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Badge & Bar: DA says murder resentencing will not change penalty

POSTED: January 15, 2014 11:53 p.m.

A Gainesville woman was resentenced Jan. 9 on murder charges in the death of her 18-month-old daughter.

On Nov. 4, the Georgia Supreme Court unanimously upheld a Hall County Superior Court jury’s conviction of Deanna Renee Kipp in the murder of Kaylee Kipp and mental abuse of two older siblings. The toddler was found dead in a crib on June 12, 2011, at her mother’s apartment on Riverside Drive.

However, the court said the judge erred in sentencing by giving Kipp four concurrent life sentences in prison for the murder, in addition to 35 years on abuse charges.

“The prohibition against double jeopardy does not permit a defendant to be punished on multiple murder counts for a single homicide,” the high court’s decision read.

District Attorney Lee Darragh said Kipp’s resentencing was essentially a “technicality” that will make no “practical difference” in the time served.

“Though the court had sentenced on all the murder counts, three of those counts merged into one of them, and Kipp will be serving just as much time as originally sentenced,” he said.

Superior Court Judge Andrew Fuller sentenced Kipp to serve one life sentence for felony murder, plus 35 years for cruelty to a child, five years for concealing the death and five years each on two counts of false statement.

Man indicted on charges of child enticement

A 21-year-old Clarkesville man was indicted Tuesday on child enticement charges by a Hall County grand jury.

Brandon Michael Keller was arrested on Sept. 6 in connection with making arrangements to meet a 15-year-old girl — the persona of an undercover Hall County Sheriff’s Office investigator — for the purpose of having sex, authorities said.

He was previously charged with enticing a child for indecent purposes, and the state indicted Keller on criminal attempt to commit enticing a child for indecent purposes, as well as obscene Internet contact with a child.

An enticement conviction carries one-year minimum imprisonment and a 20-year maximum, as well as registration as a sex offender. A first offender’s sentence may be served on probation.

The Internet obscenity charge carries a one-year minimum and 10-year maximum prison sentence, and a fine not to exceed $10,000.

Four other men have been charged with enticement in a string of arrests stemming from undercover Craigslist investigations executed by the sheriff’s office, the latest in November. No other cases have been indicted.

Sheriff’s office to host meet-and-greet Friday

The Hall County Sheriff’s Office is hosting its first “Coffee with a Cop” on Friday at Longstreet Cafe, 405 Pearl Nix Parkway.

The event — which will be the first of many, the office hopes — is a national initiative supported by the U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Community Oriented Policing Services.

“The entire community is welcome to come together with us in an informal, neutral space to talk about issues in your neighborhood, foster relationships with our deputies and enjoy a warm cup of coffee,” the office said in a news release.

The office urges residents to come out, ask questions and learn about the sheriff’s office in a relaxed, conversational atmosphere, rather than a confrontational or emergency situation.

Longstreet Café has also agreed to donate the proceeds from coffee sales to the Hall County Relay for Life effort.

“We hope that our community will feel comfortable in asking questions, bringing concerns, or simply getting to know our deputies,” Sheriff Gerald Couch said in a statement. “These types of interactions are the very foundation of strong community partnerships.”

The event begins at 7 a.m. Any questions can be directed to Community Service Officer Deputy Chad Mann at 770-533-7659.

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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