Local News

March 24, 2013

Life after accusation

Man acquitted of rape wants justice system reform

(Continued)

Other acquittals

Green isn’t the only person locally who has spent several months in jail and drained several thousand dollars from a bank account fighting accusations only to be found not guilty.

There have been several high-profile cases nationally in which individuals were accused of crimes they were eventually acquitted of, and, in many cases, got public opinion on their side. There was the trial of Tonya Craft, a Catoosa County kindergarten teacher accused of molesting her daughter and two other little girls. There were the Duke University lacrosse players who faced charges that they raped a stripper they hired to entertain them, only to see the charges eventually dropped.

Locally, there have been less high-profile cases in which individuals endured long periods of financial hardship because of a variety of alleged crimes a jury eventually found them not guilty of committing.

Dalton resident Ernest Patrick Cordova stayed in the Whitfield County jail from about May of 2012 until he was found not guilty several weeks ago of raping a woman at a homeless camp.

There is also John Henry, a former Whitfield County resident whose ex-wife accused him of assaulting her and the man she was living with using a gun. Henry said he lost his house, his business and two years of his life fighting the charges before a jury found him not guilty. Henry argued he wasn’t even in Dalton when the crime was supposed to have happened.

Jacob Harrison Ward was found not guilty by a Gordon County jury about a year ago after Calhoun Police charged the Whitfield County resident with using a stun gun on an elderly Walmart greeter. Ward lost his job, lost money fighting the charges, and temporarily lost his freedom.

Ward said he never touched the greeter, a charge which police disputed. They said he even confessed at one point — which brings out another point. A jury’s finding of “not guilty” isn’t the same as finding a defendant innocent, said Poston.

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