Involuntary manslaughter trial likely to begin this week
by Brande Poulnot
Sep 27, 2010 | 2958 views | 0 0 comments | 11 11 recommendations | email to a friend | print
A local woman first accused of murder and now facing an involuntary manslaughter charge could face a jury this week. A round of criminal jury trials, presided over by Superior Court Judges Shepherd Howell and David Smith, are set to begin today.

Lakeisha Arnita Talley, 24, of 49 Akron St. in Cartersville is charged in connection with the July 2009 death of 19-year-old Lane Alan Gann Jr. of Acworth. According to information released by Bartow County Sheriff's Office authorities shortly after the shooting, Talley and Gann did not know each other before meeting at an Acworth gathering, which involved drinking, the night preceding Gann's death.

Talley allegedly fired the rifle round that fatally injured Gann in the chest -- he was pronounced dead at the hospital hours later -- but the grand jury in its February term no-billed the murder charge, instead returning an indictment for involuntary manslaughter.

"She took the gun out of the trunk [and] pointed it," said Lt. Robert Moultrie, who then held the rank of sergeant, in the days following the incident. "She was messing with [the gun] or something along those lines. Everybody said it was an accident.

"If it were an accident, then she should have stuck around and told the police, 'It was an accident, I'm sorry.' But it's what she did after the fact that made it appear more incriminating than it really was," he said, referring to Talley allegedly throwing the .22 Magnum in nearby woods.

In July of this year, Gann's family, displeased with the investigation and the grand jury's decision to decline a murder indictment, began collecting signatures to petition the governor for help with the case.

"I would like for [investigators] to actually speak to these people [who witnessed the incident]. The young lady who was standing directly beside my son [when he was shot], they've never spoke to her," Gann's mother, Kimberly Gann, said in July, adding that deputies who first responded to the scene interviewed witnesses, but investigators allegedly failed to collect follow-up statements from seven teen witnesses and a neighbor who called authorities. "I want them to be able to give their side of it because my kid deserves the truth to be said about all this instead of hearing [the side of] the person who pulled the trigger."

It is unclear how many signatures have been gathered or if Kimberly Gann's efforts have been successful.

Talley's trial could begin Monday or Tuesday in Howell's courtroom. Prosecuting attorneys are expected to introduce as evidence Talley's statements to police and autopsy and toxicology reports, and call several witnesses to the stand.

Other trials expected to progress to jury trials include:

* Garland Lee Burson, 20, of 4616 Ann's Trace, Acworth, is charged with six counts of failing to register as a sex offender.

* Bobby Sue Hillhouse, 50, of 203 Whispering Pines Circle, White, is charged with aggravated assault and hindering a law enforcement officer.

* Thomas Colby McElroy, 30, currently incarcerated, is charged with false imprisonment, three counts of simple battery and two counts of criminal trespass.

* Jeffery Lee Willis, 61, of 112 N. Erwin St., Apt. 13, Cartersville, is charged with two counts of DUI.