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DNA leads to burglary charge

By Jason A. Smith

jsmith@henryherald.com

Criminal charges continue to mount against a McDonough man, who is suspected in several break-ins in Henry County.

Henry County Police, on Thursday, charged Hubbard Lee Cotton, 46, with burglary. He is being held without bond in the Henry County Jail, where he has remained since August on separate charges.

Cotton appeared in Henry County Magistrate Court Friday, represented by the Public Defender's Office. Judge Robert Godwin bound the most recent charge over to Henry County Superior Court.

The break-in reportedly occurred Aug. 20, 2009 at Patrick Rentals, located at 3803 Ga. Highway 42 in Stockbridge.

A Henry County Police report by Officer Christopher Harer states that the owner of the business, Frank Patrick, alerted authorities to a break-in at the location at 7:30 a.m.

"Mr. Patrick informed me that he found the front glass window knocked out when coming into work, and a rock was on the ground," the report states. "He stated that his cash drawer was taken, and there was approximately $16 in the drawer."

Harer, according to the report, found blood splattered on the broken glass. Surveillance video was taken from the scene by police, the officer wrote.

"On the video, I viewed a thin, black, male suspect, wearing a black shirt and black shorts, break into the store, rush behind the counter and grab the cash drawer, and exit the same way he came in," Harer wrote.

At the time Henry County Police charged Cotton in the case, he was being held in the Henry County Jail on two burglary charges, after being charged by McDonough Police Aug. 26. He is suspected, in those cases, of breaking into local businesses.

Henry Police Detective Bess Baugh linked Cotton to the Aug. 20 incident April 8, with DNA evidence reportedly found at the scene, according to a warrant application dated April 9. The information, the application states, came from the Federal Bureau of Investigation's Combined DNA Index System (CODIS).

"Detective Baugh received a CODIS hit from the [Georgia Bureau of Investigation] advising that the DNA data evidence is matched to ... Cotton," the warrant application states.