Death penalty possibility removed by district attorney in 2016 Tatemville shooting case

(KTVF)
Published: Sep. 20, 2022 at 2:47 PM EDT
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CHATHAM COUNTY, Ga. (WTOC) - Four accused gang members indicted for murder no longer face the death penalty as the case moves toward trial.

WTOC Investigates has confirmed Chatham County District Attorney Shalena Cook Jones has withdrawn the death penalty notice in the case.

The murder case goes back to September of 2016 when 24-year-old Dominique Powell died after being shot in the Tatemville neighborhood.

In November of that year, Savannah Police arrested Arthur Newton, Artez Strain, Timothy Coleman and Tyriek Walker on murder charges for the death of Powell. Prosecutors have said the men conspired to kill Powell to prevent him from testifying in an armed robbery case involving Newton.

Former District Attorney Meg Heap sought the death penalty in the murder case.

But that changed in May 2021 when new District Attorney Cook Jones withdrew the death penalty notice, according to court filings. No reason was given.

She also requested the four men be tried together. Their cases were originally separated because of the death penalty.

In late July of this year, Chatham County Superior Court Judge John Morse, Jr. denied the DA’s request to combine the cases into one for trial.

Judge Morse said the evidence is too complex and could become confusing if the men are tried together.

A trial date in the four cases is set for January 3.

WTOC Investigates asked the District Attorney’s Office why she withdrew the death penalty, and she responded no comment because her office does not comment on pending cases.