Jury convicts AL man of murdering GA woman - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Jury convicts AL man of murdering GA woman

By Tayleigh Davis - bio | email

AMERICUS, GA (WALB) - Three years after an Americus woman was brutally murdered in her mobile home, a judge sentenced her boyfriend to life in prison plus five years. Jurors found Johnny Ray Cochran guilty of shooting Melony Strickland to death in August of 2007.

After the trial wrapped up Saturday afternoon, Sumter County Sheriff Pete Smith says several key pieces of evidence helped the jury come to a conclusion including the bullets that came from the Rossi .38-caliber revolver Cochran used to shoot Strickland.

"The bullets matched the bullets that came from Melony Strickland's body," said Sheriff Smith.

 Cochran's cell phone activity was another big clue. Investigators collected evidence from his calls that pinged off Verizon towers as he drove from Americus to his home five hours away in Trinity Alabama.

Strickland and Cochran met in their line of work. Cochran was a truck driver. Sheriff's deputies say Strickland soon found herself in a relationship she didn't feel safe in. Officers say Cochran shot Strickland several times before her daughter found her body inside her Middle River Road home August 18, 2007.

"It put a lot of pressure on the family having to view the pictures and the gruesome details," said Sheriff Smith.

After four hours of deliberations, the jury convicted Cochran on four charges including: murder, malice murder, aggravated assault, and felony use of a firearm in the commission of a crime.

The Sheriff's Department praises the GBI, the District Attorney's office and other agents who dug through every clue over the past three years to bring this case to justice.

Cochran will be held in the Sumter County jail until he's transferred to the state prison.

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