652992721484},"type":"text","content":"“We don’t know who shot first. We don’t if they saw him with a gun and start shooting him, I don’t know. We don’t know what went wrong,” he said. “I just know my son is not here.”"},{"_id":"Q2LHSCC5ENHJFGH3YDIPRUWOVQ","additional_properties":{"comments":[],"_id":"3IXQ3TUHZJDU3BX2AGBWWPVQQA"},"type":"raw_html","content":""},{"_id":"O2MNOC5Y2NBJ5JS72SIZCJRTD4","additional_properties":{"inline_comments":[],"comments":[],"_id":1652992721486},"type":"text","content":"Cullins, who is an ordained minister, and his former wife, who is a mental health and relationship expert who is running for the state House, plan to honor their son’s life by advocating for more mental health awareness and proper training for first responders when dealing with people with mental illness."},{"_id":"LFWXJ3WYANFKZBOAZ67ZO6BV6A","additional_properties":{"inline_comments":[],"comments":[],"_id":1652992721487},"type":"text","content":"“This is becoming an ongoing cycle. We really need to push mental health more than ever,” he said. “I’m definitely going to push because my son’s name is definitely not going to go in vain.”"},{"owner":{"sponsored":false,"id":"ajc"},"address":{},"syndication":{},"caption":"Nygil Cullins, 22. was shot and killed by an Atlanta Police Officer at Fogo de Chao in Buckhead on Wednesday night.","source":{"system":"photo center","name":"AJC","edit_url":"","source_type":"staff","additional_properties":{"editor":"photo center"}},"taxonomy":{"associated_tasks":[]},"type":"image","distributor":{"mode":"reference","reference_id":"8aec2b8c-455c-4816-903d-79fc8fdf8019"},"version":"0.10.3","url":"https://cloudfront-us-east-1.images.arcpublishing.com/ajc/4E3P3V2C5VAWXDZTBB5HCY4MGE.jpg","licensable":false,"credits":{"affiliation":[],"by":[{"name":"Family photo","type":"author","byline":"Family photo"}]},"subtitle":"Nygil Cullins 2","width":1000,"_id":"4E3P3V2C5VAWXDZTBB5HCY4MGE","additional_properties":{"fullSizeResizeUrl":"/resizer/SyeHHD_AHdePC0QlZ0GigovLQvM=/arc-anglerfish-arc2-prod-ajc/public/4E3P3V2C5VAWXDZTBB5HCY4MGE.jpg","owner":"[email protected]","comments":[],"keywords":[""],"proxyUrl":"/resizer/SyeHHD_AHdePC0QlZ0GigovLQvM=/arc-anglerfish-arc2-prod-ajc/public/4E3P3V2C5VAWXDZTBB5HCY4MGE.jpg","originalUrl":"https://cloudfront-us-east-1.images.arcpublishing.com/ajc/4E3P3V2C5VAWXDZTBB5HCY4MGE.jpg","published":true,"resizeUrl":"/resizer/SyeHHD_AHdePC0QlZ0GigovLQvM=/arc-anglerfish-arc2-prod-ajc/public/4E3P3V2C5VAWXDZTBB5HCY4MGE.jpg","ingestionMethod":"manual","thumbnailResizeUrl":"/resizer/0d8w-1ymmGwWuYtajyHLVTSEl6Q=/300x0/arc-anglerfish-arc2-prod-ajc/public/4E3P3V2C5VAWXDZTBB5HCY4MGE.jpg","version":0,"originalName":"Nygil Cullins for crop.jpg_web.jpg","mime_type":"image/jpeg","restricted":false,"template_id":594,"galleries":[],"_id":"NIVHH7RDLNBIBFHFK6GNRADSJA"},"created_date":"2022-05-19T17:11:25Z","last_updated_date":"2022-05-19T17:11:25Z","height":563,"image_type":"photograph"},{"_id":"OYNJWC7IWFDLFO5XD6IWR6BHMA","additional_properties":{"inline_comments":[],"comments":[],"_id":1652974827661},"type":"text","content":"
"}],"display_date":"2022-05-19T23:56:00Z","headlines":{"basic":"‘It’s heartbreaking’: Loved ones seek answers in fatal police shooting at Buckhead restaurant"},"first_publish_date":"2022-05-19T16:35:40.031Z","taxonomy":{"sections":[{"path":"/news/crime","parent":{"default":"/news"},"_website":"ajc","parent_id":"/news","name":"Crime & Public Safety","description":"Crime in Atlanta: News and issues about crime, criminals, police and personal security in metro Atlanta. 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The family of a man shot and killed by Atlanta police at a crowded, upscale Buckhead restaurant are still looking for answers into what happened and what went wrong. Nygil Cullins, 22, was eating at Fogo de Chao, a Brazilian steakhouse in the 3100 block of Piedmont Road, Wednesday night when things took a turn. Atlanta police Deputy Chief Charles Hampton Jr. said restaurant staff called for help with handling an unruly patron. 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Buchanan said. Thomas’ 15 years in prison will be followed by five years on probation, and he has been ordered to pay restitution of more than $13 million for multiple fraud schemes, Buchanan said."},{"_id":"33ARX6IRANGG3LIXF3O6W34DSQ","additional_properties":{"inline_comments":[],"comments":[],"_id":1652997182468},"type":"text","content":"After pleading guilty, Thomas forfeited more than $2 million in seized funds along with other assets bought with the proceeds of his fraud, Buchanan said. Thomas also surrendered multiple pieces of jewelry, including a gold Rolex watch, and three luxury cars: a 2018 Mercedes-Benz S65AMG, a 2018 Land Rover Range Rover and a 2017 Acura NSX."},{"_id":"DMAD7LLBYZEP5CUOIX2FNIHD6Y","additional_properties":{"comments":[],"_id":"DOFOW7NBGJBGVK2EARINOPPLJI"},"type":"interstitial_link","content":"FBI seizes nearly $2 million from Roswell firms accused of PPP fraud","url":"https://www.ajc.com/news/business/fbi-seizes-nearly-2-million-from-roswell-firms-accused-of-ppp-fraud/QBEPOYB5KVDGXOT6EPAEVJFQY4/"},{"_id":"EFP4GCSV65CPBCY5MWIWTCPFCI","additional_properties":{"inline_comments":[],"comments":[],"_id":1652997182470},"type":"text","content":"As part of his plea, Thomas admitted that he obtained fraudulent Economic Injury Disaster loans of more than $1 million and car loans of nearly $2.5 million, in addition to the $11.1 million PPP money, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said."},{"_id":"FWHWCNNIBNDDXFYZOANQKMTDFU","additional_properties":{"inline_comments":[],"comments":[],"_id":1652997182471},"type":"text","content":"According to Buchanan, Thomas was the “mastermind” behind a fraud scheme that stretched across the country and has, so far, led to charges against 23 people. Thomas is among 12 people who have pleaded guilty, six of whom have already been sentenced. The 11 other suspects have charges pending, Buchanan said."},{"_id":"J3VC4QE4DZHP3ABJYOJ7VQPUGM","additional_properties":{"inline_comments":[],"comments":[],"_id":1652997182472},"type":"text","content":"The case against Thomas focused on the months from April through August of 2020, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office. Thomas admitted to orchestrating a scheme that secured 14 PPP loans in amounts between $700,000 and $850,000."},{"_id":"SFYXLOBYSBBEDIWDZXKC5DX5OQ","additional_properties":{"inline_comments":[],"comments":[],"_id":1652997182473},"type":"text","content":"The Paycheck Protection Program was created as part of the CARES Act, which provided funds to businesses affected by the COVID-19 pandemic to ensure they could continue paying workers. Thomas coordinated with other defendants to submit falsified loan applications that included fake payroll information. None of the businesses had any employees or payroll expenses, and the loan applications were essentially identical, Buchanan said."},{"_id":"NW6PJS7IYNGT7M6PTBAXLFD5ZY","additional_properties":{"inline_comments":[],"comments":[],"_id":1652997182474},"type":"text","content":"Once the PPP loans were deposited into the business accounts, about $5.5 million was transferred to an account held by Thomas, according to federal officials. The remaining funds were used by the supposed business owners for personal expenses. Buchanan said the U.S. Justice Department has seized more than $4 million in PPP loan proceeds from participants in the scheme."},{"_id":"ZZLYQ7UIPBC3NHFQ5ZZ7PXHDAM","additional_properties":{"inline_comments":[],"comments":[],"_id":1652997182475},"type":"text","content":"Of the 11 others found guilty, five were from Georgia, federal officials said, but the case also ensnared defendants in California, Michigan and Ohio."},{"_id":"4HQTBVRRXFH53KZ77TY7UNYY54","additional_properties":{"inline_comments":[],"comments":[],"_id":1652997182476},"type":"text","content":"“Thomas orchestrated a massive fraudulent scheme to greedily line his pockets with stolen government funds that were intended to provide relief to small businesses and their employees during the COVID-19 pandemic,” Keri Farley, Special Agent of FBI Atlanta, said. “Hopefully, Thomas enjoyed his short-lived fun with all the luxury items purchased with stolen taxpayer money, as he will now pay for his crimes with a lengthy prison sentence.”"}],"display_date":"2022-05-19T22:08:40.105Z","headlines":{"basic":"Johns Creek man, ‘mastermind’ of $11M PPP fraud scheme, gets 15 years in prison"},"first_publish_date":"2022-05-19T22:08:40.105Z","taxonomy":{"sections":[{"path":"/news/crime","parent":{"default":"/news"},"_website":"ajc","parent_id":"/news","name":"Crime & Public Safety","description":"Crime in Atlanta: News and issues about crime, criminals, police and personal security in metro Atlanta. 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He told you. The man who killed Tara Grinstead came in here and took the Fifth.”"},{"_id":"VPJB3EMGCVDO7CLVL2RTJBPOCM","additional_properties":{"inline_comments":[],"comments":[],"_id":1652974458187},"type":"text","content":"That man is Bo Dukes, already in prison for his role in Grinstead’s death. Duke was charged with murder after his hours-long confession in February 2017. Prosecutors say Duke killed her in October 2005."},{"_id":"XAPXAFJENFHT3AU2UL2K2I7NGY","additional_properties":{"comments":[],"_id":"T5T7OFB7FNCUFHCF3MSSBQJIMQ"},"type":"interstitial_link","content":"Ryan Duke confessed within 90 seconds, GBI says","url":"https://www.ajc.com/news/crime/tara-grinstead-case-ryan-duke-confessed-within-90-seconds-gbi-says/ONFVDD236BG5FKUL6UA5ZLYAVI/"},{"_id":"4KZ2DF252BEN5KI65C2BTGHI3Q","additional_properties":{"inline_comments":[],"comments":[],"_id":1652974458189},"type":"text","content":"“He confesses through his words, his writings, his actions. He confesses through his DNA,” District Attorney Brad Rigby told the court. “He is the killer of Tara Grinstead. The monster that he wants to hide.”"},{"_id":"S4YQITGKJFF6JIFR4MOZQHULKA","additional_properties":{"inline_comments":[],"comments":[],"_id":1652974458190},"type":"text","content":"Closing arguments concluded Thursday morning in Duke’s trial, which began May 9 in Ocilla. The jury began deliberations Thursday afternoon and will return Friday to continue. In addition to malice murder, Duke has been charged with felony murder, aggravated assault, concealing the death of another and burglary."},{"_id":"VWD6HV5OFNH7JBIP74UEVADCF4","additional_properties":{"inline_comments":[],"comments":[],"_id":1652974458191},"type":"text","content":"In October 2005, Grinstead was reported missing when she failed to show up to teach her history classes. Two days earlier, she had helped teenagers prepare for a beauty pageant. Her disappearance launched a massive search and made national headlines, but Grinstead was never found."},{"owner":{"sponsored":false,"id":"ajc"},"address":{},"syndication":{},"caption":"In February 2017, Ryan Duke gave a written confession to the GBI.","source":{"system":"photo center","name":"AJC","edit_url":"","source_type":"staff","additional_properties":{"editor":"photo center"}},"taxonomy":{"associated_tasks":[]},"type":"image","distributor":{"mode":"reference","reference_id":"8aec2b8c-455c-4816-903d-79fc8fdf8019"},"version":"0.10.3","url":"https://cloudfront-us-east-1.images.arcpublishing.com/ajc/JPVW3VOVDBHGBJPL65OK5YL4IU.JPG","licensable":false,"credits":{"affiliation":[{"name":"Law & Crime Network","type":"author"}],"by":[{"name":"Law & Crime Network","type":"author","byline":"Law & Crime Network"}]},"subtitle":"Duke confession","width":738,"creditIPTC":"Law & Crime Network","_id":"JPVW3VOVDBHGBJPL65OK5YL4IU","additional_properties":{"fullSizeResizeUrl":"/resizer/Q33KUBIVzNcgDwP9vQYiw3jLMqI=/arc-anglerfish-arc2-prod-ajc/public/JPVW3VOVDBHGBJPL65OK5YL4IU.JPG","owner":"[email protected]","comments":[],"proxyUrl":"/resizer/Q33KUBIVzNcgDwP9vQYiw3jLMqI=/arc-anglerfish-arc2-prod-ajc/public/JPVW3VOVDBHGBJPL65OK5YL4IU.JPG","originalUrl":"https://cloudfront-us-east-1.images.arcpublishing.com/ajc/JPVW3VOVDBHGBJPL65OK5YL4IU.JPG","published":true,"resizeUrl":"/resizer/Q33KUBIVzNcgDwP9vQYiw3jLMqI=/arc-anglerfish-arc2-prod-ajc/public/JPVW3VOVDBHGBJPL65OK5YL4IU.JPG","ingestionMethod":"manual","thumbnailResizeUrl":"/resizer/R3OMuRoNFVAOFCCodjppRzFNX1A=/300x0/arc-anglerfish-arc2-prod-ajc/public/JPVW3VOVDBHGBJPL65OK5YL4IU.JPG","version":0,"originalName":"confession.JPG","mime_type":"image/jpeg","restricted":false,"template_id":594,"galleries":[],"_id":"UVTTGSPVCVDHXCOWBSQXVYRYBI"},"created_date":"2022-05-19T15:25:32Z","last_updated_date":"2022-05-19T15:25:32Z","height":350,"image_type":"photograph"},{"_id":"SXAODJWBLNH7BOOY4U5MR3Q6ZQ","additional_properties":{"inline_comments":[],"comments":[],"_id":1652974458193},"type":"text","content":"It became the largest investigative file in GBI history, with some 10,000 pages. But no arrests were made in the case until 2017. That’s when Duke was charged with her murder after an interview with the GBI during which he confessed, according to investigators."},{"_id":"Z53ITEP44BAZVNXYIPODBWPIUM","additional_properties":{"inline_comments":[],"comments":[],"_id":1652974458194},"type":"text","content":"Duke said he had broken into Grinstead’s home to steal money for drugs. When she caught him, he hit her. Hours later, Duke said he called her home from a nearby payphone to see if she would answer."},{"_id":"AL543TUAQ5BJFIFMBELMDEWG7I","additional_properties":{"inline_comments":[],"comments":[],"_id":1652974458195},"type":"text","content":"Duke also gave a written statement before leading investigators to a pecan orchard, where he said he and Dukes “cremated” Grinstead. According to the GBI, Duke knew about evidence that had been released to the public. During his confession, Duke mentioned a latex glove like the one found in Grinstead’s front yard that contained his DNA."},{"_id":"DIGYOBX6PVFO7H27CWWF3CUBR4","additional_properties":{"inline_comments":[],"comments":[],"_id":1652976012648},"type":"text","content":"“He thought so much of Tara, he burned her like household trash,” Rigby said during his closing arguments."},{"_id":"N3BUAK6ZO5CK7KDRHY6HRWDK5M","additional_properties":{"inline_comments":[],"comments":[],"_id":1652974458196},"type":"text","content":"But from the witness stand, Duke said he lied to the GBI because he feared Dukes. He told the jury it was Dukes that killed Grinstead."},{"_id":"MUNFEXUKE5FEJN5DXFSE7ARECQ","additional_properties":{"inline_comments":[],"comments":[],"_id":1652974458197},"type":"text","content":"Dukes, who isn’t related to Duke, initially claimed he didn’t know anything about the disappearance and death. Months later, Dukes confessed. He didn’t kill Grinstead but helped dispose of the body, according to evidence at his trial. In March 2019, Dukes was sentenced to 25 years in prison for concealing Grinstead’s death."}],"display_date":"2022-05-19T21:23:39.896Z","headlines":{"basic":"Tara Grinstead case: Fate of accused killer Ryan Duke now with jury"},"first_publish_date":"2022-05-19T16:23:47.047Z","taxonomy":{"sections":[{"path":"/news/crime","parent":{"default":"/news"},"_website":"ajc","parent_id":"/news","name":"Crime & Public Safety","description":"Crime in Atlanta: News and issues about crime, criminals, police and personal security in metro Atlanta. 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