Ga. Supreme Court hears appeal in Jeffery Peacock murder case

Ga. Supreme Court hears appeal in Jeffery Peacock murder case
Published: May. 19, 2022 at 1:33 PM EDT
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ATLANTA (WALB) - Defense counsel for a man convicted of a crime that was described by the prosecutors as “the biggest mass murder in south Georgia in the last decade” went before the Georgia State Supreme Court on Thursday.

His defense is arguing a case of curtilage.

Jeffery Peacock was convicted in 2019 of killing five of his friends in Colquitt County.

He was found guilty of five counts of malice murder, five counts of possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony, first degree arson and three counts of aggravated cruelty to animals.

On May 15, 2016, calls came into Colquitt County dispatch about a fire at a home on Rossman Dairy Road.

Peacock made one of those calls.

His friends, Jonathan Edwards Jr., Alicia Norman, Jones Pidcock, Reid Williams, and Jordan Croft, were found dead inside.

Further investigation showed they were shot before the fire. Three dogs were also killed.

The search warrant in the case listed areas to be searched as the “single story home with fire damage” and of “vehicles within the curtilage.”

The address of the home and fire was 505 Rossman Dairy Road.

Peacock’s defense said his truck was moved by first responders from a dirt parking area near the front of the home to the edge of the peach orchard.

His attorneys bring up the question: Was the truck within curtilage and should a separate search warrant have been secured to search it?

Here’s where curtilage comes into play

The U.S. Court of Appeals defined it in a court case. It became known as the “Dunn” Rule and clarified how search warrants can be used in an investigation.

Peacock’s defense argues that his truck was not included in the curtilage of the home — meaning it was not part of the intimate perimeters of the single-story home mentioned in the search warrant.

The state argued that although the warrant did not specifically list Peacock’s truck, it was included in the curtilage of the home because it was within property lines.

They cited the suppression hearing that took place on this same issue when a lieutenant who was investigating the case pointed out that the truck was within the house’s property line using a plan printed from the tax assessor.

The Georgia State Supreme Court said it will release its opinion on the matter as soon as possible.

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