JULY 2022

As we pass the mid-year mark of 2022, we find ourselves on stronger footing in our quest for a semblance of post-pandemic normalcy. We have returned to full-scale in-person operations, employing virtual or hybrid work efficiencies, as warranted. The work has remained constant, productive, and rewarding. Of particular note, we recently announced a major break in a 23-year-old cold case in which we were able to identify a child victim and file an indictment in connection with his death. While the criminal case is pending, finally knowing the name of young William DaShawn Hamilton brings a measure of closure to this tragic decades-old mystery.

Our teams also secured indictments and significant dispositions in a number of cases spanning from homicides to elder abuse, and sexual assault in our Special Units, to a wide array of other felony offenses prosecuted by our hard-working Trial Division teams.

On the training front, we continue to work on strengthening and enhancing our skills inside and beyond the courthouse – from resiliency training for our investigators to examining disparities in the criminal justice system and using prosecutorial discretion to ensure we are operating in a fair, just, and equitable manner. It is important introspective work for the betterment of our office and our community. 

In the realm of community engagement, we hosted our inaugural Firearm Safety Fair aimed at stemming the tide of gun violence and educating the community on the issue of safe and legal gun ownership. We also offered community training and resources in the areas of human trafficking, elder abuse and exploitation, and domestic violence awareness, the latter of which, culminated in our 7th annual Love Run 5K which raises awareness about teen dating violence and critical funds for DeKalb’s Women’s Resource Center to End Domestic Violence. 

Finally, we celebrated one of our own for her statewide recognition as “Victim Advocate of the Year!” It was a well-deserved honor and indicative of the type of commitment and dedication all of our team members bring to this work. It is my honor and my privilege to serve with them for YOU! 

District Attorney
Stone Mountain Judicial Circuit
Major Break In Decades Old Cold Case
Unidentified Child's Remains Discovered 23 Years Ago Near Church Cemetery, Mother Now Indicted on Murder Charges
In July, DA Boston announced a major development in the case of a young boy whose remains were found near a church cemetery in Decatur more than 23 years ago.

On June 28, a DeKalb County Grand Jury returned an indictment against Teresa Ann Bailey Black, 45, on two counts of Felony Murder, two counts of Cruelty to Children, Aggravated Assault, and Concealing the Death of Another in connection with the death of her 6-year-old son, William DaShawn Hamilton. Black was taken into custody in Phoenix, Arizona on June 29, and is currently awaiting extradition to Georgia.

The charges against Black date back to the February 26, 1999, discovery of the body of a then unidentified child whose remains were found in a wooded area at the corner of Clifton Springs Road and Clifton Spring Church Road. DNA collected from Teresa Ann Bailey Black earlier this year links her to the remains of the child found in February 1999.

“For far too long, this precious little boy had no name and no story,” said DA Boston. “Through the tireless efforts of several individuals and organizations who were determined not to let this boy be forgotten, William has been identified, and justice will be served in his memory.”

According to the investigation, Black (then Bailey) was living in Charlotte, North Carolina with her son and a family member when she abruptly withdrew William from school in December 1998 and moved with him to Atlanta. She returned to Charlotte in late 1999 without William and told differing stories about his whereabouts.

The DA's Office is seeking the public’s assistance. During her time in Atlanta, Teresa Ann Bailey briefly worked at the establishment known as “Pleasers” and may have been obtaining assistance from the Atlanta Day Shelter for Women and Children. Anyone who may have known or interacted with Defendant Black (then Teresa Ann Bailey) and/or William during their time in the metro area in 1998 and 1999 is encouraged to call the office’s Cold Case Tip Line at 404-371-2444. Callers may remain anonymous. Read more.

Watch the press conference below.
Tip to the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children Leads to Identification of Unidentified Boy
Despite continued efforts by the DeKalb County Police Department (DKPD) and Medical Examiner’s Office, as well as media coverage of the case, William DaShawn Hamilton remained unidentified for decades.

The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC) became involved in the case in 2000, providing renderings of the boy, featuring the story on their website and social media channels, and following leads.
In 2019, a NCMEC Forensic Artist completed a new facial reconstruction rendering that received media coverage and drew public interest back to the case. In May of 2020, a tipster who knew defendant Black and her son in 1998 saw a rendering of the unidentified child and contacted NCMEC. DKPD and the DA’s Office picked the case back up and followed the lead

“This case is a perfect example of why we never give up hope,” said Angeline Hartmann, Director of Communications at the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children. “For more than two decades, a woman in Charlotte who knew William and his mother followed her gut feeling that something wasn’t right and kept looking for him. We’re grateful she never stopped until she found a rendering of William online and gave investigators the missing piece to help solve this 23-year-old mystery.”
In the News
DA Boston's voice remains front and center on topics ranging from abortion rights and the importance of combating violent crime, to notable convictions.
Abortion Rights & Prosecutorial Discretion
When the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade in June, DA Boston released a statement reaffirming her prosecutorial authority and discretion not to criminalize abortion services in the Stone Mountain Judicial Circuit.
Some Georgia DAs Pledge They Will Not Prosecute Abortion Crimes
Georgia Public Broadcasting, June 28, 2022

Those district attorneys who have sworn against prosecuting abortion crimes say they have faced heavy criticism for refusing to enforce state law.

But for DeKalb County District Attorney Sherry Boston, that’s not what she ran for office to do. Boston said she began preparing to act after the bill was passed in 2019.

“There are those at the legislature who feel that a district attorney should just enforce the laws that they passed without any regard to how that could affect the community,” she told GPB. “I am not one of those district attorneys. I believe that the people in my community elected me to make decisions that are in the best interests of the community that I serve.” Listen to the story.
Meet the DAs Refusing to Enforce Laws Criminalizing Abortion
The Last Word, MSNBC, July 1, 2022

In many red states with blue cities run by elected Democrats, county prosecutors have vowed not to enforce laws that criminalize abortion. Two of those District Attorneys – Sherry Boston from DeKalb Co. and Jared Williams from Augusta, Georgia – join guest host Jason Johnson on The Last Word. Imani Gandy from Rewire News Group also joins. Watch the story.
DeKalb DA Says Proposal Would Double the Size of Teams Fighting Murders, Gangs, Violence
WSB-TV, February 19, 2022

The DeKalb County District Attorney said a proposal to be voted on next week may be the biggest investment the county has ever made in her office’s ability to cut violent crime.

District Attorney Sherry Boston told Channel 2 investigative reporter Mark Winne she will double the size of the teams fighting murders, gangs, sexual assaults and domestic violence if the measure is passed.

“We’re going to be bulging at the seams thanks to the support of our CEO Michael Thurmond,” Boston said. “We know that violent crime is the number-one issue in DeKalb County and we are aggressively responding in that regard. We’re going to be doubling the size of our homicide and gang unit.” Watch the story.
Nurses Sentenced After Hidden Camera Showed Veteran Gasping for Breath, Crying for Help
11Alive, March 15, 2022

Two metro Atlanta nurses are headed to prison and another is on probation for failing to save a dying man seen begging for help on a hidden camera video nearly eight years ago.

During a virtual hearing, Loyce Agyeman pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter, neglect to an elder person and concealing a death. DeKalb County Superior Court Judge Shondeana Morris sentenced her to eight years in prison.

A grand jury indicted Agyeman in 2018 with felony murder, which would have carried a potential life sentence. The district attorney’s office reached a plea deal with the former nurse and the judge approved it.

The sentence comes nearly five years after an 11Alive Reveal investigation uncovered hidden camera video that compelled law enforcement to arrest Agyeman and two of her former nursing homes colleagues for failing to save 89-year-old James Dempsey. Watch the story.
Man Sentenced to Life for Deadly 2018 Shooting at Scottsdale Apartment; DeKalb DA’s Firearm Violence Prevention Unit Makes First Conviction
FOX 5, May 4, 2022

This is the first conviction by the newly formed Firearm Violence Prevention Unit. Boston said with easier access to firearms in Georgia and an increase in gun violence across the metro Atlanta area since the pandemic began, cases like this are becoming more common. According to data from the DA’s office, the county saw an increase in the number of homicide cases from 2020 to 2021 and 90 percent of those cases involved a firearm.

"In this particular case, it was a strong act of violence, of gun violence by a youthful offender, so it was one of those cases that we identified that we wanted to make a hard push so that the community would know that we were fighting to keep them safe," Boston said.

That’s where she said the county’s new Firearm Violence Prevention Unit comes into play. Its goal is to work with federal and local law enforcement to monitor gang activity, investigate and prosecute firearms cases—both legally and illegally obtained. Watch the story.
Reflections on Race & Prosecution
In June, DA Boston gathered her staff for an in-depth training titled, “Reflections on Race and Prosecution: Embracing the Past, Reimagining the Future,” focusing on disparities in the criminal justice system, implicit bias, and the importance of prosecutorial discretion. The training included a viewing of 13th by Ava DuVernay, group discussions and a keynote address, “Race and the Criminal Justice System: The Role of the Prosecutor,” by Professor Angela Jordan Davis, Distinguished Professor of Law at American University Washington College of Law.

A panel discussion, “Reflecting on DeKalb’s History,” featured Retired DeKalb Superior Court Judge Clarence Seeliger, who detailed his efforts to integrate the DeKalb Courthouse; Attorney Dee Smith, Chairwoman of the NAACP DeKalb Remembrance Project; and African-American Studies historian, acclaimed author, and professor, Dr. Maurice Hobson. Toni Roberts, Executive Director and CEO of the Atlanta Bar, skillfully guided the impactful conversation. Panel participants pictured below with DA Boston.
Indictments & Dispositions
Serial Rapist Pleads Guilty to String of DeKalb Cold Case Sex Assaults
Dionte Mapp, a Decatur man charged in a string of cold case rapes in DeKalb County, pleaded guilty to three counts of Kidnapping, three counts of Rape, two counts of Aggravated Sodomy, and two counts of Aggravated Assault in March. The charges are connected to sexual assault crimes against three women dating back to 2006, and the violent assault of a fourth woman in 2015 that led to a break in the previous cases. Read more.
Double Life Sentences for Man Who Sexually Assaulted 12-Year-Old
Kevin Walker was convicted in May and sentenced to two life sentences, plus 29 years in prison for sexually assaulting a 12-year-old boy. The charges stem from an incident on January 29, 2018. According to the investigation, the victim was walking home after missing his school bus when he encountered Defendant Walker, who then lured the child into his Buford Highway apartment. Once inside the apartment, the child was threatened and then sexually assaulted by Defendant Walker and later by a second Defendant, who came to the apartment at Defendant Walker’s invitation. Read more.
Conviction in Vehicular Homicide of 12-Year-Old Girl
Eric Rodriguez was convicted in March in connection with the death of Amiah Kenney, 12, and her dog Noah. The fatal incident happened on November 11, 2020 on the Peachtree Industrial Boulevard access road in Dunwoody. The victim, her dog, her mother and her mother’s partner were waiting for a family member in a broken-down car to get into their car, when an SUV slammed into the car they were waiting in from behind. The force of the crash pushed both vehicles into the southbound lanes of Peachtree Industrial Boulevard. Young Amiah and her dog Noah both died. The Defendant fled, but was later identified by crash witnesses on surveillance video following an altercation at a local bar a few days later. Read more.
Dunwoody Daycare Owner Indicted on Murder Charges
Jurors returned a 20-count indictment in April against the owner of a Dunwoody home daycare center in connection with the February 3, 2021 death of a four-month-old baby and other allegations of abuse related to children in her care. The child was found unresponsive in his crib at the “Little Lovey” home daycare center. According to the investigation, the baby had been placed on his stomach for sleep--against recommended medical guidelines. Further investigation revealed other alleged abuses against six other victims in the daycare center ranging in age from six months to 16 months old. Read more.
To read more about recent dispositions and news from the DA’s Office, visit the News section of the website.
Diversion & Accountability
Young Adults Graduate from STRIDE Diversion Program
DA Boston is pleased to announce the graduation of 11 young adults from the second cohort of the STRIDE pretrial diversion program. A ceremony for graduating participants took place in April, and featured a keynote address from DeKalb County Commissioner Larry Johnson.

STRIDE, which stands for Stopping Trends of Repeat Incarceration with Diversion and Education, is a voluntary diversion program that holds young adults who reside in DeKalb County accountable for serious non-violent crimes they have committed, while also ensuring their civic and career opportunities remain intact.

STRIDE participants must be 17-24 years old and meet one of three factors: the charge is out of guidelines for normal pretrial diversion; they have had prior contact with the justice system, including juvenile justice, or more than one felony pending; or they are a high risk for re-offending/lack supportive structures to complete pretrial diversion independently.

Participants pledge to remain crime-free and not possess weapons during the program, and they are required to take part in a series of interventions and educational opportunities. In exchange for successfully completing the program, the District Attorney will dismiss charges.

The Cognitive Behavioral Therapy counseling STRIDE participants engage in is an essential component of the program, and that counseling is provided by a partner agency, American Alternative Court Services (AACS). During the last cohort of the program, AACS received a grant that they generously applied to STRIDE participants. Thank you to AACS for their investment in the young adults who participated in the program. 
People & Accomplishments
Victim Advocate of the Year

Victim Advocate Sandra Trejos-Roman was recognized in February at the statewide Victim Witness Assistance Program (VWAP) Conference as Victim Advocate of the Year. The VWAP Conference is hosted by the Prosecuting Attorneys' Council of Georgia each year for prosecution-based victim witness assistance personnel.

Sandra is a dedicated advocate who pours her heart into every aspect of victim advocacy. She is kind, patient, considerate, loyal, and has tremendous listening skills, which is of great comfort to victims. As a bilingual advocate, she has also worked hard to strengthen partnerships, particularly within the Hispanic community.
Victim advocacy is a primary focus for the Office of the DeKalb County District Attorney. To learn more about the Victim-Witness Assistance Program, watch the video DA Boston's team created in commemoration of Crime Victims' Rights Week this past April.

In the video, Chastity Rogers, Director of Victim Services, speaks about the Victim-Witness Assistance Program and the support her team provides to crime victims and their families throughout the criminal justice process.
Investigative Staff Participates in Three-Day Resiliency Training Program

This past spring, the DA’s investigative staff participated in the Georgia Resiliency Training Program. Law enforcement professionals experience extremely stressful conditions in their line of work. Over time, this stress can compound to create post traumatic issues that lead to social, mental, and physical health issues.

The interactive, three-day Georgia Resiliency Training Program focuses on shifting mindset, with an intended outcome of greater capacity to meet heated encounters from an intentional place, with less long-term negative impact from the encounters. Based on the basic concepts of positive psychology, the curriculum addresses the impact of operational, organizational, and personal stress, the effect of trauma and life experience on employee attitudes, holistic employee health strategies, and enhancing interpersonal and community relationships. The goal of the program is to provide attendees with strategies and skills to manage stress, overcome challenges, and adapt to adversity.

The Georgia Peace Officer Standards and Training Council (POST), through a grant from the Criminal Justice Coordinating Council, provided the three-day intensive training to the DA’s entire investigative staff, utilizing a nationally developed and evaluated curiculum.

In the Community
DA Boston Hosts Inaugural Firearm Safety Fair
In recognition of National Gun Violence Awareness Month in June, DA Boston hosted her inaugural Firearm Safety Fair at Gresham Park Recreation Center on Saturday, June 25. The free, family-friendly event featured gun lock giveaways, safety demonstrations, music, food trucks, and frozen treats!

The goal of the safety fair was to engage the community in the serious and urgent topic of gun safety and violence prevention in a fun, yet informative way. It was held in tandem with DA Boston’s newly formed Firearm Violence Prevention Unit’s education initiative titled, “Keeping It R.E.A.L. (Responsible, Educated, And Lawful Gun Ownership), Keeping It SAFE,” amid an uptick in crimes involving guns across the country.

“Far too many people are solving conflicts with guns in our community,” said DA Boston. “We need to provide resources for conflict resolution and safety tips for responsible gun owners on the heels of the heartbreaking cases of children who have died as a result of unsecured firearms being accidentally discharged. Our goal is to reduce violence and save lives.”

The Firearm Safety Fair was hosted in partnership with Congresswoman Lucy McBath, U.S. Representative for the 6th Congressional District, DeKalb County District 3 Commissioner Larry Johnson, and DeKalb County Police Chief Mirtha Ramos.
7th Annual Love Run 5K
The 7th annual Love Run 5K was a huge success! DA Boston was happy to host the race in person again this year. The turnout was fantastic, and everyone had a great time. A big shout out to the virtual runners and walkers who also participated.

Each February, DA Boston engages with the community in this fun and healthy way to raise awareness about teen dating violence. This year, the event raised more than $12,000 to support the life-saving and life-affirming work of Women's Resource Center to End Domestic Violence.

Thank you to all who supported the Love Run 5K in 2022! DA Boston looks forward to seeing everyone next year. Save the date for the 8th annual Love Run 5K on Saturday, February 24, 2023.
National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month Forum 
In 2020, Georgia had the fifth highest number of human trafficking cases reported in the nation, according to statistics from the National Human Trafficking Hotline. In commemoration of National Slavery & Human Trafficking Prevention Month in January, DA Boston hosted her third annual community forum on this crucial topic.

The virtual event focused on, “Human Trafficking, Social Media & Gangs: Connecting the Dots.” The forum featured a presentation on current trends in the online recruitment of youth, and included a panel discussion with law enforcement, resource providers, and subject matter experts providing insight, tips and strategies for combatting this growing epidemic.
White House Convening

In June, DA Boston joined a delegation of prosecutors with the Association of Prosecuting Attorneys and public health experts for a White House convening to discuss a public health approach to the prosecution of HIV criminal laws.
National Domestic Violence Conference

In May, Jennifer Stolarski, Chief of Staff/Chief ADA, served as a faculty member for the 4th Annual National Domestic Violence Conference hosted by the Association of Prosecuting Attorneys at Villanova Law School.
In May, DA Boston attended the DeKalb Lawyers Association’s (DLA) Annual Scholarship Breakfast.
In June, Jeanne Canavan, Deputy Chief ADA of the Crimes Against Elder Persons & Adults with Disabilities Unit, delivered the keynote address, “Fighting Crimes Against the Elderly in Court and in the Community,” at the annual Elder Rights Conference in Augusta.
In June, A’Sheika Penn, Deputy Chief ADA of the Juvenile Division, and Dionne McGee, Senior ADA in the Crime Strategies and Community Partnerships Unit, spoke to 80 young men aged 15-22 years old at DKPD’s PAL Summer League event at South DeKalb YMCA. Topics included traffic stops, gangs and Juvenile Court.
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