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2 plead guilty in beating

CONYERS - Two defendants pleaded guilty and were sentenced to probation this month while two others await trial involving the brutal assault of a Conyers man at a West Avenue gas station in 2007.

Cody Lee Clay and Carly Ann Gooch each pleaded guilty to providing false statements to law enforcement in connection with the beating of Jamie Adams at the Shell gas station at the corner of Green Street and West Avenue on April 27, 2007.

They entered the guilty pleas on July 15. Their co-defendants include Cory Dean Payne and Kevin Lanier Garner.

Both Clay and Gooch, both of Conyers, had charges dropped against them in return for their guilty pleas. Clay had aggravated battery charges dropped while Gooch had a traffic misdemeanor dropped, Assistant District Attorney Paul Stalcup said.

In addition to three years probation, Clay and Gooch are required to pay a $1,000 fine and other court costs and perform 96 hours of community service. They are required to undergo an evaluation for drug or alcohol abuse for possible treatment, Stalcup said.

Also, their probation was conditional on Clay and Gooch not having any contact with either Payne or Garner, Stalcup said.

The trial for Payne and Garner, both also of Conyers, is scheduled to begin in September. Both men face two counts of aggravated battery. Garner is also facing a misdemeanor drug possession charge for marijuana, Stalcup said.

The group, who were all in their early 20s, were arrested by Conyers Police officers after the attack on Adams, who was 58 years old at the time of the incident.

Police arrived at the gas station that night and found Adams lying on the sidewalk holding onto his head. The officers noted in their reports that Adams had a large amount of blood coming from his forehead, and his right eye was nearly swollen shut.

Adams was taken to Rockdale Medical Center, where it was determined he had received an arterial laceration and an orbital fracture to his right eye, the report said. He was eventually transported to Trauma Center at Central Georgia Medical Center in Macon for further treatment.

A clerk at the store said a 1999 white Honda Accord pulled into the parking lot and two men began yelling at Adams, who the clerk said was a regular at the store and liked to sit on the sidewalk to watch the trains go by.

According to the report, the suspects yelled at the man and then got out of the back seats of the car and began to beat him. The store clerk said one assailant struck the man three or four times in the face while the victim bent over, trying to defend himself.

The suspects then jumped back in the car, which then sped away through a red light at Green Street and West Avenue and headed toward Railroad Street, the report said.

Police stopped a car matching the clerk's description at a nearby residence. Gooch, who was identified as the driver, and Clay, who was Gooch's front seat passenger, were arrested.

The back seat passengers, identified as Payne and Garner, left the car in Olde Town Conyers but were arrested when they arrived at the residence, police said.

Jay Jones can be reached at jay.jones@rockdalecitizen.com.