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DA won’t bring murder charge in case of man found dead in woods
Darragh says not enough evidence ‘that the deceased was in fact murdered’
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Michael Anthony Dean consults with attorney Larry Duttweiler Friday, March 1, 2019, in Hall County Magistrate Court during a committal hearing for a charge of murder in the death of Ricky Lee Sealey, 58. Dean was indicted for concealing a death, but not on the murder charge. Dean was found not guilty on Aug. 28, 2019. - photo by Scott Rogers

Two weeks after a hearing for a suspect in the case, District Attorney Lee Darragh said he was not pursuing a murder charge in the August 2016 death of Ricky Lee Sealey.

Sealey’s body was discovered Sept. 2, 2016, by Gainesville Police in the wooded area behind El Taco Veloz on Jesse Jewell Parkway.

Michael Anthony Dean, 34, was charged with murder by Gainesville Police in January.

Investigator Erin Escalante testified at Dean’s March 1 committal hearing, and the judge ruled the prosecution met the probable cause standard to move the case to Superior Court.

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Gainesville firefighters Chad Cooper, Jordan Green and Andrew Grier suit up to recover the found remains September 2, 2016. . - photo by Erin O. Smith

Darragh said Wednesday, March 20, that his office did not present that charge to the grand jury this week.

“Further extensive conversations with the medical examiner after the preliminary hearing led us to the conclusion that we could not prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the deceased was in fact murdered,” Darragh wrote in a statement. “Therefore, we did not pursue the charge further, as was appropriate.”

The grand jury did, however, hand down an indictment Monday, March 18, for Dean for concealing the death of another.

In the indictment, Dean’s alleged concealment of Sealey’s death hindered “the discovery of whether or not (Sealey) was unlawfully killed.”

Defense attorney Andy Maddox said Dean would plead not guilty to the charge, but the attorney did not comment further on the case.