Murder trial delayed after assistant district attorney quits

Published: Mar. 30, 2023 at 6:03 PM EDT
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SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - The trial for two people accused of murdering a British tourist in Savannah last year has been put on-hold.

Chatham County District Attorney Shalena Cook Jones told a judge trial had to be delayed because one of her Assistant DAs quit without warning.

Georgiamae Lawrence and Corey Kent are both charged with Malice Murder after police say they shot-and-killed Benjamin Tucker and wounded another man last April.

Both defendants pleaded not guilty.

But now, their day in court will have to wait.

DA Jones says the Assistant DA assigned to the case, Nick Patel, resigned immediately, without notice, and with 12 cases scheduled for trial... 8 of which are serious violent felonies.

The DA says Patel resigned without making any preparations to transition his cases leaving the state no choice but to ask for more time.

Jones filed the motion for continuance the same day she received Patel’s resignation letter telling Judge Penny Haas Freeseman, “As Attorney Patel was lead counsel on his cases, no other prosecutor in this office can prepare the subject case, or his eleven other cases, in the span of four days.”

Patel’s LinkedIn profile says he now works in the neighboring Atlantic Judicial Circuit.

County records show back in 2020, the Chatham DA’s office had 26 felony prosecutors.

Thursday, the DA’s website shows just 12.