MOULTRIE, Ga. — Attorneys for Jeffrey Alan Peacock asked Judge James Hardy on Tuesday for a new trial. Hardy promised to rule either this week or early next week.
Tuesday’s hearing was scheduled at the time of Peacock’s conviction in June on murder and other charges related to the deaths of five people.
In a bench trial that concluded June 20, Hardy convicted Peacock of killing Jonathan Garrett Edwards, Ramsey Jones Pidcock and Aaron Reid Williams, all 21; Alicia Brooke Norman, 20; and Jordan Shane Croft, 22, then setting their house on fire May 15, 2016.
Peacock initially claimed he was returning to the house after getting breakfast for everyone. He saw the house on fire, parked his truck nearby and called 911.
Based on a search warrant, officers went through the truck and found bloody clothes and other evidence, which led to his arrest.
On Tuesday, defense attorney Jerry Word renewed an argument he’d made in a pre-trial hearing and in the trial itself: That the truck was not parked within the area described in the search warrant. Therefore, the officers had no right to search it and the evidence found during the search should be suppressed.
Hardy ruled on both of the previous occasions that the evidence should be allowed, and it appeared critical to the prosecution’s case.
Senior Assistant District Attorney Jim Prine, who prosecuted the case in June, told the judge Tuesday that there had been no factual changes since his earlier rulings, so the state saw no reason for him to change what he’d decided then.
Hardy said it was his understanding that after he ruled, the case would be transferred to the state Supreme Court, and Word agreed that was his understanding too.
Peacock was sentenced to five consecutive life terms, one for each of the victims, as well as additional years for other charges.