Valdosta Daily Times

Local News

July 3, 2014

DA files suit against club

HOMERVILLE — The Alapaha district attorney has filed a public nuisance suit against the owners and operators of a Homerville nightclub that was the site of the deadly shooting of a Morehouse College student in May.

Alapaha District Attorney Richard “Dick” Perryman filed a complaint to abate public nuisance against Jarvis Thomas and Darryl Thomas, the owners and operators of the 912 Social Club, 418 Reddick St., in an unincorporated area of Clinch County, according to court documents.

The complaint claims that the club has been selling alcohol without a license for at least the past three years. Darryl Thomas has two prior arrests and convictions for violations of beer and liquor laws; in April 2013, Darryl was convicted of selling alcohol without a license and selling distilled spirits in a dry county, according to the DA’s suit and Clinch County Sheriff's Office reports.

The 912 Club is situated in an area known as Pearidge near the now-closed Homerville State Prison. The complaint accuses the club of encouraging “idleness” and “loitering” and that the establishment “has a tendency to breed crime and debauch the morals of the community.”

The complaint asks the court to prohibit its owners from operating the business and to padlock the premises. It also includes documents from the Clinch County Sheriff’s Office detailing several illegal activities that have taken place at the 912 Club, including murders, shootings, fights, drunkenness and narcotics and alcohol violations.

Clayton “Clay” Rolland Cross, 22, was shot to death inside the 912 Club on May 10 after sudden gunfire.

Cross was a Morehouse College student and stepson of University of Georgia football star Lindsey Scott. He was in Clinch County to visit family during the Mother’s Day weekend and had visited the club to inquire about work as a DJ. Cross was talking to friends when he was shot, and investigators do not believe he was a target of the shooting.

Dominique Ellis, 23, was also shot during the incident but was released from the hospital after treatment, reports stated.

Three men, Steven Maurice Monroe, 25, Trevor Denard Posley, 22, and Dexter Jamal Freeney, 18, have been arrested and charged in connection with Cross’s death, reports stated.

Valdosta lawyer Byron Watson represents both Jarvis Thomas and Darryl Thomas and said the complaint mirrors a separate complaint filed by the Clinch County Board of Commissioners two weeks ago. Watson issued the following statement: “This establishment has been in business (under different ownership) for more than 30 years. The current owners, Darryl Thomas and Jarvis Thomas, are being unfairly targeted because of a tragic shooting that happened on the premises earlier this year. Clay Cross was like a brother to Jarvis Thomas and a son to Darryl Thomas. They both deeply regret what happened that night. However, the persons responsible have been arrested and will be prosecuted by the District Attorney’s office. Darryl Thomas nor Jarvis Thomas are responsible for the criminal acts of a third party on the night Clay was killed. Shutting down the 912 Club would in effect hold Darryl and Jarvis responsible for the acts of a known convicted criminal wielding a gun and shooting into a crowd of people. If we shut down every business where crime occurs on the premises, not many businesses would be left.”

Rhonda Cross, Clay’s mother, is a former Clinch County commissioner and believes that the 912 Club should have been closed long before her son was killed. She issued the following statement: “The multiple 911 calls concerning the club establishment clearly show this was a premises liability and public nuisance matter long in the making. The owners and local law enforcement should have taken steps to prevent what happened to my son, Clay. Those persons and public officials, in addition to the murder suspects, should be held accountable for their negligent and reckless actions. ... The family of Clay Cross desires the club be leveled to the ground. It can no longer be business as usual on Pearidge, that I once represented as a former county commissioner. If anyone has been unfairly targeted in Clinch County, consider the family of the deceased, Clay Cross. I am currently banished from Clinch County and cannot visit the grave site of my son or take care of my grieving mother.”

Cross said she has served eight years of a 10-year banishment from Clinch County as the result of a court case involving her residency while serving as a county commissioner.

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