Valdosta Daily Times

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December 18, 2013

Prison for man found not guilty of murder

VALDOSTA — Sentences were handed down Monday for Lowndes County Superior Court cases involving burglary, aggravated assault, drug possession and sexual battery.

Southern Circuit Judge James Tunison issued sentences for six offenders at Lowndes County Law Enforcement Complex on Prison Farm Road.

Devonte M. Brantley, 22, was acquitted of felony murder charges in November in the death of Christopher Small that was a result of an attempted home invasion perpetuated by Brantley, Small and Alex Parrish. Small suffered a gunshot wound during a struggle with the victims and died at a Tallahassee hospital.

Brantley was convicted on every other charge in the case and was sentenced to five years in jail for burglary, 20 years and a $1,500 fine for criminal attempt to commit armed robbery, five years for possession of a firearm during a felony, 20 years for aggravated assault, five years for another possession of a firearm during a felony charge, 20 years and a $1,500 fine for another aggravated assault charge and five years each for two more counts of possession of a firearm during a felony.

Brantley’s sentences will be served concurrently. He was sentenced to 25 years total, 12 years in confinement and the remainder on probation. He will also be required to serve 240 hours of community service, have no contact with his victims and their families and pay court fines and fees.

Before his trial, Brantley was offered a plea agreement by the prosecution of 10 years in jail followed by three years of probation for voluntary manslaughter, but he rejected it.

— Thomas Wayne Grantham, 32, was originally scheduled to receive sentencing in November, but Tunison postponed it to consider Grantham’s request to the court.

“I have the conviction in my heart that I want to do better,” said Grantham. “I want to go into a treatment program.”

Grantham was convicted of possession of methamphetamine and sentenced to four years in jail followed by six years of probation. He was also sentenced to serve concurrently one year in jail for each of the following counts: fleeing and attempt to elude, driving under the influence, driving on a suspended license and reckless driving.

Grantham received a total of 10 years in jail but will only serve four behind bars. He will be required to pay $3,100 in fines, serve 80 hours of community service and enter an alcohol and substance abuse and counseling treatment program for two years.

— Bruce Harol Brown, 17, had pleaded guilty to burglary and was sentenced under the first-offender program to 10 years of probation and a $1,000 fine. Brown was also convicted of theft by receiving stolen property and sentenced to five years probation to be served consecutively, a $1,000 fine, 160 hours of community service, no contact with his victims and 12 months in jail. He will also be required to pay court fines and fees and restitution to his victims.

— Jamarcus Antwon Thomas, 20, was convicted of burglary and sentenced under the first-offender program to five years of probation, a $1,500 fine, 120 hours of community service and must serve 180 days in a detention center along with paying court fines, fees and restitution to his victims.

— Devin James Smoot, 32, was convicted of possession of cocaine and sentenced to three years in jail followed by three years of probation, a $1,500 fine, 120 hours of community service, two years of drug and alcohol treatment and court fines and fees.

— Clifford Gaskins, 32, was convicted of three counts of sexual battery and sentenced to five years of probation to be served concurrently for each count, a $3,000 fine, 120 hours of community service, no contact with his victims and one year in jail. Gaskins must also register as a convicted sex offender.

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