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Man accused of murder pleads not guilty to charges against him

COVINGTON - Courtney Thornton, 25, who stands accused of killing a man during an attempted robbery earlier this year pleaded not guilty to the charges against him Tuesday at a hearing held in Newton County Superior Court.

Thornton has been charged with murder, armed robbery, aggravated assault, possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony and theft by receiving in connection with the death of 38-year-old Dennis Rogers.

Rogers was found shot in the back of the head during the early morning hours of New Year's Day.

Deputy Larry Wigington was in his patrol car at a shopping center on Salem Road that morning when he was approached by a man who said he had just been robbed and that a passenger in his car had been shot on Gum Tree Trail.

Upon arriving at the scene, deputies discovered a green luxury sedan with a bullet hole in the passenger's side window and saw Rogers sitting in the seat slumped over.

The man who summoned deputies said he had been in the car with the two other men when Thornton, who was sitting in the back seat of the vehicle, shot Rogers with a handgun. He said the shooting was unprovoked.

Rogers died of complications resulting from the gun shot wound Jan. 4.

The following morning, authorities discovered Thornton staying at a home on Hooper Street in Atlanta and took him into custody.

In other court news, a man accused in the shooting death of 20-year-old Ashley O'Bryant Vinson earlier this month was denied bond Tuesday.

The defendant, Julian Antun Holloway, 18, stands accused of killing Vinson following a botched drug deal in the Magnolia Heights apartment complex during the afternoon hours March 10.

Holloway, along with a co-defendant, Cecil Freeman Allen, 18, were taken into custody that same day at Holloway's residence on Woodland Avenue.

Inside the garage of the home, police discovered the body of Vinson lying in the back seat of a vehicle with a gunshot wound to the head.

Both Holloway and Allen have been charged with murder, possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony and with violating the Georgia Controlled Substances Act.

Joel Griffin can be reached at joel.griffin@newtoncitizen.com.