At a bond hearing in Walton County Superior Court Monday morning, it was revealed that the 16-year-old accused in the double homicide last month in the Social Circle area will be charged as an adult. Alcovy Circuit Superior Court Judge Samuel D. Ozburn also denied bond for Kinteria Kiatis Durden, 16, of Social Circle.
Durden faces two counts each of felony murder and aggravated assault in the May 22, 2017 shooting death of two men who traveled from Meriwether County to sell a dirt bike. According to Alcovy Circuit Court District Attorney Layla Zon, Cortez White and Davoddren Harris were shot multiple times, “ambushed,” from the back seat of the vehicle. Information retrieved from one of the victim’s cell phones that was left in the car had correspondence between the men and Durden about the potential sale. Durden had allegedly asked to be picked up from his home in Social Circle and taken to another location to get the money for the bike. He was seen riding the bike in Social Circle following the shooting.
“A Covington police officer had observed a juvenile driving recklessly and texting. He was not wearing a helmet,” Zon said, explaining that Durden’s hair worn in dreads was distinctive.
A second witness also reported seeing someone matching Durden’s description riding the dirt bike on Hightower Road in Social Circle. He was subsequently recognized as the person on the victim’s phone who had arranged to meet with the victims for the purpose of allegedly purchasing the dirt bike. Zon said it remains an active investigation, noting that despite a search last week of a body of water close by, the murder weapon has not yet been recovered. She said they did know, however, that the bullets used in the murder were 38 caliber and the grandmother had a gun that would have used 38 caliber bullets stolen “a few days or a few weeks” before the murders.
“The gun went missing while the defendant was there,” Zon said. She also shared his extensive juvenile record, which included gun theft, auto theft, terroristic threats and several stints in juvenile detention centers. She asked Ozburn to deny bond based on several factors, including that neither his mother or juvenile courts had been successful in controlling his actions in the past.
“We also believe the defendant poses a flight risk. He was not in his home when they went to arrest him and his mother had very little information as to where he was,” Zon said. He was found at his girlfriend’s house in Eatonton and arrested in the early morning hours. “Also, he does face multiple life sentences and even life without parole. He has had multiple run ins with the law, has been sent to Youth Detention Centers, has violated probation, his mother has not been able to control him and he has stolen guns and cars in the past.”
Attorney John Snyder, public defender appointed to the case, asked that Durden be given bond and allowed to stay at his mother’s home with an ankle monitor.
“He does have a juvenile record, but he would not be able to flee. He has no money, although he has been working at KFC, he has no money, means or motive to flee. The case is still being investigated and hopefully they will find the real person who is responsible,” Snyder said. “His mother is here today and while he has had issues in the past and wasn’t in school, he was looking at ways to get his diploma through online classes.”
Snyder also asked in the event of bond being denied that Durden be allowed to remain in a juvenile detention facility despite the fact that he is charged as an adult and is turning 17 on June 23. Ozburn asked Zon to let him know how the state felt about that request before making a decision, but did go ahead and deny bond.
“First, he would be a flight risk,” Ozburn said. “He was not found in Walton County. He was with his girlfriend. He also is a risk and danger to the community based on his repeated offenses and he would not be amenable to supervision.”
Ozburn also gave as a reason for denying bond that there is still evidence missing and it would give Durden the opportunity to hide evidence or interfere with the investigation. Durden is due to be arraigned on June 22, 2017 in Walton County Superior Court. He will remain in the YDC in Gainesville until that time. The families of the victims were in court for this morning’s bond hearing.