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Badge and Bar: September court date set for 2001 slaying

POSTED: August 14, 2013 11:46 p.m.

In December, the Gainesville Police Department announced a suspect arrested in connection with a violent attack was implicated in the murder of a Gainesville woman found dead 12 years ago.

That case is scheduled for a calendar call on Sept. 10 in Superior Court Judge Bonnie Oliver’s courtroom.

Daniel Lee Mason III, 40, of Atlanta was arrested after Gainesville police were called the night of Dec. 5 to Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard to investigate an attack on a 39-year-old woman. He was then tied to the April 2001 death of Crystal Star Barnette, 37.

Mason was indicted in February on charges of malice murder, two counts felony murder, aggravated assault and aggravated battery in the 2001 case, and attempted murder, aggravated assault, robbery by force, sexual battery, possession of cocaine and giving false information to an officer in the December attack.

According to the indictment, Mason killed Barnette by “beating her about the head with a wooden object.”

The women in both cases were walking when they were attacked less than a city block from each other, and in both cases, police said the victim knew Mason, who grew up in Gainesville.

Selective prosecution motion denied in murder case

A Hall County Superior Court judge denied a motion to dismiss a murder charge against a teen implicated in a 2012 car wreck.

Christopher Eggersdorf, 17, was charged with felony murder in the case, in which he is accused of running a stop sign and striking a car, killing a woman and a 3-year-old.

His attorney argued to dismiss the charges on the basis that the district attorney’s office had “selectively prosecuted” the young man because of his age and the law enforcement connections of the victim’s family.

Larry Duttweiler, senior assistant public defender for the Northeastern Judicial Circuit, said the more typical charge of vehicular homicide — a misdemeanor or felony depending on the level of “recklessness” — was the maximum charge his client should face.

Eggersdorf faces two counts of felony murder, criminal damage to property in the first degree, aggravated assault, two counts of homicide by vehicle in the first degree, serious injury by vehicle, reckless driving, no insurance and no headlights.

On Sept. 30, 2012, the then-16-year-old driver ran a stop sign, and his Ford Mustang struck the left side of a Pontiac Bonneville, killing Lora Thompson, 50, and Anna Grace Jones, 3, at the intersection of Ransom Free Road and Ga. 283 in Clermont, according to the Georgia State Patrol.

In Georgia, a 16-year-old can only be charged as an adult if he or she commits certain serious felonies, murder being one. Duttweiler argued that selective prosecution was employed to get the case against the teen kicked up to Superior Court, rather than prosecuted in Juvenile Court.

Eggersdorf is being held in Hall County Jail on $75,000 bond. Duttweiler said he expects to enter a plea on Friday, although not to the murder charges.

Sentencing will take place at a later date.

Deputies seek stolen motorcycle

The Hall County Sheriff’s Office is asking the community to look out for a motorcycle reported as stolen.

The 2000 Suzuki solid black motorcycle was last seen on Sunday evening at the owner’s residence in North Hall, the office said.

The office asked that any tips be left through nonemergency dispatch at 770-536-8812, or anonymously at 770-503-3232.

Emma Witman covers public safety issues for The Times. Share your thoughts, news tips and questions with her:

ewitman@gainesvilletimes.com

facebook.com/timesemmawitman

@EmmaWTimes


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