Trial week dedicated to dangers of DUI
This trial week in Jones County has been a testament to the dangers of drinking and driving. On February 2, 2018, Daniel J. Martin was convicted upon his plea, after a jury was selected, for driving under the influence and obstruction of an officer. Mr. Martin was arrested for driving under the influence on the same date as the Jones County prom last year. Due to the intervention of a concerned citizen, no one was injured as a result of Mr. Martin's actions. Mr. Martin was sentenced to twelve (12) months probation with 72 hours in jail and a $600 fine.
Roderick Charette was convicted by a Jones County Jury of Serious Injury by Vehicle (4 counts), Hit and Run (felony), Failure to Yield Right of Way, Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol (Less Safe), Failure to Report an Accident on February 1, 2018. Mr. Charette was driving his vehicle on Bill Conn Parkway at 6:00 p.m. on December 13, 2015 when he struck a motorcycle carrying Randall Frazier and Ann Frazier. Both individuals were thrown from the motorcycle and suffered catastrophic injuries. Testimony at trial showed that the quick reactions of Sloan May, a passing motorist, probably saved the life of Randall Frazier. The expert testimony of Lt. Jacob Hunnicutt of the Gray Police Department determined that Mr. Charette was operating his vehicle recklessly and in a manner less safe due to his impairment. The expert testimony of Kasey Wilson of the GBI crime lab showed that the defendant was clearly under the influence of alcohol at the time of the collision. Assistant District Attorney Ashley Herndon prosecuted the case. Ms. Herndon told the jury
"reckless and dangerous actions have consequences and it is your job to hold those who put our community in danger accountable". Sentencing has been set for February 8, 2018 at 10:30 a.m.
James Harmon Reese entered a plea of guilty on February 2, 2018 before trial was set to begin on Monday, February 5, 2018. Mr. Reese pled guilty to the offense of Homicide by Vehicle and Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol (Less Safe). On September 15, 2015, James Harmon Reese backed his vehicle over Lamar Blake Shelton in the driveway of his home. The force of the vehicle crushed the victim's heart, causing his immediate death. The case was presented to the Grand Jury of Jones County in February, 2017; however, Mr. Reese fled the jurisdiction and was not secured and extradited until November, 2017. As Mr. Reese was the former stepfather of Lamar Blake Shelton, the family of the victim was also related to the defendant. The victim's family was consulted regarding a plea in this case and actually asked for Mr. Reese to do no time or a minimum amount in jail. The District Attorney's Office negotiated a fifteen (15) year sentence with five (5) years to serve in confinement in an attempt to take into consideration the wishes of the victim's family as well as an attempt to be consistent with similarly situated cases in the circuit. Senior Assistant District Attorney Dawn M. Baskin prosecuted the case.