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One charge against jail administrator is thrown out Tuesday

A Magistrate Judge threw out one of the misdemeanor charges against Grady County Jail Administrator Tim Gainous shortly after a pretrial hearing Tuesday. A second misdemeanor charge of criminal trespass was approved to be tried in the State Court of Grady County at a later date.
Gainous’ attorney, Jami Lewis of Camilla, told The Messenger she was pleased with the hearing’s outcome. “From the very beginning, Mr. Gainous has been anxious to tell his side of the story. He has always maintained this incident was a result of his estranged wife luring him to her apartment in an effort to put him in a situation where she would have the upper hand against him in other matters, particularly their divorce proceedings. I believe Ms. Gainous’s confession to her father that this was a set up, coupled with her invocation of her right against self-incrimination at today’s hearing, more than proves this to be the case,” Ms. Lewis said.
Grady County Sheriff Harry Young, who was out of town attending a training conference conducted by the Georgia Sheriffs’ Association, said that he would decide early next week whether Gainous could remain employed with the Grady County Sheriff’s Office. “I want to do it when I get back so I can sit down with Tim and give my decision to him personally,” Sheriff Young said from the conference in Augusta Tuesday. Gainous was suspended without pay from the Sheriff’s Office after his June 28 arrest.
Colquitt County Magistrate Judge J.J. McMillan presided over Tuesday’s hearing because Grady County Magistrate Judge Larry Bearden had recused himself from the case. Judge Bearden said later that most judges recuse themselves from cases when they involve an official of the county where the judge presides.
After Tuesday morning’s hearing, Judge McMillan dismissed a family violence criminal trespass charge contending the state had failed to show by a probable cause standard the allegations of the warrant.
Gainous was arrested at the apartment of his estranged wife, Christine, after she texted someone to call 911 around 12:30 a.m., Friday, June 28. When Cairo Police Officer Tyrone Griffin arrived on the scene on Loblolly Lane, Mrs. Gainous claimed her husband had beaten on the door, walked into her unlocked apartment and used abusive language.
Gainous’ own testimony during the hearing challenged that claim. He said his wife called him and demanded money, saying she would view it as an act of good faith and she would talk with her attorney about reducing the amount of alimony she was demanding in their pending divorce. Gainous testified that when he hesitated and said he thought their attorneys should handle it, he then reminded her that she and her apartment manager had barred him from the property. At that point, she threatened to keep their children from being able to go with Gainous on a planned camping vacation the next day unless he brought her the money.
On the witness stand Tuesday, Gainous said that when he pulled up to his wife’s apartment in his loud diesel truck, he saw her look through window blinds and then unlock the apartment door. Although Mrs. Gainous had told police that her husband had beaten on the door, her husband testified that he never even knocked. He said when he entered the apartment she hugged him for an extended period of time and he saw their son asleep on the couch.
After writing a check for $500, Gainous said he drank some pineapple juice his wife said he could have and was walking out of the kitchen when she, standing in the apartment doorway, suddenly said in a loud voice, “‘Tim, I think it’s time for you to go.'”
Gainous said that’s when Cairo Police Officer Griffin walked into the apartment.
Gainous was arrested at the scene, but was not questioned by police. Hours later, he was released from custody after posting bond.
At the hearing, Gainous’ father-in-law, Joe Mascaro, testified that his daughter called him the morning after her husband’s arrest. “She told me, ‘Dad, I set him up.’ Exact quote, unquote, ‘I set him up’,” Mascaro said during Tuesday’s hearing.
Mascaro, who testified that he comes from a family of law enforcers, including a father who was a judge, a mother who was a clerk of court and a nephew who is a sheriff, said he was shocked by his daughter’s claim.
“I told her she’s got to straighten things out. She said she would,” he testified.
Mascaro’s anger with his daughter was revealed in his words, “I’m at the point right now, I’ve had it with her . . . I’ve deleted her phone number and I never want to see or talk to her again.
“She can aggravate you in such a way that you literally want to take her and choke her,” he concluded.
Mr. Mascaro said he flew to Cairo from Hollywood, Fla., where he lives just so he could testify on behalf of his son-in-law.
While he was on the stand, Gainous said his wife continued to text and call him after his arrest, at one point offering to drop these charges if he would agree to sign divorce papers that stipulated a specific amount of alimony. “It felt like extortion,” he said.
Cairo Police Chief Keith Sandefur testified during the hearing that he had spoken with Mrs. Gainous after her husband’s arrest when she called him at the office.
“She wanted to know if she changed her story to save Tim’s job or Harry’s reputation as sheriff, what would happen to her,” the chief said. He testified that he explained to her that it would be considered a false report of a crime, a criminal offense.
Jean Whitfield, manager of the apartment complex where Mrs. Gainous lives, said she did not want to prosecute Mr. Gainous for criminal trespass even though she had signed the notice barring him from the property for six months and was listed as a second victim. “I feel he was bribed into going there,” she said.
Mrs. Whitfield also questioned why Mrs. Gainous called 911 without letting her know since they had both signed the barring notice. The apartment manager said in any previous incident involving people who are barred from the property, she has always been the one to notify police of a violation.
Gainous, who has worked for Grady County since 2005, testified that his wife knew that calling 911 would be the ultimate embarrassment for a law enforcement officer. “She has taken my name and dragged it through the mud,” he said.
He said his wife suffers from alcohol addiction, and he thought keeping their family of four together was important. “Maybe we should have separated earlier, but I was trying to do the right thing,” he said.
When questioned by Officer Griffin, Gainous admitted that he had had a few drinks during dinner the night he was arrested.
Attorney Lewis, during closing arguments, admitted that the burden of proof is low in a probable cause hearing, but contended the waters had been muddied, despite the silence from Gainous’ accuser.
“She knew that questions were going to be asked of her” and that she might say something contrary to previous statements she had made that could possibly result in perjury charges, Lewis said.
“She’s the one who started this whole thing and now she won’t even testify?” Lewis said.
She claimed it was not criminal trespass since Mrs. Gainous had invited her husband to the apartment the night of his arrest.
The attorney also contended that the family violence aspect of one of the criminal trespass charges should be dismissed contending that there is nowhere in the Georgia criminal trespass code that allows for an enhanced penalty if it involves a spouse. She also pointed out that such a charge would be detrimental to someone in law enforcement since federal law prevents anyone convicted of such a crime from carrying a firearm.
Judge McMillan ended the hearing stating he would reserve ruling on the case until he had time to consider the testimony. Although he promised to have a decision by the end of the week, it was less than two hours later that he rendered his verdict of dismissing the family violence criminal trespass charge and bounding over to State Court the other criminal trespass charge.
During Tuesday’s hearing, the prosecution was represented by Officer Griffin only, not an attorney. Grady County’s State Solicitor Kevin Cauley, who has also recused himself from proceedings in State Court due to a conflict of interest, told The Messenger, “The day I received notification that there would be a hearing, I contacted the Attorney General’s office to appoint a replacement.” That replacement had not been assigned at the time of the hearing.

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