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Georgia Supreme Court affirms conviction in 2016 murder

The Georgia Supreme Court affirmed Monday the convictions and sentence of a LaGrange man found guilty of murder after 2016 shootings at Granger Park and Newnan Street, according to a press release from District Attorney John Cranford.

Hurston was originally convicted of murder, two violations of the Georgia State Gang Terrorism and Prevention Act, two counts of aggravated assault and two counts of possession of a firearm during commission of a felony in Troup County Superior Court on April 23, 2018. The Georgia Supreme Court’s decision Monday was unanimous. 

In June, the Supreme Court of Georgia also unanimously affirmed the convictions and sentence of Dextreion Shealey, now 23, of West Point, for his involvement in the shooting. 

Shealey had been found guilty of felony murder, one count of a violation of the Georgia State Gang Terrorism and Prevention Act and one count aggravated assault in 2018, according to the press release. 

Daven Tucker, 20, was killed in the shooting on Dec. 17, 2016. 

Coweta Judicial Circuit Superior Court Judge Emory Palmer, who presided over the trial, sentenced Hurston to serve life, with the possibility of parole, followed by 70 years in prison, and sentenced Shealey to serve life in prison, with the possibility of parole. 

Deputy Chief Assistant District Attorney Jack Winne tried the case to the jury and handled both appeals.

“The Supreme Court of Georgia’s affirmation of these convictions should be viewed by the people of LaGrange as an affirmation of the commitment of the LaGrange Police Department and the District Attorney’s Office to stop gang violence in our community,” Cranford said in the press release. “As I stated to the press following these jury trial convictions, this case included 911 calls made by law-abiding citizens as they lay on the floor of their homes avoiding bullets flying through their neighborhood. No member of our community should have to experience that. The State of Georgia’s Street Gang Act is meant to hold violent gang members accountable and that is exactly how it was used in this case. I am thankful that LaGrange PD Detective Brian Brown and Deputy Chief ADA Jack Winne were able to achieve justice for the victim’s family and all of the people of LaGrange with this conviction.”

Evidence at trial showed that Hurston, Shealey and several other defendants were all associated with the 4way street gang, also known as the Lot Boys gang, according to Cranford.

According to the release, the defendants participated in a drive-by shooting in the LaGrange High School parking lot at Granger Park just after 10 a.m. 

More than a dozen innocent bystanders were present at the time of the shooting.

Then, after conspiring to retaliate for one of their cars being hit by return fire at the first scene, the defendants drove in two cars to Newnan Street to shoot up a house where they believed their same targets from Granger Park were located.

Around 10:50 p.m., four of the defendants, including Hurston, fired multiple shots at the residence, one of which killed Tucker. 

The evidence showed that the shootings were motivated by a gang rivalry, according to the press release.

All seven of the other adult defendants    Shawndarious Sands, Charles Lovelace, Natori Lee, Coty Green, Zachary Holloway, Dantavious Rutledge, Andre Gilliam — pleaded guilty in Troup County Superior Court to Street Gang Act violations and aggravated assault, according to Cranford. 

Those defendants received sentences ranging from 20 years to serve 8 years in prison to 50 years to serve 33 years in prison, depending upon their relative culpability and relative cooperation with the investigation and prosecution.