A 63-year-old Thomson man accused in the October 2008 slaying of his sister-in-law, recently decided to waive a jury trial - instead opting to have his case heard and decided by a Superior Court judge.
Dennis Clemons, a former custodian for the McDuffie County Sheriff's Department, appeared before Toombs Judicial Circuit Judge Harold A. Hinesley on Jan. 8 at his arraignment hearing and pleaded not guilty to murder and other criminal charges. Mr. Clemons' agreement to waive a jury trial was initially withheld pending approval of Superior Court Chief Judge Roger W. Dunaway, Jr.
Mr. Clemons, who is being represented by Thomson attorney William M. Wheeler, is charged with malice murder, felony murder, aggravated assault, possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, court records show. He is accused of shooting to death Shirley Ann Hunt, 53, at her single-wide mobile home off Hobbs Mill Road near Dearing on July 31, 2008, about 9:30 p.m.
Following the shooting, Mr. Clemons reportedly fled the area and traveled back to his home in Thomson. Several hours later, he was taken into custody by lawmen with the McDuffie County Sheriff's Department, Thomson Police Department, Georgia Bureau of Investigation and Richmond County Sheriff's Department SWAT Team.
Mr. Clemons currently is being held in the Columbia County Detention Center in Appling at the request of McDuffie County Sheriff Logan Marshall.
A trial date has not been set.