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Defendant Found Guilty

District Attorney Keith Higgins announces that Avery Mondell Davis, 39, of Hazlehurst, was found guilty of possession of marijuana with intent to distribute following a criminal jury trial June 20 in Jeff Davis County Superior Court. On April 12, 2022, Jeff Davis Sheriff’s Office Deputy Chris Booker stopped a vehicle on Uvalda Highway for a headlight violation. The defendant, Davis, was the driver and a co-defendant was the passenger. Deputy Booker determined that Davis’ license was suspended and his vehicle was uninsured. When asked to step out of the vehicle, Deputy Booker detected the odor of marijuana coming from the vehicle and the person of Davis. Davis was searched and a misdemeanor amount of suspected marijuana was found.
While Davis was being detained, the co-defendant exited the vehicle carrying a black plastic bag. When confronted and questioned by the deputy, the co-defendant handed him the bag, which contained a substance later identified by a GBI forensic chemist as being 39.060 grams of marijuana bagged in three separate baggies along with a digital scale. Statements made by Davis at the scene and later at the detention center implicated him as the owner of the bag and its contents. At trial, Jeff Davis Sheriff’s Office Investigator Anthony McNeal testified about the factors he considered when determining Davis’ intent to distribute the drugs, which included the quantity of the drug (more than an ounce of marijuana), the presence of a digital scale, and the packaging of the drug into separate bags. The co-defendant, who had pled guilty to a lesser-included charge of possession greater than an ounce, was called to testify by Davis’ defense attorney. She claimed sole ownership of the marijuana on the stand. However, when pressed during questioning, she did not have any specific details about the origination of the marijuana and incorrectly listed the contents of the black plastic bag. The jury ultimately found her statement not to be credible and Davis was convicted of possession of marijuana with the intent to distribute. Assistant District Attorney Hunter Smith prosecuted the case in court, and was able to introduce Davis’ prior convictions for sale of cocaine and sale of marijuana as evidence of his intent to possess and distribute controlled substances. Davis was also previously convicted in Jeff Davis County of forgery first degree and felony obstruction of an officer.
Following jury deliberations, Superior Court Judge Roger B. Lane sentenced Davis to the maximum of 10 years to serve. Judge Lane sentenced Davis as a recidivist under O.C.G.A § 17-10-7, which means he will not be eligible for early release.

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