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Murder conviction, life sentences upheld by Supreme Court



Published Monday, December 10, 2018


Please note:Opinion summaries are prepared by the Public Information Office for the general public and news media. Summaries are not prepared for every opinion released by the Court, but only for those cases considered of great public interest. Opinion summaries are not to be considered as official opinions of the Court. The full opinions are available on the Supreme Court website at

The Supreme Court of Georgia has upheld MURDERconvictions and life prison sentences for:


* Archie Edward Bennett (Pierce Co.)         BENNETT V. THE STATE(S18A1557) 

* Denirio Perrell Cunningham (Clayton Co.)            CUNNINGHAM V. THE STATE(S18A1525) 

                                                            (The Supreme Court has upheld Cunningham’s convictions for malice 

murder, burglary, aggravated assault, cruelty to children, and criminal trespass for crimes against David Rucker, Ashley Gay, and their two minor children. It also has upheld Cunningham’s sentence to life in prison without parole. But the high court has reversed his convictions and sentences for false imprisonment and the related weapons charges because of insufficient evidence.) (Please see NOTEbelow.)

* Danteviouse Doleman (Muscogee Co.)      DOLEMAN V. THE STATE(S18A1155)

* Nyheim Dyquon Gartrell (Wilkes Co.)      GARTRETT V. THE STATE(S18A1602)

* Bobby Eugene Gray(Clayton Co.)           GRAY V. THE STATE(S18A1583)

* Travis Griggs (DeKalb Co.)                                GRIGGS V. THE STATE(S18A1594)

* Frank Henderson (Fulton Co.)                   HENDERSON V. THE STATE(S18A1153)

* James Hightower (Fulton Co.)                HIGHTOWER V. THE STATE(S18A1238) 

* Zjuantavious Jackson (Floyd Co.)                       JACKSON V. THE STATE(S18A1438) 

* Anthony Lewis (Fulton Co.)                   LEWIS V. THE STATE(S18A1621)

* Willie Mizell (Fulton Co.)                     MIZELL V. THE STATE(S18A1029) 

* Wright Greyhound Phoenix (Glynn Co.)   PHOENIX V. THE STATE(S18A1439) 

* Alejandro Rivera (Fulton Co.)                 RIVERA V. THE STATE(S18A1264)

* Jonathan Michael Smith (Jackson Co.)     SMITH V. THE STATE(S18A1191)

* Jeneral Walter(Fulton Co.)                     WALTER V. THE STATE(S18A1241)

* Wayne Welbon (Fulton Co.)                               WELBON V. THE STATE(S18A1143)

* Christopher Antwon Willis (Spalding Co.)            WILLIS V. THE STATE(S18A1363)


NOTECunningham v. The Stateis Justice Carol Hunstein’slast opinion before her retirement Dec. 31, 2018. In a small footnote tied to the author’s name on page 1 of the opinion, Justice Hunstein has written: “It has been an honor and a privilege to serve the people of the State of Georgia for over 30 years.”


IN DISCIPLINARY MATTERS, the Georgia Supreme Court has disbarred the following attorney:


* David P. Rachel           IN THE MATTER OF: DAVID P. RACHEL(S19Y0258)


The Court has accepted a petition for voluntary discipline and ordered a 12-Month Suspension of attorney: 


* Amber Cecile Saunders              IN THE MATTER OF: AMBER CECILE SAUNDERS(S18Y1159)