THOMASVILLE, Ga. (WALB) - A Thomasville man on death row was back in the courtroom Monday — 25 years after violent crimes that rattled the community. His defense pushing for testing that wasn’t available in the early 90′s.
Ray Cromartie is on death row. He maintains he didn’t shoot two convenience store clerks in the head, in two separate incidents in April 1994. One clerk was killed.
Cromartie’s defense is requesting the judge allow DNA testing in this case, something that wasn’t possible when the crimes are said to have happened. Specifically, to test certain pieces of evidence, including the defendant’s clothes and the gun used.
Cromartie claimed his friend Corey Clark is responsible for those two crimes. Clark was there at the time of the crimes. A witness said at the time they saw two men running from the store. They matched Cromartie and Clark’s descriptions.
His defense hopes DNA testing will back up Cromartie's account of what happened.
Melvin Johnson, who was the chief investigator for this case, said there were a series of armed robberies during this time.
He said there was a lot of pressure to find the person responsible as people no longer felt safe.
“This was a particular crime that really had the community on edge," Johnson said. “It was one that once we were able to tie the crimes together and make an arrest, it really put an ease on the citizens’ minds about being safe in their particular homes."
Since Cromartie’s arrest, Johnson said he hasn’t seen that type of violent crime in the area since.
District Attorney Brad Shealy said the state and defense have 30 days to file a brief.
Senior Judge Frank Horkan will then decide whether to authorize DNA testing in this case.