Defendants turn state's evidence in Norman Park murder case

Defendants turn state's evidence in Norman Park murder case
In all, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation announced seven teens were arrested in connection to the shooting.
John David Hester was shot in his yard
John David Hester was shot in his yard

MOULTRIE, GA (WALB) - Two of the seven teen suspects in a Norman Park murder agree to plea deals, and plan to testify against their co-defendants.

One of them entered guilty pleas Monday.  The other is scheduled to do so Wednesday. Ty'Cameron Hayes pled guilty to lesser charges, and prosecutors say if he testifies truthfully in upcoming trials, they'll drop a Felony Murder charge.

Seven young suspects are charged with murder in the July 5th shooting death of John Hester.  They're also charged with stealing guns in a burglary earlier that day.  Prosecutors plan to split up the defendants and have as many as three trials but a judge ruled each trial will include both the murder and burglary cases.

"After the hearing yesterday in court, the judge ruled that they do not have to be separated, but will be tried together." Chief Assistant DA Brad Shealy couldn't say if that will help the case, but says it will cost less. "Well it's certainly for judicial economy. A lot of the same witnesses, and saving money by trying the case together would make sense, but strategy wise I can't divulge or talk about that."

Authorities say the suspects broke into the home of Sam Brown on Lonnie Brookard Road in Norman Park and stole more than 20 guns, a flat screen TV, and an Xbox game center.

The indictments list multiple types of shotguns, rifles, and pistols that were stolen. Investigators say the seven young men later went to break into David Hester's house.  His father John Hester ended up getting shot, and later died from a myocardial infarction at Archbold Memorial Hospital.

Right now, Shealy says the lawyers for the seven young suspects have 30 days to file any motions, and the case will pick up after that. "I don't know that they will file any, it's just that they needed more time to review the file because of its length and complexity."

Shealy says so far the case is moving along pretty quickly. "I think it's moving quite well and this is how the system works whenever you deal with cases like this. They have to be heard by the grand jury and the grand jury heard it just as quick as they could, and it's proceeding at a pretty good pace."

Tomorrow morning suspect Adrian Robinson will see the judge in Moultrie to enter his pleas.

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