High court turns down two S. Ga. appeals - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

High court turns down two S. Ga. appeals

Tonie Holton at her trial, January 27, 2003. Tonie Holton at her trial, January 27, 2003.

June 27, 2006

Atlanta  - The Georgia Supreme Court upholds the conviction of an Albany woman found guilty of murder 20 years after the crime. 

Tonie Holton was indicted in October 2002 and put on trial the following January for the 1982 shooting death of her husband's first wife, Debra Moss Holton. Tonie Holton appealed her guilty verdict, citing hearsay testimony from her deceased brother and the delay in her case.

The prosecutors are pleased with the High Court's ruling. "It did need to be tried because it was absolutely a cold blooded killing 20 years ago, you know it was a travesty that it wasn't prosecuted 20 years ago and we're absolutely satisfied and delighted with the Supreme Court's ruling," said District Attorney Ken Hodges. 

 "The problems with the case being so old hurt the state as much as it might of hurt the defendant and of course that was noted by the supreme court in making its decision," said Assistant Prosecutor Greg Edwards.

Tonie Holton is serving a life sentence for the murder. Debra Holton was four months pregnant when she was shot. Holton had claime that the women were struggling over a shotgun, but forensics revealed that they were at least 14 feet apart when the weapon discharged.  

The State Supreme Court also turned down the appeal of a Crisp County man who pled guilty to murder in a 1997 case.

Robert Jermaine Brown, who was 16 at the time, pled guilty to malice murder and armed robbery in the slaying of a store clerk in Cordele. Forty-one-year old Kamlesh Schroff was shot in the chest when he refused to hand over money during a robbery at King's Korner Food Mart in March 1997.

Brown claimed ineffective council because his trial lawyer failed to tell him of his right to appeal. The Georgia Supreme Court denied the appeal yesterday.

Brown is serving a life sentence for murder and 10 years for armed robbery.

You can read the court's Holton opinion here.

You can read the court's Brown opinion here.

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