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District Attorney clears up statute of limitations confusion

By: Charles Duncan

In a story on Page 1A of the North Georgia News and Towns County Herald, July 5th editions, indicating that arrest warrants four years or older are falling off the books in the Mike Gowder, Dr. James Heaton cases in Union, Towns and White counties, because of lack of indictments, needs clarification.

O.C.G.A. 17-3-1 provides that cases four years or older cannot be prosecuted with the exceptions of murder, armed robbery, kidnapping, rape, aggravated sodomy, aggravated child molestation, and aggravated sexual battery.

However, O.C.G.A. 17-3-2, subsection 2, provides other exceptions that include if the crimes are unknown to law enforcement. The alleged crimes were unknown to law enforcement and at the time of discovery, the clock began to tick. Thus, the arrest warrants were well within the four-year statute of limitations.

Bottom line, the arrest warrants are still active.

Not knowing about O.C.G.A. 17-3-2, subsection 2, the newspapers only reported on O.C.G.A. 17-3-1 as it pertained to the Gowder, Heaton cases. We apologize for the oversight.

Enotah Circuit District Attorney Jeff Langley aided in this clarification.




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