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Sex crimes on Lowndes Circuit Court trial docket

 

Ryan Poe

 

A 72-year-old Artesia man accused of raping his 16-year-old granddaughter is one of several sex crime trials on the docket this month in Lowndes County Circuit Court, which began Monday. 

 

David Arthur Gill, of 7785 Gilmer Wilburn Road, was arrested in August after the victim claimed he had raped her in June. 

 

Gill and his granddaughter had sex at various times in the house while her father was at work, according to the Lowndes County Sheriff''s Office report. 

 

The defendant, who is out of jail after posting a $40,000 bond, is scheduled to appear Nov. 15 before 16th District Circuit Court Judge Jim Kitchens to face a charge of sexual battery. 

 

Also scheduled to appear that day before 16th Circuit Court Judge Lee Howard is Robert Warren Triplett Jr., who faces a charge of exploitation of a child. 

 

Triplett, 57, of 181 Golding Road, pleaded guilty to possessing child pornography in federal court Aug. 27. 

 

He was arrested in October 2009 after investigators looking into the disappearance of his stepdaughter found explicit photos of minor children on a computer from his home. 

 

His then-21-year-old stepdaughter, Kaila Morris, has been missing since Sept. 17, 2009, when she was last seen by Triplett. 

 

Triplett claimed her mother, Bonnie Morris Triplett, who was vacationing in Florida at the time, and at least one unknown person left their home with Morris in a dark-colored van or sport utility vehicle. 

 

He had pleaded not guilty to the child pornography charges in July, but changed his plea after signing a plea agreement that guaranteed no further pornography charges would be leveled against him. 

 

District Attorney Forrest Allgood said Tuesday he had been in contact with Triplett''s attorneys, but was unsure if he would plead out of state charges. 

 

Also scheduled to appear before Howard is Benjamin Lee Shelton, former Sunday school teacher and part-time youth leader, who is charged with three counts of sexual battery. 

 

Shelton, of 924 Third Ave. N., is scheduled to appear in court Nov. 29 to face the charges, which reportedly occurred in a "summer-camp type setting." 

 

The former youth leader at Eastview Baptist Church in New Hope was arrested Jan 22, 2009, after Lowndes County Sheriff''s Department investigators learned he may have sexually abused a 17-year-old boy. 

 

On the same day as Shelton''s hearing, there are three murder trials on the docket that are expected to be postponed. 

 

Two of those trials are for Charlton Colom before Kitchens and Sylvester N. Johnson before Howard. 

 

Colom, 32, of 291 Sherman Circle, was charged with capital murder Dec. 15, 2008, six days after the shooting death of Michael Gordon. 

 

Gordon was shot once in the upper body after Colom knocked on his door and entered his residence, according to witnesses, who said he fled the scene in an Oldsmobile Cutlass. 

 

Authorities believe Colom was trying to rob Gordon and are pursuing the death penalty. 

 

Johnson, 23, of 1407 Cloverdale Place in Aberdeen, also faces a capital murder charge for the October 2009 shooting death of Lowndes County club owner Clarence "Big C" Trimble. 

 

Trimble, who also owns a tire shop in the area, was shot multiple times in the back of the head. 

 

Authorities said an undisclosed amount of cash was taken from the club''s registers, although the amount is thought to have been less than $100. 

 

Also charged in the murder is Cedrick Whitley, 24, of 20393 Egypt Road in Aberdeen. His court date has not been set. 

 

The other murder trial is that of Rennie Gibbs, of 300 S. Lehmberg Road, who was charged in 2006 with the depraved-heart murder of her unborn child. 

 

Gibbs, then 16, is accused of overdosing on cocaine, causing her unborn child to be stillborn. 

 

Her case, which would eventually be heard by Kitchens, is currently pending before the state Supreme Court, said Assistant District Attorney Mark Jackson.

 

 

 

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