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Felon gets life, plus 10 years, in Jonesboro killing

Photo by Kathy Jefcoats
Convicted killer Timothy Alan Boothe is brought back into the courtroom Friday night to hear Judge Al Collier tell him about his right to appeal his conviction. He was sentenced to life plus 10 years for the murder of Geneva Strickland.

Photo by Kathy Jefcoats Convicted killer Timothy Alan Boothe is brought back into the courtroom Friday night to hear Judge Al Collier tell him about his right to appeal his conviction. He was sentenced to life plus 10 years for the murder of Geneva Strickland.

By Kathy Jefcoats

kjefcoats@news-daily.com

After deliberating about two hours Friday, a Clayton County jury convicted a man in the Halloween 2007 murder of a 68-year-old woman, who hired him for odd jobs around her Jonesboro home.

Timothy Alan Boothe, 44, sat stone-faced as the five guilty verdicts were read just after 8 p.m. The jury found him guilty of felony and malice murder, two counts of burglary, and one of false imprisonment.

Boothe was one of several handymen who did odd jobs at Geneva Strickland's Fayetteville Road home. He also fathered a child with one of her nieces.

None of Boothe's family spoke on his behalf, and neither did he. But Strickland's only child, Jack Ivey Sr., of Albany, asked Collier to keep Boothe in prison as long as possible.

"I think there's a whole lot more to this than meets the eye, and I think if he ever gets out, there will be lives in danger," said Ivey. "I don't think he needs to be out."

Prosecutor Katie Powers asked for the maximum term.

"Your Honor has seen the pictures, heard the details, you know the horrific things Geneva Strickland had to go through," said Powers. "His [Boothe's] criminal history goes back to 1984, and continued to escalate to the loss of life."

Noting Boothe's numerous felony convictions, Judge Al Collier sentenced him as a recidivist to life in prison, plus 10 years, to be served consecutive to the life sentence. Boothe briefly shook his head, but never spoke.

Powers was satisfied with the verdict.

"We feel like justice was finally served for Geneva Strickland and her family," she said. "This has been four years coming for this family. This is one of the more heinous cases I've [seen] come through the office."

Strickland was to have eye surgery the day after she died, and she was homebound. She had to have a caretaker and people like Boothe to help her with chores. But she was also known to keep large sums of money in her back bedroom, and prosecutors said the lure was too much for the cash-strapped Boothe.

A dramatic event in Friday's proceedings came when prosecutor Luana Popescu Nolen showed jurors a photo of Boothe as he looked at the time of the murder, beside a sketch created from an eyewitness. Because the hair was different in each, Nolen blocked the hair with white paper so jurors could focus solely on the face in each image. She said the similarities were startling.

Nolen and Powers also re-enacted what they believed happened to Strickland as her head and face were wrapped in an Ace bandage. During the wrapping, prosecutors said a blue latex glove worn by the killer got tangled in the bandage. Boothe's DNA was found inside the glove.

Later, the prosecutors learned jurors did a similar re-enactment using the foreman as the "victim" and toilet paper in place of the bandage.

The jury foreman, who did not want to be identified, said once the panel weighed the evidence, Boothe came out on the short end.

"It came down to the evidence, and his lack of an alibi," he said. "There was too much stacked on him saying he was guilty, than saying he was not guilty. We tried to be objective, but it came down to the facts and doing the right thing. DNA played a big part."

Defense attorney Darrell B. Reynolds said Boothe will appeal, but will be represented by a public defender. Reynolds also defended Boothe in his first trial in February, that ended in a mistrial when jurors couldn't agree.