Former district attorney, Tom Durden passes away

Published: Jul. 27, 2023 at 6:44 PM EDT|Updated: Jul. 28, 2023 at 5:13 PM EDT
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SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - Many in Coastal Georgia are remembering a longtime leader in the legal community.

Former Atlantic Circuit District Attorney Tom Durden passed away Thursday, just months after he retired.

Colleagues remember Durden as a prosecutor who worked to get justice inside the courtrooms and out for the six counties he served.

He spent close to 40 years trying cases in Bryan, Evans, McIntosh, Liberty, Long, and Tattnall counties. First as an assistant district attorney back in 1984.

Evans County’s former long time sheriff remembers him being hands on in cases from the beginning.

“I remember him coming out to a drug investigation and walking the road looking for a pair of shoes someone had thrown out. I remember him coming out to a homicide,” Randall Tippins said.

In 1998, he ran for the position formerly held by longtime DA Dupont Cheney. He served six terms, leading the prosecution of crimes across the region.

“Even after he became DA, he still picked his cases and tried them himself.”

Those included the infamous Tomato Patch Murder in Long County and a group of Fort Stewart soldiers convicted of murdering two teens to hide their militia group. And he played a role in getting the GBI investigation started into the killing of Ahmaud Arbery.

Durden announced last year that he would retire and not seek reelection.

Arrangements are still incomplete. We’ll keep you posted.