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A 22-year-old Cairo man indicted for the murder of Elijah Denzel Smith, 25, in 2017, pled guilty to voluntary manslaughter Tuesday in Grady County Superior Court.
Nicholas Lequinte Perry, 22, pled after a jury was impaneled Tuesday afternoon.
Superior Court Judge Heather H. Lanier sentenced Perry to 20 years, 10 to serve in state prison.
“I hope that this will give the family of the victim some closure knowing that the defendant will serve a lengthy sentence in the State System. There are no winners in a case like this, especially when the fight was over $10. I pray for all of the family members involved,” District Attorney Joe Mulholland said Tuesday evening.
The facts of the case show that Perry shot and killed Smith, a Whigham resident, Saturday, Jan. 7, 2017 at approximately 3:45 p.m. in the 300 block of Seventh Street NE.
Cairo Police found Smith’s body lying in a driveway, dead from a gunshot wound.
Perry was arrested six days later in Tallahassee. At the time of his arrest, Perry was also facing charges in Gadsden County, Fla.
A separate jury was also impaneled this week in the case of the State versus Joseph Simmons. Simmons is charged with child molestation, enticing a child for indecent purposes and false imprisonment.
This case was currently still in trial as The Messenger went to press Wednesday.
The Grand Jury heard approximately 30 matters this week, according to Mulholland, and the vast majority were true billed. The district attorney says those cases will be presented to trial juries in June.
District Attorney Mulholland also reported Tuesday that he will present the case against former county clerk Carrie Croy to the Grand Jury in May.
The Georgia Bureau of Investigation has charged Croy with a felony charge of theft by taking. She is alleged to have taken $5,847.45 in public funds between April 2, 2015 and April 27, 2018. Croy surrendered to law enforcement Feb. 26 after a warrant for her arrest was issued on Feb. 25.
Croy resigned as county clerk on Oct. 23, 2018 after being confronted with the findings of an internal audit conducted by Grady County auditor Perry Henry. She had been placed on paid administrative leave on Oct. 3, 2018, pending the completion of the auditor’s review.
Based on the findings of the county auditor, Croy manipulated the payroll and finance software of the county in order to increase her net pay.
In addition to the manipulation of her paycheck, Grady County administrator J.C. (Buddy) Johnson III, stated in an Oct. 2018 letter to Croy, issued upon her resignation, that the auditor had discovered other “findings that go beyond the information in this adverse action letter.”
Croy, who served as the county clerk from July 2008 until her resignation on Oct. 23, 2018, began her public service with the county in January 2002 when she was hired as the county’s human resources manager and records manager.