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|Ga. Supreme Court to hear case of gay man convicted of murder|
|by Dyana Bagby|
|February 11, 2011 13:58|
The case of a gay man convicted of killing a man who allegedly called him and his boyfriend “faggots” will go before the state Supreme Court on Monday.
The state is appealing a White County judge’s ruling granting a new trial to Samuel Mitchell Abernathy. Abernathy was convicted of stabbing and killing Darrin Ramey after Ramey called Mitchell and his partner at the time, John Geren, “faggots.” The incident occurred in the parking lot of the Southside Bar in Helen, Ga., in January 2008.
Mitchell was convicted in November 2008 of malice murder and sentenced to life in prison.
According to a press release from the state Supreme Court, Abernathy said he was jumped by Ramey and acted in self-defense. Abernathy and Geren were both charged with murder but the state dropped its charges against Geren after he agreed to testify against Abernathy.
Abernathy was granted a new trial after the judge ruled there was a conflict of interest between him and his public defender, Charles Brown. According to records, Brown was a prosecutor for the city of Helen and had prosecuted Abernathy on a DUI charge in May 2007 and obtained an order banning Abernathy from the Southside Bar.
Abernathy’s current attorney further argues “the court also erred in failing to grant the motion based on 20 additional grounds, including Brown’s failure to investigate and present as a defense Abernathy’s significant history of mental illness and brain injury as a young child, and Brown’s failure to object when the State injected that Geren and Abernathy had a homosexual relationship.”
The state, however, is arguing that Abernathy did receive proper legal representation and that he does not deserve a new trial.
Photo: Samuel Mitchell Abernathy (courtesy Georgia Department of Corrections)
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