By Kathy Jefcoats
Defense attorney David Slemons lost a battle to have murder charges dismissed against his client Friday morning, arguing that the state lacks enough evidence to show she was involved in the shooting death of a Hampton man Oct. 20.
"There's no statement, no physical evidence, no corroboration, only the statement of an unknown inmate with an unknown criminal history who says she isn't trying to help herself," said Slemons. "There's not anybody back there who is not trying to help themselves."
Slemons represents Komeika Michelle Clark, charged with armed robbery and murder in the shooting death of Louis Sutton. Antwann Ball and Seborris Brooks are also charged with murder and are being held without bond in the Henry County Jail.
Sutton was found dead inside a Stockbridge home at 309 Cedar St., the apparent victim of a robbery gone wrong, said Henry County police Detective Wayne Bender.
"She set up the arrangement with Antwann Ball and Seborris Brooks for the purpose of robbing Louis Sutton, which turned bad," Bender said, "resulting in the loss of his life."
The three codefendants are cousins, he said.
Clark was first charged with armed robbery and released on $5,000 bond. However, based on information provided by a confidential informant locked up in the Henry County Jail, Bender said, Clark was re-arrested and charged with murder Feb. 13.
Bender's testimony under direct-examination by Assistant Solicitor Annie Deets provided more of an insight as to what police believe happened the night Sutton was killed.
Clark had met Sutton through Terrence Tyler, who is not charged in the case, and began to build a relationship with him. On Oct. 20, Clark went to the Cedar Street home between 7 and 8 p.m., said Bender. Between 8 and 8:30 p.m., Clark allowed Brooks into the house.
Bender testified during Ball's probable cause hearing earlier this month that the two men went to the house to rob Sutton of $20,000 cash and a quantity of marijuana.
"Seborris Brooks pulled a gun to rob Mr. Sutton of marijuana he'd just gotten that day, and some cash," Bender testified Friday. "A Boston terrier started barking at Brooks and he kicked it."
When he kicked the terrier, a pit bulldog attacked Brooks, biting him in the leg, he said, and a fight began between Sutton and Brooks. Ball, sitting in a car outside the home, came in when he heard shots fired.
"He came in and saw Louis Sutton beating up on Seborris Brooks," said Bender. "So Antwann Ball fired shots at Seborris Brooks. Seborris Brooks got his gun back and began firing too."
Officers took away nine casings from two different 9mm handguns from the scene for analysis, he said.
Although Clark is not suspected of pulling the trigger, she can be charged under Georgia law with murder as a party to the crime. In legal circles, the provision is known as "the hand of one is the hand of all."
Because the statement placing Clark at the scene came from a confidential informant presumably locked up with her at the county jail, Slemons suggested the informant was involved. But Bender said that is not the case.
"We have nothing to indicate the confidential informant was the scene," Bender said. "Nothing to indicate the informant had anything to do with the murder and we've made no promises to the informant. The informant has no motive to implicate Clark."
After hearing testimony and argument from both sides, Magistrate Wesley Shannon considered the issue for about 90 seconds before ruling to bind over the case to Superior Court. Clark will remain in jail unless she gets a bond on the murder charge.
It is not known when the case will be presented to the grand jury for possible indictment. Bender said in court that the investigation is ongoing.