Local News

August 10, 2013

Judge denies expert insanity testimony in KKK case

Jury acquits accused ‘sexter’

DALTON — A Whitfield County Superior Court judge ruled on Friday that a man accused of stabbing a coworker with a Ku Klux Klan knife can’t call in an expert to testify about his sanity when he goes to trial.

John Steven Chynoweth, 21, of 418 Rebecca St., Jasper, is charged with attempted murder after authorities said he attacked a Hispanic coworker in March 2012 after voicing concerns about Hispanics planning to “gang up on him.”

According to witness statements recorded in a Dalton Police Department report, Chynoweth, who is white, told police he stabbed Kenny Rosales of Dalton in the throat with a knife that had the words “Ku Klux Klan” on it and a picture of four Klansmen in full Klan dress.

Other witnesses told police Chynoweth had a history of drug abuse and that he was becoming increasingly paranoid. Records show he went into a coma from a meth overdose about a month before the alleged work incident.

Chynoweth was scheduled to go to trial next week, but Judge William T. Boyett continued the case after the District Attorney’s Office said the alleged victim would have difficulty being there because of work obligations.

Boyett also said the Public Defender’s Office, which represents Chynoweth, can’t call in medical experts to testify whether Chynoweth’s mental state was such that he could be held criminally responsible. Boyett said he denied the testimony because Chynoweth wouldn’t let a doctor the prosecution could have called as a witness also examine him.

Neither Public Defender Mike McCarthy nor District Attorney Bert Poston immediately responded to messages seeking comment on Friday.

Jury acquits accused ‘sexter’

Earlier in the week before Superior Court Judge Cindy Morris, a jury found Jody Michael Stokes not guilty of two counts of computer and electronic child exploitation.

The jury delivered the verdict around 6 p.m. Wednesday with the trial beginning on Monday, court records show.

Dalton Police Department spokesman Bruce Frazier said when Stokes was arrested in May 2012 that he was accused of sending explicit texts to an underage girl between December 2010 and January 2011 and propositioning her for sex.

Stokes, who was 32 and living in Rocky Face when he was charged, did not answer on Friday at a phone number listed for him in court files. A message left at the Public Defender’s Office, which represented him, wasn’t immediately returned.

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