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Elder Motes found guilty on 4 counts in dog slaying case
Gainesville man gets 10-year sentence, three in prison; attorney plans to seek new trial
Dewayne Steven Motes

Two days after his son was acquitted of all charges, a Hall County jury found Dewayne Steven Motes guilty on four of the six same charges against him in a July 2015 case that resulted in the shooting death of another man’s dog.

Judge Andrew Fuller sentenced Motes to 10 years total on the four charges, three years to be served in prison and seven on probation.

The jury deliberated less than three hours before rendering its verdict around noon Friday. It found Motes guilty of aggravated cruelty to animals, second-degree criminal damage to property, battery and criminal trespass. He was found not guilty on the charges of aggravated assault and possession of a firearm during commission of a felony.

Motes was charged in connection with an incident on Benson Drive in Gainesville on July 26, 2015. His son, Matthew Motes, was acquitted on all six charges by a different jury Wednesday.

Matthew Motes’ attorney Clinton Teston, said during that trial his client did not deny shooting the animal, but it was in response to the dog’s owner attempting to let the it out of the car during a fight.

The younger Motes was in the courtroom when the verdict was read and said he was surprised at the four guilty verdicts against his father.

“I had told them I shot the dog, and I was found not guilty, and they found that I was within reason to do it,” he said. “I think they were looking for someone to hang it on, so they just found him (guilty).”

Fuller sentenced Dewayne Motes to five years on the aggravated cruelty to animals charge with three of those years in prison and the other two on probation. He was sentenced to an additional five years probation on the criminal damage to property charge and 12 months in prison each on the battery and the criminal trespass charges. The latter charges were to run concurrently with the three years in prison.

The judge listed more than 30 conditions for probation including drug and alcohol treatment, a mental health evaluation and no direct or indirect contact with the owner of the dog.

Before sentencing, the judge called the incident an “incredibly dangerous situation.”

“Your history suggests that you cannot be compliant with the law,” Fuller told Motes in court. “For the purposes of public safety, a court has to imagine this, that based on Mr. Motes’ prior history, even with this jury’s verdict, he’ll do this again. That’s been your history and thus the court has to react to public safety needs.”

Tom Csider, Dewayne Motes’ attorney, said he will file a motion for a new trial in the case, which must be done within 30 days.

“Obviously, we’re disappointed, particularly given the verdict in Matthew’s case,” Csider said. “I was almost shocked they even went forward on it after Matthew’s case.”

Dewayne Motes faced a seventh charge, possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, but that charge did not go to the jury. Csider said that charge would likely only be prosecuted if a new trial was ordered and Friday’s convictions were overturned.

Hall County District Attorney Lee Darragh said he was satisfied with the verdict and the sentence.

“We weren’t surprised,” Darragh said. “While we always accept a jury’s verdict, as we do in the first case, in the second case we are satisfied that justice was done. While we had argued for a bit more, the sentence was a fair sentence and considered carefully by Judge Fuller.”

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