By Jason A. Smith
A Stockbridge man was sentenced Friday to two life sentences and an additional five years in prison, for the deaths of two teenage girls.
Labaron Devon Curry, 20, was convicted Dec. 11, in Henry County Superior Court, of killing Molly Cohran and Yahshika Frye, both 16.
The two teenagers were shot June 2, 2007, during a party in the clubhouse at St. Ives Crossing Apartments in Stockbridge, after a fight broke out there.
Following a five-day bench trial, Curry was found guilty of two counts each of felony murder and possession of a firearm during the commission of a crime.
He will be required to serve at least 30 years in prison before he is eligible for parole, according to Superior Court Judge Arch McGarity. The judge, who presided over Curry's bench trial, said imposing a sentence in the case required him to "look into the future."
"I have to make a decision of whether I believe, today, that 30 years from now, there is a possibility that Mr. Curry could be a different individual than the one from that night in June of 2007," McGarity said.
The judge told Curry that he "made a very quick, irrational decision that caused the death of two people." However, McGarity is leaving the decision of whether to grant Curry's release, up to the Georgia Board of Pardons and Parole.
Curry's life sentences will be served concurrently, followed by five years on the gun charge.
Families of both victims were in the courtroom for the sentencing, but did not comment on the judge's decision.
Bruce Morriss, an attorney representing Molly Cohran's mother, Crystal Cohran, said the Cohran family wants to express "extreme gratitude" for the support they have received since the shooting.
"There are many members of local law enforcement, that worked so hard on this case," said Morriss. "There are many others that, over the last two-plus years, have supported Crystal and her family. We ... wanted to express our continued empathy for Yahshika's family, as they continue to go through this process of grieving."
Morriss added that federal lawsuits are pending, on behalf of the victims' families, against the Ohio-based Connor Group, which owns St. Ives Crossing.
"The Connor Group failed to provide adequate security at the clubhouse the night of the party," he said. "Discovery [in the civil case] is furiously ongoing, and once that is completed, we will have a trial sometime in 2010."
Attorney Jeff Shiver, representing Frye's mother, Kimberly Graves, in a separate civil suit against the apartment complex, agreed with Morriss' assessment of security issues that were present at St. Ives Crossing prior to the graduation party.
"Based on crime that had been occurring at the property, more should have been done to prevent the shooting," said Shiver.
The management at St. Ives Crossing Apartments could not be reached for comment on Friday.