Valdosta Daily Times

Local News

September 27, 2013

‘Quitman 11’ trial continues

QUITMAN — The “Quitman 11” trial of Lula Smart continued Thursday, with the morning starting with witness Whitney Cobb, one of the many absentee voters from the 2010 election.

Presented with the 16-item questionnaire that Georgia Bureau of Investigation and Secretary of State agents used to note her answers when interviewing her back in 2010, Cobb confirmed to prosecutor Clara Bucci that each answer was correct, save one. While it’s noted on the two-page questionnaire that Lula Smart picked up Cobb’s finished absentee ballot, Cobb stated on Thursday that the ballot was picked up by a woman, but not particularly Smart.

Following Cobb on the witness stand was Assistant Special Agent in Charge Mark Pro, the GBI agent who, along with an agent from the Secretary of State’s office, questioned Cobb. Chevene King, Smart’s defense attorney, questioned Pro as to the investigation’s decision to use a paper questionnaire as opposed to voice recording. Pro also interviewed Errol Cobb Jr., who answered that he had neither filled out nor returned an absentee ballot. King focused on Pro’s summary of the interview, a summary that mentions Errol Cobb’s sister picking up his absentee ballot, something that wasn’t noted on the questionnaire.

Before breaking for lunch, Melba Lovett, Brooks County registrar, was called to the stand. Bucci had Lovett lead the jury through the absentee-ballot process, from the application submission to the returning of the completed ballot.

While previous elections had usually involved 300 to 400 absentee ballots, the 2010 election saw 1,402

absentee ballots sent out, with 1,059 returned. Part of the increase may be due to a change in the law after the 2008 election, allowing anyone to vote through absentee ballots.

Due to the increase, Lovett deputized two other people in the office to lawfully handle ballots, along with her granddaughter, to handle the workload. At one point, she took ballots home with her in an effort to keep up.

This case stems from a 2010 election where Brooks County school board candidates lost at the polling places then won their respective races via absentee ballots. Though charged in the case, these school board officials served, then couldn’t serve for several months due to the charges, then were reinstated to the board. Originally, these suspects were called the Quitman 10 then two more people were charged prompting the title Quitman 10+2. One suspect has since passed away.

The case has attracted statewide and national attention from civil rights groups since the Quitman 11 suspects are African-American, defeated white opponents, and placed the black school board members into the majority for the first time.

As of Thursday, signs point to the trial continuing into next week.

Text Only
Local News
  • 140415-water003.jpg Sewage problems persist

    Early Tuesday morning, Valdosta became saturated when the area received approximately three inches of rain from 4 a.m. to noon. As of 3 p.m. Tuesday, 11 manholes throughout the City of Valdosta have spilled 286,500 gallons of wastewater into local waterways, and this number will continue to rise.

    April 16, 2014 2 Photos

  • vsuopera1dido.jpg Operatic Conclusion

    When the curtain lowers this weekend on Valdosta State University Opera’s performance of Henry Purcell’s “Dido and Aeneas,” it will not only mark the end of the music group’s season.

    April 16, 2014 2 Photos

  • ‘If I Were Mayor’ contest essays

    If I were mayor, I would do all that I possibly can to make the city of Valdosta marvelous, but I cannot do it on my own. Some things in Valdosta I feel it is necessary to focus on would be our literacy rate, unemployment rate, crime history, and our environment.

    April 16, 2014

  • APTOPIX Boston Marath_Stew.jpg Solemn tributes mark Boston Marathon bombing

    Survivors, first responders and relatives of those killed in the Boston Marathon bombing marked the anniversary Tuesday with tributes that combined sorrow over the loss of innocent victims with pride over the city’s resilience in the face of a terror attack.

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • 140414-valdostaboe001 copy.jpg Valdosta Board of Education reviews finances

    Valdosta City Schools Board of Education celebrated many successes Monday night, discussed budget information and heard an announcement of intent from a hopeful charter school.

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • dancing with the stars copy.jpg Dancing with Valdosta Stars raises scholarship money

    Valdosta State University Music and Theatre & Dance’s Third Annual Dancing with the Stars of Valdosta presented a fine dance show this past weekend.

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • N0041120.jpg Passover: A nation reborn

    “And you shall tell your children that on that day the Lord has took you out from the house of bondage.” — The Passover Hagadah

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • 140414-DFCS001.jpg Luncheon recognizes DFACS employees

    Dozens of Lowndes County Division of Family and Children Services employees gathered Monday at Olympic Park for a barbecue lunch in recognition of their hard work.

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • 140414-Sewage002.jpg Fla. calls for Valdosta boycott

    Florida residents are calling for a boycott of Valdosta regarding the sewage spills, with areas affected downstream increasingly distressed over the millions of gallons that have polluted the waters of the Withlacoochee and the Suwannee River Basin during the last several years.

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • police-lights-backgrounds-for-powerpoint.jpg ‘Dangerous’ fugitive caught

    A fugitive from Ohio wanted for attempted murder and a number of assault and robbery charges was captured by Valdosta police Saturday.

    April 14, 2014 2 Photos

Top News

What you think about school and workplace rules about Facebook friends?

There have to be rules.
No need for rules, just use common sense.
If people want to be friends, what is the big deal?
Nobody uses Facebook anymore.
     View Results