Fayette County (GA) Sheriff’s Office Uses CellHawk to Arrest & Convict Three Murder Suspects

In June of 2017, a 74 year old Fayette County resident was brutally stabbed to death in front of his wife inside of their home. The three men fled the scene after stealing family’s vehicle.

The Fayette County Sheriff’s Office responded to the scene and immediately sent out a BOLO for the stolen vehicle. Shortly after a Fayette County Deputy spotted the vehicle driving away from the scene. The deputy initiated a pursuit where speeds of 130 miles per hour were reached. The pursuit was terminated when the suspects wrecked the vehicle and fled on foot.

Shortly after the wreck a Lyft driver approached the perimeter of the scene and told Fayette County Deputies that she was there for a pickup. The Lyft driver’s vehicle closely resembled the Sheriff’s own vehicle so they used his vehicle in place of the Lyft vehicle. Law enforcement then drove to the pick-up location where one of the suspects was waiting. The suspect was taken into custody.  A few hours later the second suspect was found and the third was found a few days later.

To build their case Captain Ethon Harper obtained the call detail records of all the suspect’s phones and used CellHawk to map and analyze their whereabouts leading up to and on the day of the murder. By using CellHawk, Captain Harper was able to quickly conclude that these suspects were not from Fayette County but instead spent most of their time in Dekalb County and in the city of Atlanta.

On the night of the murder, the phones belonging to the suspects deviated from their normal pattern and instead registered in the immediate area of the crime scene. Captain Harper was able to use animation and screenshots from CellHawk to show the movements and locations of the phones. Along with text message content obtained from the physical devices, this became a key piece of evidence to show their involvements in the crimes.

In May 2018 all three men were found guilty and sentenced to life without parole. The three men entered non-negotiated guilty pleas to an indictment which charged them with multiple counts of malice murder, felony murder, home invasion, armed robbery, aggravated assault, kidnapping, firearm charges, burglary, and theft by taking.

We here at Hawk Analytics would like to congratulate Captain Ethon Harper and the rest of the Fayette County Sheriff’s Office on the arrest and prosecution of these individuals. We are thankful we could help bring justice to a heinous crime.

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