A pretrial hearing for three men accused of beating up a Thomson man and later robbing him in what local authorities say was gang-related earlier this year was postponed in McDuffie County Superior Court last week.
Special appointed Judge Daniel J. Craig of the Augusta Judicial Circuit was selected to hear the case against the three defendants because Judges Roger W. Dunaway Jr. and Harold A. Hinesley had to recuse themselves from the case because of a conflict of interest. The same was true for prosecutors with the Toombs Judicial Circuit.
Though the defendants, along with their attorneys were present, Judge Craig said he could not conduct the hearing because no one was present to represent the state.
District Attorney Ashley Wright of the Augusta Judicial Circuit has been assigned to appoint an assistant district attorney to represent the state in the case.
After conferring with the defense attorneys present last Wednesday, Judge Craig said he would set the pre-trial hearing for the week of Oct. 25.
The case involves three defendants. They include: Joseph Earl Collins, of the 1500 block of Hobbs Mill Road, Dearing; Jermaine Levon Evans Hall, of the 2500 block of Wrens Highway, Thomson; and Damarcus Vonteegus Smith, of the 1500 block of Rock House Road, Thomson.
All three of the defendants are charged with aggravated battery, two counts each of Violation of Street Gang Terrorism and Prevention Act and robbery by force, court records show.
Mr. Collins is represented by Michael J. Moses, of Louisville; Mr. Hall is represented by Anne Carroll of the Toombs Judicial Circuit Public Defender's Office; and Mr. Smith is represented by M.V. Booker.
The trio is accused of being associated with a gang known as Folk Nation.
Indicted earlier this year on multiple criminal charges by a McDuffie County grand jury, the three defendants are accused of beating and robbing Robert Chance Dent. The victim's nose and jaw was broken during an incident that occurred on Feb. 16.