Local News

March 12, 2014

Murder suspect faces Friday bond hearing

It’s likely to be several months before a murder suspect has her day in court to face charges related to killing and robbing a convenience store clerk in Dalton, but her first court appearance was swift and brief.

Skyy Raven-Marie Mims, 21, of Detroit, Mich., stood before Judge Chris Griffin Wednesday afternoon with assistant public defender Amber Connell at her side during a first appearance hearing required for all defendants.

In a cramped courtroom at the Whitfield County jail where members of the public were allowed to witness the video-conferenced appearance, news media from Atlanta and Chattanooga pointed five video cameras at a computer screen while others took notes. The screen showed images of Griffin in one window and Mims and the court-appointed lawyer representing her in another.

Mims’ hearing lasted a little more than one minute.

Wearing orange prison clothes, Mims was almost inaudible as she confirmed her name and date of birth and said she was not on parole or probation. Connell confirmed she represented Mims but said nothing else.

Because magistrate courts by law don’t consider bond for murder defendants, Mims will go before Superior Court Judge Jack Partain on Friday at the Whitfield County Courthouse at 9 a.m. for a bond hearing. Assistant public defender Steve Blevins will represent her. That hearing is also expected to be via video conference.

Security cameras captured footage of Mims at the Hi-Tech Fuel at 3385 Airport Road late Sunday night where authorities said she killed convenience store clerk Dahyabhai Kalidas Chaudmari, 37, and fled with lottery tickets and money from the cash register.

Investigators haven’t said why Mims, an aspiring model and singer, was in Dalton after spending time in Atlanta only days before, nor have they said whether Mims and Chaudmari knew one another before Sunday. Investigators have released few details of how she was captured at a residence in Bartow County Tuesday evening with help from the U.S. Marshals Service, Cartersville-Bartow County Drug Task Force and Georgia Bureau of Investigation.

They’ve also declined to confirm a store manager’s opinion from viewing surveillance video that his clerk likely died from being stabbed to death. Georgia Bureau of Investigation officials referred additional questions about the case to the Whitfield County Sheriff’s Office, and officials there referred questions to District Attorney Bert Poston.

Poston said ethics policies for prosecutors prohibit him from commenting on most details of an ongoing case. Poston said the next step after Mims’ bond hearing Friday will be for him to take the case before a grand jury to ask for an indictment.

Investigators are still wrapping up some of the details of the case, so the grand jury hearing probably won’t happen for at least another month, probably longer, Poston said.

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