Local News

February 12, 2013

Alleged rapist found not guilty

A Whitfield County jury found a Dalton man not guilty of raping a woman at a homeless camp in Dalton in May 2012.

Ernest Patrick Cordova was 46 when the Dalton Police Department charged him. The jury reached not guilty verdicts on rape and false imprisonment charges involving Linda Gail Hall on Jan. 31, court records show.

People in the homeless camp near South Hamilton Street told police Cordova attacked a woman there and was raping her and they broke up the attack, officials said at the time.

Public Defender Mike McCarthy said a jury reached the verdicts after two days of testimony.

“The issue was whether or not there was any force involved and whether or not it was consensual,” McCarthy said. “(Given) the facts and the evidence, they (jury members) just determined that there was reasonable doubt.”

McCarthy said Cordova and the woman were engaged in sexual intercourse that was consensual and “once these people happened upon it, the lady changed her mind or for whatever reason said, ‘No, I didn’t want this,’ but there was lack of physical evidence.”

District Attorney Bert Poston said the woman and a witness who saw the woman “attempting to fight Mr. Cordova” were among the people who testified. Poston said Cordova left the scene, and when law officers located him a short time later he made “some strange and evasive statements, not a confession but not consistent with innocence either.”

Poston said he respects the jury’s decision. He said there were several factors that may have, for jury members, damaged the credibility of some of those who testified. The woman had been drinking, he said, and some of the homeless who testified had criminal records.

“The defense rightfully and successfully attacked their credibility, but the public should understand that rapists and other predatory criminals choose the time and the place, and choose victims who are vulnerable not only to the initial attack, but also less likely to report the attack and less likely to be believed if they do,” Poston said.

McCarthy said the jury stayed until 7 p.m. trying to reach the verdicts at the end of the second day of testimony and returned with verdicts at about 10 a.m. the next day. The case was heard in Judge William T. Boyett’s courtroom.

Cordova had been in jail since his arrest in May and was facing a sentence of up to life in prison without parole, McCarthy said.

1
Text Only
Local News
  • Dalton State turtle 4.jpg In the mood for love: Encouraging breeding, saving species

    For one Dalton State College couple, a cool misty shower is more effective than Barry White and candles at turning thoughts to love. And keeping this couple feeling amorous could mean survival of the species.

    August 1, 2014 4 Photos

  • Beaulieu expects 2,000 employees to be affected by week-long shutdown

    About 2,000 employees of Beaulieu of America in Georgia and Alabama will be affected by the company’s plans to conduct an inventory of its buildings and facilities next week.

    August 1, 2014

  • Moral monday 3 mlh.jpg Four ‘jailed for justice’ tell their stories

    Arturo Martinez was just 8 when his family came to the United States from Mexico, and though he is one of more than 500,000 young undocumented immigrants granted deferred removal by President Barack Obama, Martinez said his dream of pursuing higher education is out of reach because of Georgia policies.

    August 1, 2014 1 Photo

  • Tanner Blackton: Diners, servers must show understanding

    Try to imagine this: You’ve been on your feet for hours, hoisting heavy plates, buzzing from table to table, taking orders, running food, refilling drinks. All the while, you have a smile plastered on your face and a go-to attitude, even when people blame you for things that are out of your control, berate you for accidentally mixing up an order, or loudly complain about being seated underneath an air conditioning vent.

    August 1, 2014

  • Bugs and Kisses 1 mlh.jpg Local stores expect tax holiday to create lots of sales

    Local retailers say Georgia’s sales tax holiday weekends mean big business for them, and they are gearing up to capitalize on this year’s tax-free shopping on Friday and Saturday.

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • Esme file mw 2.jpg Still fighting

    Ten-year-old Esme Miller was celebrated earlier this year for the way she’s handled a bout with osteosarcoma, a type of bone cancer.

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • Historical photos of Murray County needed

    Maybe you have a photograph of a well-known preacher from the 1940s. Or maybe you have a photograph taken of a church choir from the 1920s.

    July 30, 2014

  • State DOT wants your input on transportation needs

    As state and national leaders consider alternatives for funding future transportation needs, the Georgia Department of Transportation wants to know what Georgians would like in their 21st century transportation system and how they recommend paying for it.

    July 30, 2014

  • Jail for Justice Tour event here tonight

    The Moral Monday Georgia Coalition, the NAACP-led multi-racial, multi-issue advocacy group, will host an event in partnership with the Georgia Dreamers Alliance, Coalition of Latino Leaders (CLILA), Whitfield NAACP and the Whitfield County Democratic Party at Dalton’s Mack Gaston Community Center tonight from 5 to 9.

    July 30, 2014

  • Two charged with tampering with evidence in drug investigation

    Two people have been arrested and charged with tampering with evidence in connection with the synthetic marijuana bust in February involving a Dalton business owner.

    July 30, 2014