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Suspect in 4 deaths expected to enter plea April 17

DA will ask for death penalty against Stringer

POSTED: April 6, 2008 5:01 a.m.
ROBIN MICHENER NATHAN/The Times

Henry Lee Stringer talks to one of his lawyers before his first appearance in front of Superior Court Judge Joseph H. Booth on charges of malice murder, felony murder, aggravated assault, aggravated battery, cruelty to children in the first degree and arson in the first degree.

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JEFFERSON — The man accused of killing and burning his two children, their mother and grandmother in Hoschton is expected to enter a plea on April 17.

Jackson County Superior Court Judge Joseph Booth scheduled the arraignment for Henry Lee Stringer, 34, at a Tuesday morning hearing. The hearing was the first time Stringer appeared in Superior Court.

Rick Bridgeman, district attorney for the Piedmont Judicial Circuit, will seek the death penalty. It is Bridgeman’s first death penalty case since taking office in August after he was appointed to fill the unexpired term of longtime district attorney Tim Madison.

Also at the hearing, attorneys for Stringer were approved. Public defenders Christian G. Lamar and Joseph W. Vigneri were appointed to the case. Lamar has 14 years of criminal law experience and has tried 10-20 capital cases, he said. Vigneri has been practicing since 1983 and has tried one death penalty case.

Lamar, lead counsel, said he plans to challenge the grand jury’s indictment. He has not mapped out a defense strategy yet, and said it is too early to speculate on a trial date.

Stringer was indicted Dec. 3 on charges of murder, aggravated assault, aggravated battery, cruelty to children and arson. It was the second indictment returned by a grand jury since Stringer’s arrest.

Stringer is accused of killing Evelyn Strickland, 68, her daughter, Marvelette J’Laine Strickland, 29, and Marvelette’s two children, 4-year-old J’Majuan Stringer and 2-year-old J’Lasia Stringer.

Authorities said the women were stabbed and the children died of smoke inhalation after a fire was set at the yellow house on Pendergrass Road in Hoschton on May 30, 2006. The case went a year without an arrest before Stringer was charged June 1.

Stringer is being held without bond at the Barrow County Detention Center.



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