Judge set to hear three murder trials

CONYERS -- Rockdale County Chief Superior Court Judge Sidney Nation arranged to hear several murder trials next month, in an effort to get through murder cases that are pending.

Rockdale County District Attorney Richard Read told the Citizen that three murder cases were specially set for the week of Sept. 20 through 27.

"Judge Nation indicated he had some extra time on his calendar and we're endeavoring to use some of that time to move those cases," Read said.

Read said the number of murder cases is more than the judicial circuit has seen in recent times. Read also indicated that the state is not seeking the death penalty in any of the three murder cases.

Defendants in the murder cases scheduled to be on trial next month are Jokari Carter, 25, of Atlanta, Hakim Muhammad, 43, of Conyers and Ntyono Pennie, 21, of Conyers.

Read said it was possible that one of the cases could be continued after Nation excused one of the defense attorneys for the set dates.

  • Carter was arrested in October as a suspect in the shooting death of 30-year-old Stewart Elvin Tabb Jr. at the Brandon Glen apartment complex. Authorities found the victim face down in the grass with multiple gunshot wounds. Carter was possibly stalking his girlfriend and watching her apartment, according to law enforcement. Authorities suspect Carter saw the victim come out of Carter's girlfriend's apartment about 4 a.m. and then shot the victim as he was leaving. Carter's formal charges are malice murder, felony murder, two counts of aggravated assault, possession of a firearm during the commission of a crime and making false statements, according to court records. Decatur attorney Akil Secret is defending Carter. Assistant District Attorney Dabney Kentner is prosecuting the case.

  • Muhammad was accused of strangling his estranged wife, Shelia Renee Muhammad, 43, in November at the Indian Ridge subdivision and making her death appear to be connected to a burglary. Muhammad's formal charges are malice murder, two counts of felony murder, two counts of aggravated assault and tampering with evidence. Chief Public Defender Steven Purvis is representing Muhammad and Assistant District Attorney Debra Sullivan is the state prosecutor.

  • Pennie faces murder charges relating to the February traffic death of 56-year-old Shirley Akins of Covington after Pennie and co-defendant Torrence Sanders were fleeing an alleged armed robbery and trying to elude law enforcement. Pennie was suspected to be in the passenger seat when their getaway car ran a red light and crashed into the victim's vehicle. Sanders, the suspected driver, is still at large. Pennie's charges include murder, three counts of aggravated assault, three counts of armed robbery, possession of a firearm during the commission of a crime, obstruction of a law enforcement officer and possession of marijuana less than an ounce. Covington attorney Brian Ross is Pennie's lawyer. Chief Assistant District Attorney Bob Houman is prosecuting the case.