Fayette County News

Fayette County


Convictions, trial dates set during busy week at courthouse

Several members of the jury looked across the room, past the defense attorney and into the eyes of Kristopher Cawthon, trying to discern a clue from the defendant’s unchanging facial expression.

The closing statements from both sides tried to paint a clear picture for the dozen citizens who were about to deliberate on whether Cawthon was guilty of rape and abuse of a disabled adult on April 6, 2016. The defense, headed by attorney Christopher Ramig, argued that the forensic evidence showed the alleged rape did not occur.

The prosecution, led by attorney Warren Sellers, said Cawthon knew he was taking advantage of his disabled victim, “and yet he went after her and continued to go after her.”

On Wednesday afternoon, the jury entered into a room to deliberate. By the end of the day Thursday, the jury had reached a verdict. Cawthon was deemed guilty, receiving a sentence of 20 years with seven to serve.

This was only one of many trials that took place at the Fayette County Courthouse this week, as some of the county’s notable cases reached a final verdict while others were set for later dates.

Matthew Flesher, who was arrested Jan. 5, was ultimately charged with 12 counts of sexual exploitation of children, one count of criminal attempt to commit a felony and 54 counts of peeping tom, pled guilty. He was 50 at the time of his arrest, and he received a sentence of 40 years with 20 to serve, according to District Attorney Ben Coker.

Terrence Kyreef Montgomery, who was arrested on Friday, June 19, 2015 for the murder of Wali Clanton at a Fayette County pool party, also entered a plea of guilty.

Some long-standing cases still won’t be heard until months from now. The first two weeks in December have been scheduled for Thomas Zerbarini, who was charged with aggravated child molestation, incest, two counts of child molestation, and one count of enticing a child for indecent purposes.

Finally, Michael Graves, who was charged on Feb. 26, 2016 with the murder of his nephew, has had his trial specially set for January 2018.

By Justin Fedich

Justin Fedich is a reporter for the Fayette County News. He has been a reporter for various papers around the Southeast, including the Athens Banner-Herald and the Selma Times-Journal. Justin is a graduate of the University of Georgia with a degree in digital and broadcast journalism and a sports media certificate.