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Drug Gang Trial - Week 4

Note: To catch up on the first three weeks of this drug gang, murder trial of Sammy and Juan Duque, Marco Antonio Cordero, Daniel Villenas-Reyes, Josh Smith and Shane Rosser. Go to “Archives”, and click on “Feature Stories”.

Friday Evening, February 8, 2008

Thanks to the anonymous e-mailer who made it clear that it is “Borden” Springs, not “Gordon Springs”, Alabama. My ears will be 51 in a few weeks, along with the rest of this grandma’s body. Keep me straight!

TW

Most of Friday afternoon was spent with defense attorneys trying to discredit the government’s witness to the 7th Street, Cedartown, murders. But once again, as many of the government’s witnesses, who are former meth addicts, who used to lie, deal and in some cases, steal, Amada Sorrells stood up to the grueling assaults, took responsibility for her actions, and admitted that even as late as her Federal Grand Jury Testimony in 2004, had lied about some things. But as she proudly explained to defense attorney after defense attorney trying to discredit her, that it was she who decided to come fully clean, and called FBI Special Agent Bob Meadows, to tell him she had lied at the FGJ, risking the loss of her Immunity from Prosecution deal with the Polk County DA’s office.

Like the testimonies of Misty McCray, Candala Adams, Brandee Kines and even Josh Smith himself, Amanda Sorrells testimony came across as the credible statement of a person who made serious mistakes, but who was stepping up, accepting responsibility, and the consequences thereof.

Once Sorrels completed her testimony, Cedartown Police Department’s John Pilgrim and Sgt. Jonathan Zuker took the stand to tell about the September 16, 2003 afternoon they responded to the Emergency calls at 7th Street. According to Officer Pilgrim, when he arrived at the fire, he saw an Hispanic man lying half way in and half way of the front door of the residence. Pilgrim said that the gentleman’s clothes were still smoking, and he called EMS to find out if he could pour water on the burn victim, without injuring him any further.

The victim was conscience, and talking in Spanish to two neighbors who had responded to the smoke and fire. EMS arrived and began treating the victim that day, before Pilgrim had a chance to locate a source of water.

Sgt. Zuker, who was a Canine Officer at that time, told the court that he was just finishing up on a drug bust, when he heard the distress call, and left to take his canine partner, “Mike”, to the scene. Mike, a Belgian Malawa, trained in Europe as a dual purpose law enforcement dog, has training in narcotics detection and tracking.

Mike was able to find the scent/trail of the persons who left the house through the back door, until they got in their vehicle, where tire tracks were found. This corresponded with testimony by both Erika Shelly and Amanda Sorrells that they had left in a car driven to the back door entrance, down the gravel alleyway.

Testimony will resume Monday morning, at 9:30am.

Teresa Watson

Friday Morning, February 8, 2008 - Emotional Eyewitness Account of Murders

23 year old Un-indicted co-conspirator Amanda Sorrels took the stand this morning, as Assistant United States Attorney Kim Dammers began laying the foundation for Sorrell’s knowledge of the conspiracy, the affiliations, and the manner of operations, all leading up to the three September 16, 2003 murders which occurred on 7th Street in Cedartown.

The soft spoken Sorrells was only eighteen when she first became involved with Phil Smith, now deceased, who had introduced her to defendants Daniel Villenas-Reyes, Marco Antonio Cordero, Sammy Duque and Juan Duque. She and Smith actually lived for a short time with Villenas-Reyes and Cordero at a house on the corner of 7th Street and Slusser Avenue in Cedartown.

After Phil Smith died on January 24, 2003, Sorrels became intimate with Villenas-Reyes, and helped him run his drug business, keeping notes on amounts of drugs sold/fronted and moneys owed/collected.

Sorrels was able to link Timothy Stroup, Erika Shelly, Billy Sims, “Big Country”, Ricky Shaw, Marcella Martinez, (Villenas-Reyes’ wife), Jesse Vargas, Magoo, (Bobby Johnson), Destiny Griffin, Misty McCray, Marie Rodgers, Carl Smith of Bordon Springs, Alabama, Ivan Molina, Steve Brown, Shane Griffith, Dana Crider, and others to the drug trafficking activities of Daniel Villenas-Reyes and Marco Antonio Cordero.

She also fingered Cordero as the man in charge of the organization, the one who made all of the decisions as to who sold to whom, how much was fronted or sold and who bought the dope. Sorrells also recounted the time in May of 2003 when she was ordered to drive to Texas, and pick up Villenas-Reyes, who had been up in arrested and deported in March a few months earlier.

Shortly before lunch, Ms. Dammers led Sorrels in to the recounting of the September 16, 2003 murders at a 7th Street, Cedartown house of prostitution. Sorrels who was only eighteen, and an intravenous meth user, described an argument she witnessed between Villenas-Reyes and a woman named “Andrea”. It was the second such argument Sorrels had witnessed between the two, because the quality of the meth Villenas-Reyes was supplying was getting bad. According to Sorrels, Villenas-Reyes mainlined cocaine and meth, and had to start cutting his meth supplies with other ingredients, which led to complaints from regular customers.

During this argument, Villenas-Reyes allegedly grabbed “Andrea’, led her to another room, tied her up with two boys who lived at the house, and put a plastic bag over “Andrea’s” head. Sorrels testified that she followed in to that room, in time to argue with Villenas-Reyes, asking him not to shoot the bound individuals.

She heard two gun shots, looked and saw one of the boys trying to crawl away, as she watched Villenas-Reyes shoot him in the back of the head. Villenas-Reyes then ordered Sorrels to pour a milk jug full of fluid, she described as smelling like kerosene, all over the room, at which point she exited the room.

When Ms. Dammers asked why she didn’t just leave, Sorrels replied, “ Why, so he could shoot me too”?

Sorrels, left with Erika Shelly, and the boy with the “Bad teeth”, shot up on meth, and then drove to the Super 8 Motel in Rome, Georgia, where Villenas-Reyes was waiting for them. The next day, Sorrels left Villenas-Reyes, and never saw him again until today. “I never wanted to be near him again”, Sorrels told the court through tears.

After going to police in Cedartown, Sorrels received immunity from prosecution, and she was moved out of town. She has received a stipend from the Federal Government, and went in to in-patient rehab. Sorrels is clean now for almost three years, and works full time at an undisclosed location out of state.

Amanda Sorrells’ cross-examination will begin at 1:30pm.

Teresa Watson

Thursday Morning, February 7, 2008

Court has been recessed for the day, due to the unexpected illness of one of the defense attorneys. Robert Citronberg was hospitalized yesterday evening at Redmond Regional Medical Center, but expects to be released later today. Mr. Citronberg represents Daniel Villenas-Reyes, along with co-counsel, Rome attorney Jason Lewis.

Normally, Lewis could have carried on in Citronberg’s absence, however, the government’s next witness, Amanda Sorrells, will be testifying as an eye witness to murders which Daniel Villenas-Reyes is charged with committing, and Citronberg has been preparing specifically for her cross examination.

After a brief recess to determine if certain out of state witnesses and professional witnesses for tomorrow, could be re-scheduled, Judge Harold L. Murphy dismissed jurors until tomorrow morning, at 9:30, when testimony will resume.

Teresa Watson

Wednesday Evening, February 6, 2008

The Government closed out Wednesday with another strong day of testimony from several witnesses, in the Drug Gang Murder trial of Sammy and Juan Duque, Marco Antonio Cordero, Daniel Villenas-Reyes and Shane Rosser

The biggest blow to the defense came earlier this week when co-defendant Josh Smith worked out a Plea Agreement, in return for his testimony against the Conspiracy and Criminal Enterprise, including his involvement in the Cunningham Road murders of T.J. Agan and Chris Fortenberry.

The defense team tried to impeach Josh Smith’s solid direct testimony by showing the video of his 2004 interview by former Floyd County Detective Dallas Battle. But Smith was so sure and so credible, so resolved that he was able to fend off the morning long attacks by admitting that he lied. His excuse? After knowing about the shooting of Jesse Vargas by members of the gang, after being beaten by Sane Rosser, after being threatened by Shane Rosser, in front of witnesses and finally after Shane Rosser and others told him the address where Smith’s children lived with their grandmother, Smith knew to keep his mouth shut back in 2004.

Smith even had the chance, on re-direct, to go in to some detail about his beating by Shane Rosser. Just weeks before the Cunningham Road murders, according to Smith, he received a phone call from Shane Rosser, ordering him to a hotel room at the Rome, Georgia Ramada Inn. When he got to the hotel room, he walked through the door, and woke up five days later in the hospital at Floyd Medical Center, with his broken jaw wired shut.

According to Smith, Shane Rosser and others had staged a car accident, with Smith in his car, supposedly running in to an apartment at the Housing Authority. But as Smith explained to the court, he was found unconscious in the passenger side of the 1965 Mustang, with his head through the windshield, on the passenger side, and all of the blood on the passenger side of the car.

Smith was released from Floyd Medical Center on March 25, 2003. Two days later, Smith was instructed to meet Rosser at the Huddle House, where he met Rosser, and Erika Shelly. From there, the trio drove to the Golden Gallon on Cave Springs Road, and on to Cunningham Road where Shane Rosser allegedly shot and killed T.J. Agan and Chris Fortenberry.

After weeks of building the foundation for this fear, with witness after witness testifying to the violent nature of Shane Rosser and other members of the conspiracy, it was clear that even a reasonable person not hooked on meth would consider lying and keeping their mouth shut about the criminal activities.

But even after Smith left the stand, the government continued to connect the tedious dots of affiliations among various members of the alleged conspiracy. Taking nothing for granted, they continued to present witnesses to corroborate previous testimony about acts of violence and threats on the part of Shane Rosser against various individuals.

Michael Reed, 33, of Floyd County, took the stand to testify about events placing Shane Rosser and Josh Smith together, and identifying Josh Smith and Brandee Kine’s Ford Expedition. Russell Owens, 51, of Lindale, then took the stand to testify about his life long relationship to his cousin, Shane Rosser.

Specifically, Owens was able to detail significant drug trafficking on the part of his cousin, related primarily to Owen’s sister’s house on Buttermilk Road west of Cave Springs, Georgia, and the Alabama home of Shane Rosser’s parents. He told about stealing vehicles for Rosser, as well.

Owens also witnessed two separate occasions of violence against Candala Adams, who testified last week. On one occasion, Owens was in the car when Rosser allegedly mentioned the murders, at which point Adams mentioned Cunningham Road. Owens said that Rosser grabbed ADams by the mouth, stuck a gun in her face, and told her he would blow her “F _ _ _ ing” brains out if she ever mentioned it again. At another time, according to Owens, Rosser did not like something Adams had said, and so he hit her in the head with a guitar.

Owens was allegedly present at a home at Brushy Branch, a lake here in Floyd County, when Rosser was collecting from some individuals. According to Owens, Rosser started beating the man up with a gun, and when the woman started screaming, Rosser hit her in the face with the gun.

Owens then told the court that several times before the Cunningham Road murders,

Rosser had complained to him about some boys on Cunningham owing him money. One day, according to Owens, as he was working on cars at the shop at his sister’s place on Buttermilk Road, Shane Rosser walked in, and threw a newspaper on the counter, ordering Owens to read it. Owens told the court that since he only can read at a third grade level, he asked his cousin to read it to him. The story told about Agan and Fortenberry being shot execution style at the Cunningham Road address.

While he seemed a simple man, both GBI Special Agent J.P Foster, as well as FBI Special Agent Bob Meadows have trusted Owens for several years as a Confidential Informant, using him to work in a Bordon Springs, Alabama, meth case. On several occasions, Owens wore wires and cameras for the agents, which have lead to arrests and guilty pleas by several suspects.

Clifford Allmon then took the stand, testifying that he was Shane Rosser’s best friend, setting a time period for Rosser’s previous drug activity reaching back in to the late 1990’s.

Defense attorney Mike Trost questioned Allmon about possible reasons for his turning on his “best friend”, asking Allmon if it made him mad when Allmon learned that Shane Rosser had slept with his wife. “Sir, he done me favor”, responded Allmon, to which the courtroom erupted in laughter. When Judge Murphy gained his composure, he said, “Shameless”.

The final witness of the day was Brandee Kines, who testified about her relationship with Josh Smith. Kines lived with Smith in her home in Silver Creek, on Pleasant Valley Road, after her divorce from her husband, Ray Kines, Josh Smith’s good friend. Brandee Kines helped Smith in the management of his drug business, and had frequent contact with Daniel Villenas-Reyes and Reyes’wife, Marcella Martinez, watching both the money and drugs trade hands.

Kines and Smith were engaged to be married on August 29, 2003, but the day before the wedding, Smith disappeared. When he showed up the next day, according to Kines, he told her that he could not marry her, because he was going to be arrested for murder.

Kines also testified to the time she visited Josh Smith in jail, when both he and Daniel Villenas-Reyes were allowed out in to visitation at the same time. While she was talking to Smith, Villenas-Reyes hit on the glass next to them, and made a motion with his hand, drawing it across his throat. Kines took that as a threat not to talk to law enforcement.

Testimony will resume tomorrow morning at 9:30am, with the cross examination of Kines.

Teresa Watson

Wednesday Morning, February 6, 2008

This morning’s session of the Drug Gang Murder trial of Sammy and Juan Duque, Marco Antonio Cordero, Daniel Villenas-Reyes and Shane Rosser, started out with accusations by Defense Attorney Mike Trost that the government had not kept Josh Smith properly sequestered in between the time he left the stand yesterday after direct examination, and this morning for resumption of cross examination. He indicated the prosecution had engaged in preparation of the recently turned witness, Josh Smith. Trost said it was a violation of sequestration rules, to which Judge Harold L. Murphy countered that he had never encountered that argument except in DeKalb County civil cases, thirty years earlier.

Assistant United States Attorney, Kim Dammers, explained to the court that Josh Smith had been sequestered as space allowed at the Federal Building, and that this morning he had been brought in with others, offered a newspaper, coffee and water, and had engaged the staff in small talk about the Primary Elections yesterday.

Judge Murphy denied the defense’s objection.

Before Josh Smith took the stand, Georgia Power Investigator Gary West took the stand briefly to testify about the power at the Cunningham Road address having been turned off by Georgia Power on the day the murders occurred.

When Josh Smith resumed the stand to complete his cross examination, defense attorney Mike Trost played the 2004 interview video tape of Smith by former Floyd County Detective Dallas Battle. It was interesting for this reporter to see a veteran detective work the interview. Although Josh Smith admitted later that at the time of the interview, he had been up for fifteen days straight, with no sleep, it was none the less fascinating to watch. For long periods of time, Smith sounded like, and in fact could have passed as a Bill Clinton impersonator. His voice, mannerisms and demeanor today seem to belong to someone else.

Testimony will resume at 1:45pm.

Teresa Watson

Tuesday Evening, February 5, 2008 - Legal Maneuvering

Legal maneuvering took the latter part of the morning and spilled over in to the afternoon session, as defense attorneys tried to jockey for better positions for their clients in the cross examination of Josh Smith. Smith, who plead guilty yesterday to Counts 1, 21 & 23, including his part in the murders of T.J. Agan and Chris Fortenberry, testified so substantially different from his position held for the last four years, and for what other defense attorneys had prepared for, that there was great consternation.

Clay Whitaker, defense attorney for Sammy Duque, tried to force a mistrial today, by what he called irreversible error in the government’s failure to lay a proper foundation for a question relative to first hand knowledge of comments made to Josh Smith by his client, Sammy Duque. Whitaker argued that because of Smith’s late plea yesterday, which substantially changed much of what all of the defendants had relied on to prepare for their various defenses, that a mistrial should be had because of the highly prejudicial nature of the line of the Governments questioning.

Judge Murphy did not agree, however, he did charge the jury when they resumed, that the question asked by the government was improper, as the foundation had not been properly laid.

In another dust-up, Judge Murphy did allow a request by Mike Trost, Shane Rosser’s attorney, that he be allowed to show the jury the 2004 video taped interview of Josh Smith by former Floyd County detective Dallas Battle. Originally, Trost argued that it was to impeach Smith’s testimony, under USSC, U.S. v Gordon.

Assistant United States Attorney Kim Dammers argued that U.S. v Gordon had been decided in 1968, prior to the 1975 Rules of Evidence. But Trost countered with the argument that U.S. v Gordon rested on inconsistencies of comments made, and had not been overturned, despite the new Rules of Evidence.

In the end, Judge Murphy allowed the video interview, in part, not so much for impeachment, but to show to the jury the demeanor, facial expressions and body language of Josh Smith in his 2004 interview by Detective Battle, as his testimony today was so inconsistent. In the meantime, as Josh Smith’s cross was delayed until the video could be prepared, the Government called two more witnesses.

Steven Martin Busby took the stand to talk about his relationship with Shane Rosser, threats to Busby by Shane Rosser, as well as a discussion he had with Rosser, when Rosser admitted that he had killed Agan and Fortenberry. Busby told the court, “He put a gun to my head and told me he would blow my ‘f_ _ _ ing head off if I ever told”.

Later, when asked by defense attorney Mike Trost why he did not come forward immediately when he learned that Rosser had killed his good friend, T.J. Agan, Busby responded, “When someone sticks a gun between your eyes, and says he gonna blow your ‘f_ _ _ ing’ brains out - yeah, I was scared”.

The last witness of the day was Amanda Causey, who had lived with Keith Shed for several years before he was arrested. Causey related that when Shed went to prison, “Ozzie”, co-conspirator Ozvaldo Andrade, expected her to take up Shed’s business, since she had already been helping deliver drugs, collect money, and was therefore familiar with all of the customers. At one point, she got in debt to Andrade for approximately $30,000.00.

Causey testified that at one time, both Josh Smith and Shane Rosser were her drug clients, but as she became intimate with Josh Smith, Smith began to deal directly with Ozvaldo Andrade. Causey linked Andrade as well as Edgar Bautista Becerra, the two who had shot Jesse Vargas, with Daniel Villenas-Reyes, and a man Causey referred to as “Victor”.

Testimony will resume Wednesday morning, at 9:30am.

Teresa Watson

Tuesday Morning, February 5, 2008 - Josh Smith Takes the Stand

Dr. Daniel Goldfaden, a cardio-thoracic surgeon at Floyd Medical Center took the stand this morning, to describe wounds which Jesse Vargas sustained during the 2002 shooting at his home in Sherwood Forest. Vargas was shot at least five times, twice in the left lung, once in the right shoulder through the scapula, once in the abdomen, although the wound did not penetrate the abdominal cavity, and once in a superficial wound to the leg. There was a sixth, superficial wound to the neck, which could have been a sixth individual shot, or a nick as the bullet penetrating the scapula passed the neck.

Angela McGraw, a histologist from FMC, followed, to identify the bullet which her department had received from surgery that day, and the assigned surgical number for identification.

Then, Joshua Daryl Smith took the stand, and began his very long testimony about his affiliation with various members of the Criminal Enterprise, the severe beating he received at the hands of Shane Rosser, which left him unconscious for almost a week. Smith had been released from the hospital for only a couple of days when Rosser called him to tell him that he would accompany Rosser to collect a drug debt. According to Smith, his knowledge of the Jesse Vargas shooting, the beating from Shane Rosser, as well as threats against his family should he talk to Law Enforcement, placed him in fear to go to authorities.

Smith’s testimony mirrored Erika Shelly’s testimony of the night of the Cunningham Road murders, except for a few minor details. Smith said that he was standing outside of the trailer when he heard the first gun shots, at which point the entered the trailer. Agan was on the floor already, and Fortenberry, according to Smith, was running from the back bedroom towards the front of the trailer. According to Smith, Rosser ordered Fortenberry on the floor, and then ordered Josh Smith to shoot him. When Smith refused, an argument ensued, during which Rosser called Smith a “Pussy”, and then shot Fortenberry in the back of the head.

Smith confirmed that Fortenberry’s body had to be pulled out from in front of the door, in order for Erika Shelly, whom he had known only as “the red-headed girl”, to exit the trailer. Smith told the court that he and Rosser then searched the trailer for money, drugs and valuables, primarily weapons. They also found a black notebook in the hidden, hollowed out hole in the wall of the trailer near the back bedroom, behind a sheet of paneling.

Testimony will resume at 1:15pm

Teresa Watson

Monday Morning, February 4, 2008 - Josh Smith Pleads Guilty

Josh Smith. Co-defendant in the Drug Gang Murder Trial along with Sammy and Juan Duque, Marco Antonio Cordero, Daniel Villenas-Reyes and Shane Rosser, plead guilty this morning in Federal Magistrates Court, to Counts 21 and 23 of the 29 man indictment handed down in July 2005. These specific counts included the shooting death of Truitt Jerome Agan, (T.J), and Christopher Fortenberry.

Josh Smith will take the stand later today to tell the jury about his involvement in the Criminal Conspiracy, which he became involved with in the fall of 2002. He was made aware of the shooting and attempted murder of Jesse Vargas, and was told by other members of the conspiracy that this was what happened to snitches and those who would not re-pay their drug debts.

Josh Smith was later subjected to a beating by members of the conspiracy, during which he suffered a broken jaw. He was told that if he ever snitched, he and his children would be killed.

ON the night of March 27, 2003, Shane Rosser called Smith, and told him he needed to help him collect a debt from T.J. Agan, because Agan owed a significant sum to Rosser, who in turn owed a significant sum to Sammy Duque. Smith accompanied Rosser and Erika Shelly to Agan and Fortenberry’s trailer that night, and while they carried guns, Smith thought that it was only to threaten. After shooting Agan, Rosser ordered Smith to shoot Fortenberry, Smith refused, they argued, and Rosser shot Fortenberry as well.

Special Agent Robert W. Meadows, FBI, has been the lead agent in this case, assisted by I.C.E. Special Agent Everhart, GBI Special Agent J.P. Foster and Major Tommy Shifflet of the Floyd County Police Department . Assistant United States Attorneys Kim Dammers and William Traynor have prosecuted this case.

Smith’s sentencing date is set for April 11, 2008.

Stay tuned for updates later today.

Teresa Watson


Comments (29)

I found your site on technorati and read a few of your other posts. Keep up the good work. I just added your RSS feed to my Google News Reader. Looking forward to reading more from you.

Tim Ramsey

Tim Ramsey
February 5th, 2008 at 1:39 pm

I notice there is an I.C.E. Special Agent,Everhart. I believe I asked before, are any of these defendents in this country illegally? We are constantly barraged with stories of gang activity and drug trafficing across the border. I seem to remember other charges in this case about the illegal trafficing of immigrants across the border. These are daily occurences and another very profitable buisiness for these gangs is selling counterfeit documentation for I.D. purposes. It’s possible a lot of this HORROR STORY is the result of our inability to stop the illegal traffic across our borders with Mexico and Canada. Just one more nail in the coffin of what will eventually contribute to more stories just like this. These same crimes are being commited all over this country, everyday. This is the reality our children will inherit.

Dear Room4,

I am sorry I missed your question. I thought I did mention it in the first story, though. Yes, and also, a couple of them had already been deported before, came back within two to three months, and were back in the local drug scene again. You are right…it is happening every day. I would suggest reading my very first op-ed about Border Security. Go to my archives, under “Whine & Opine” all the way back. I adapted it from a letter/proposal I sent o Newt Gingrich, Senators Saxby Chambliss and Johnny Isakson, Phil Gingrey, as well as many others, more than a year ago.

Let me know what you think.

TW

ROOM4ONEMORE
February 5th, 2008 at 5:40 pm

I can tell you that there are some female folk that will not be happy with Josh Smith being “intimate” with someone. The crazy thing is, there are more than one who thought they were the only one.

Dear RGS,

That is funny.

TW

romegasir
February 6th, 2008 at 12:25 am

TW, I read the op-ed on border security. Our Federal Government has certainly been negligent in controlling our borders, but criminaly so after 9-11. Terrorists, drugs, gangs, bombs, and anything else you can name can easily be moved back and forth across our borders. It boggles the mind that nothing really has been done to secure this country from even the least of these threats. Deportation is a joke, as exampled by some of the defendents in this drug-murder trial. Just crossing our borders without permission and documentation breaks the laws of our country. Therefore, it is a criminal act. People that knowingly break laws are criminals. On the other hand, if I were in a position to make my life and the lives of my family better and be reasonably sure I wouldn’t go to jail, I would probably cross myself. Most people do just want to work and have the things hard work can bring. But even the few that would cross with these hard-working, honest people, to cause misery and death, are too many. Right now there is no way to distinguish who is what, until it is too late. This is just one more huge problem, we as citizens, need to force our Government to address. Sooner rather than later.

Dear Room4,

This is the most serious issue facing our National Defense as well as Crime in the United States, in my opinion. I may even re-run the op-ed this Sunday. I am working on another one, and am debating as to which one is more timely. One relates to Chattooga County, (local), and one our National Defense.

Thanks for taking the time to read the op-ed.

TW

ROOM4ONEMORE
February 6th, 2008 at 11:11 am

Amanda was “intimate” with anyone who had drugs.. I grew up with her, Went to school with her.. She lived down the road from me for yrs

Bobby (SSL)
February 6th, 2008 at 11:11 am

How simple can it be to solve and prevent crime??? Very simple… Accept the need to subject persons of interest and knowledge to a controlled polygraph administered by the FBI and we will be off to the races!!! KISS personified!!!

The missing child and nissing person returned safely, most likely! As well as GREATLY reduced crime!!!

REFORM !
February 6th, 2008 at 6:50 pm

Life can be pretty simple, if they would just follow the rules of the bible. It tells you how to live life and the consequences if you don’t follow the rules.
There may be readers that don’t believe in what I’m saying, but this is the way I feel. Believing in something you cannot see, is hard for some people to comprehend. But, there is a power greater than all of us.
The govt. doesn’t want to change the rules, because they themselves don’t want to live by them. If there is no room for profit, there is no room for rules.
Greed, has taken over in our world now. Stronger than it has ever been before. They are not really worried about illegal aliens coming over into our country, because they see the ability to make money.They aren’t worried about healthcare for everyone,because there is money to be made. They aren’t worried about alot of important issues that Americans want answers to, because if there is no money to be made, they are not interested.
We need more Drug Courts, we need everyone that is placed in a high paying position, drug tested weekly,they need a full background check, not just run through, to fill a position. The system is failing all of us. There are a lot of good, and honest people in LI and other positios, but there are alot of them that are not. You hear everyday where someone in the govt. has been charged with fraud, drugs, etc.
We do not know who to trust. It is sad that we have to question the authority figures today. Children do not have anyone to believe in any more. Priests are arrested for child molestation, ministers arrested for murder and among other things. It is a sad sad world we are living in.
My neice just told me today, “I Hate Life”. Now, if that doesn’t leave a hole in your heart, nothing will. PRAY FOR OUR CHILDREN AND FOR THE FUTURE GENERATIONS TO COME. GOD BLESS US ALL

Waiting
February 6th, 2008 at 8:50 pm

TW, Re-run the old op-ed and post the new one also. I watch a lot of Lou Dobbs and even if you don’t agree with everything he says, he does make a lot of good points. I have learned a lot about the political landscape concerning illegal immigration and the drug traffic across the Mexican Border, but also the Canadian Border. Right now there are many people, including Law Enforcement Personel, being murdered by drug gang members, all along both sides of the Mexican border. These are dangerous times and DRUGS mean MONEY. Huge sums of money! Lives of the innocent mean nothing to these GANGS. Sometimes I feel like our country can’t possibly survive the assaults from every direction. But I won’t go down without a fight. Never back down!

ROOM4ONEMORE
February 6th, 2008 at 10:09 pm

Brandee Kines…….the same Brandee Kines, who now says she was aware that Josh murdered those two boys…….she stood in front of the jail with a gang of folks on numerous occasions insisting on her boyfriend’s innocence and claiming that Law enforcement was corrupt and had wrongly imprisoned her loved one. Remember that the next time you see the girlfriend/loved one/family member who insists theirs would never do such a thing……Sometimes it’s deceit rather than plain ignorance.

Dear RGS,

Apparently. Actually, I am not sure she knew he had been at the murders, only that he could not marry her because he knew he had been indicted. But Josh Smith admitted that he confided in Ray Kines that he had been there. So, Ray Kines knew.

TW

romegasir
February 6th, 2008 at 10:34 pm

out of curiousity, how did he find out about an indictment? and wasn’t he already incarcerated at the time of the indictment? Wasn’t he arrested on state charges, then indicted and then the charges picked up by the feds?

Dear RGS,

According to BK’s testimony, he showed up on the day of the wedding, and told her that. I will goback and check the time line.

TW

romegasir
February 6th, 2008 at 11:20 pm

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Drug Gang Trial - Week 4
February 7th, 2008 at 1:19 am

TW, I would love to get information that someone is doing SOMETHING about what I consider the THREAT to your previous advertisers. I get angrier by the day when I see the lack of advertisers. A real LAW OFFICE would get a lot of exposure on this site. That is one idea. How about a region church. Let BLC threaten one of those with litigation and see how far he gets. I’m sure someone could come up with some ideas for advertisers. If not, send a check. I would hate to lose this site! Where would I get the NEWS? The real inside story? Comments from people that have an OPINION and a need to express it! Send a check people. In whatever amount. Show your support!

Dear Room4,

I think that if and when an indictment comes forth in the Election Fraud case, advertisers will come back. Or, if I get some good endorsements from those in power. One or two well known advertsiers in the area who do not depend on local revenues would be great, too. BUt for the time being, people whose opinions count to me, have contacted me to encourage me, and keep saying to hang in there, that things are fixing to break wide open.

But I still need money to continue to pay my attorney, who, after having been paid the retainer for the bogus depostion in the Lyerly case, has in Good Faith filed Answers in the two law suits BLC has filed against me. But he has told me the figure he expects in payment, and I still have to raise that. All total, it is still under the one figure which I was quoted by the atty who did not end up representing me, to handle just one of BLC’s cases.

My attorney is an honorable man, but he also has bills to pay, as do I.

TW

ROOM4ONEMORE
February 7th, 2008 at 4:05 am

Just read the Thursday morning info on the trial. I’m disappointed by the delay but Friday will be a big day in court, it seems. I hope no-one gets the idea from my posts that I am criticizing your Counsel. I give high praise to him for taking on this mess and doing a TOP-NOTCH job. It has to be difficult to practice law in the system of the LMJCC with so many of the LAWS being so different from the rest of these United States.

ROOM4ONEMORE
February 7th, 2008 at 1:02 pm

TW
Have you contacted your source to see if she (traci) is still sticking to her story of it was her boyfriend RH that done the Cunningham Rd murders? How about LE, that came forward to say they did not believe the ones charged were the ones that committed the crime? Just curious, the trial has took a real turn, and it seems all the blame is now on SR, TW, what do you believe now that you have been in court and seen first hand testimony? Do you think SR is gulity? Or is it a coverup? It seems to be a lot of twists and turns in the case.

Dear Curious,

Dear Curious,

I did not know, coming in to this trial, what the whole story was, and I still do not know what the whole story is. I had a puzzle piece, and genuine professionals who were not sure, and who had only pieces which raised legitimate questions, which they posed to me. IN journalism, you have to tell the whole story, as it unfolds. A journalist is one who journals what they encounter, as they encounter it. Asking hard questions is never meant to impugn someone’s integrity or the caliber of their work. On the other hand, if no one ever asks questions, then justice will not always be served in every case. A good case, based on good facts will ultimately reveal itself.

Of course, what a particular jury, at a particular time, does with a particular set of facts is never a known.

There is still much evidence for the prosecution to put forward, and, the defense has still not told their side of the story.

However, I do believe that the prosecution has made it VERY evident, by all of the testimony that:

1) Shane Rosser had more than just an inclination towards violence.
2) Shane Rosser and Josh Smith were both present at the murders, as was Erika Shelly, and that Shane most probably pulled both triggers.
3) Daniel Villenas-Reyes, Shane Rosser, Josh Smith, Marco Antonio Cordero and Sammy Duque were at varying times heavily involved in drug trafficking
4) That the above individuals were at various times, all together involved in an enterprise at the same time.

I am still not convinced that Juan Duque was an active member of the conspiracy, yet. I believe that it is more a situation that he was an unfortunate, occasional dealer who happened to be brothers with a member of the conspiracy. Much of the witness testimony so far has indicated that Juan did not use drugs much, and worked hard at Shaw Industries during most of this time.

But as I said, the prosecution is not nearly finished.

As to the story about R.H., I do have a theory, in fact I have two theories. But I am waiting to hear him testify, if in fact he does testify.

TW

curious
February 7th, 2008 at 2:46 pm

Very interesting……

curious
February 7th, 2008 at 4:31 pm

I thought SHAW had a drug test as part of their hiring process and random tests for employees? What about their legal status in this country? Is Juan Duque in this country legally? Did he provide counterfeit documents to aquire a job at Shaw? Is this a case of a large corporation overlooking questionable paperwork? These are the kind of details I want answers to. Specifically questions about Juan Duque? To help clean up some of the mess our Immigration Service leaves unchecked? We all carry some weight for these crimes, in my opinion, as an AMERICAN.

ROOM4ONEMORE
February 7th, 2008 at 7:28 pm

Terresa: I have not forgotten you and all that you are attempting to accomplish here in the “drug Captital of North West Ga”. I have not heard anymore as to the status of the allegations of the Hosp, DAV, and some other vans were being used as transporters for drugs in this area? Has that been dropped? I have tlaked with many people in this area and you are greatly respected (as I knew you would be) for your
respect for the law and your great “stick to itness”, throught out this entire time. Also I have not heard anymore on the infamous DAV eviction of Mr. Johnson? Good Luck and God Bless

Dear Hartwell,

You cannot know how much I appreciate your support. You must know how much I respect you, as anyone who knows you does.

As to Mr. Johnston, I am not sure where things stand in his case. I will pass on to him your questions, but as to criminal aspects, as I understand it, things are progressing. But, after watching the Armas case and now this Drug Gang case, I see how carefully the government sets their case, and it takes literally several years.

I will try to find out what is going on.

Thank you again, Hartwell.

Teresa

Hartwell NOlan
February 7th, 2008 at 8:36 pm

Not living in Georgia, I didn’t know who Hartwell Nolan was, so I googled his name. I’m impressed. If he is the veteran that pushed for the medical facility in Rome, I give him two thumbs-up and an Atta-Boy! Our veterans deserve every convenience that allows for more timely health care. Mental and physical health care. The stats on the homeless that are veterans is unbelievable. Of course I don’t remember exactly, but I think it is one out of three homeless people are veterans. I watch Don Imus on RFD TV and he is very vocal about the sad state of the Veterans’ plight. Kudos Mr. Nolan.

Dear Room4:

I did an article on Hartwell Nolan’s life. It was part of a three-part series, called The Good, the Bad & the Ugly. IT was a look at three very different lives lived after service in the military. Hartwell was the Good. Check it out under Feature Stories in the Archives. I want to say late August or September. I will go check.

TW

Dear Room, yes - August 31, 2007 has all three parts. Scroll down to Part I for Hartwell’s story or service. Part III deals with the questions he asked in his post yesterday.

TW

ROOM4ONEMORE
February 7th, 2008 at 10:41 pm

yeah, an endorsement from Mr. Nolan is quite something.

romegasir
February 7th, 2008 at 11:47 pm

I love Hartwell !!! Always have !!!

Info Only
February 8th, 2008 at 9:06 am

I realize this may be a silly question, but can the general public attend this trial?

Daer Lynn,

Anyone with Picture Id. Security is very tight for this rial. Tighter than I have ever seen it in eight years of going to the third floor of this Federal Building.
They are checking id and logging folks in.

But the court systems in our country are open and free access to the citizens, and even non-citizens. Before anyone ever votes for a District Attorney or a local judge, they should spend some time in the courtrooms.

Of course, federal prosecutors are not elected, but appointed only after a stringent vetting process, and same for Federal judges.

TW

LynnP
February 8th, 2008 at 9:28 am

TW ~ this appears to be a “hot” topic…and it seems there are a lot of people interested on what’s going on. Could you give us a “visual” of the courtroom? (You are our eyes & ears!)
Thanks as always for the updates!!

tatumdawg
February 8th, 2008 at 12:42 pm

My God, How old were the boys that were killed? I thought the three other murders were adults. I don’t know anything about this case until I read it on here. Are these people demented? Can drugs and money really mean this much to a person, to the point that there is no room for humanity. Do these people have no saving grace? Are they just evil? I don’t have words to describe my disgust.

Dear Room,

Other murders were threatened, but not carried out, by this group, according to tadya’s witess, for a couple of hundred dollars.

But these drug dealers started losing it when they started using, and spiraled out of control. The meth distorts everything.

TW

ROOM4ONEMORE
February 8th, 2008 at 4:10 pm

Room:

Only the tip of the iceberg!!!

Info Only
February 8th, 2008 at 4:26 pm

Info Only, This is only the tip of the iceberg? I’m sure it is. This is the dead end on one group of drug trafficers. The distribution end. The supply more often than not, starts in Mexico. Whether it is finished product or ingredients, in huge size. The consumption of drugs in this country is the Demand side of the equation. I feel more and more that between China and Mexico we have the real threat to this country. There are solutions but it is always POLITICS AS USUAL. Trials like this are the exceptions to the rule. Most of the BIG money goes to those that use our judicial system as their own banking center. The WAR ON DRUGS? Not really. Just a few small fish in the ocean of drugs. The big sharks are swimming free in the little ponds of this country.

ROOM4ONEMORE
February 8th, 2008 at 4:53 pm

Room …….you have defined the problem. If you do not have a solution, try mine!

How simple can it be to solve and prevent crime??? Very simple… Accept the need to subject persons of interest and knowledge to a controlled polygraph administered by the FBI and we will be off to the races!!! KISS personified!!! No innocents hurt!! Want me to tell you the biggest obstacle with this cure? Lawyers who make their biggest profit “helping people with their needs” and don’t want the system changed (simplified). Go figure!

REFORM !
February 8th, 2008 at 6:02 pm

This is horrid to read about but, I imagine many more will apprehended before all of it comes to an end.
I would be willing to bet a certain G-z— will be arrested for drug traffic in Houston?

Dear MonD:

Cool name. Racing Horse or Romanian Wholesale Company?

I am not sure who or what G–Z is. Reference to Glaze, as in Glenn Glaze? I have not heard Houston, Texas mentioned, yet, in this case, but would love to know more. This is not a case I ever reserached or contributed on, so I am learning on the fly as it unfolds in court.

Please fill me in.

TW

monderi
February 10th, 2008 at 2:33 pm

teresa,
hi you done i really great job keeping up with the trial. i have read every thing and every blog. first of all, i want to say how sorry i am to all of familys that lost their sons, daughters or someone that they care for. i can’t my past or what happen. but if i could trust me i would. i lost my best friend and ex boyfriend phil smith. i lost my family and friends. i even lost who i use to be. i know that alot of people and readers don’t like me. they also think that i got off easy. well i pay everyday, hour, minute and second that goes by. all i can say i felt i done what right. they treaten me with my dad. my dad is the greatest man i have ever know. he stuck by my side when i didn’t have anyone. i went through so much bullshit with daniel and marco. but for you people that are just reading about this case. you think why didn’t i just leave or call the police? well if it was that easy then i would have. i wish i could trade shoes with people so they could really see. yes i have no one but myself to blame for getting mixed up with that gang. but i really cared for phil but at the same time i made him a promise that i would never leave his side. i even tried to leave once and they told me i had the choice to live or die. or course i stayed because i didn’t want to die. i was a drug user and to clear up what this bobby person said about me. i didn’t live near a bobby and never hung around anyone name bobby. i met a girl in jail once named bobby. also i never done any drugs till i met daniel and marco. also before i dated phil all i had been dating females since 16. look ya can judge me how ever you want i don’t care. because only god can judge me. i have gotten my life together. just because i used drugs means that i forgotten what happen that day and others. i will never forget what happen. my love goes out to the smith’s family (phil’s) also i never knew the familys from rome that were killed. but i want to say i am sorry for them as well. also that i am sorry for all the good people i knew that made mistakes like me. “to the world you can be one person, but to one person you can be the world” this is for felipe carlos smith we miss you!

amanda
October 12th, 2008 at 12:03 am

let fix the phrase i wrote: just because i used drugs doesn’t mean i dont remember what happen that day or any others at that.

amanda
October 12th, 2008 at 12:06 am

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  • Title: Drug Gang Trial - Week 4
  • Written on: February 5th, 2008
  • 29 comments
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