Update: Durden sentenced to life without the possibility of parole

Durden’s attorney immediately filed a motion for a new trial

Kinterie Kiatis Durden

Update

After going through all the evidence presented on Kinterie Kiatis Durden’s record including his school records, his juvenile record, psychological evaluations as well as his behavior after being convicted of the 2017 murder of Cortez White and Davoddren Harris, Judge Samuel D. Osburn announced his sentence on Thursday morning. Osburn sentenced Durden to life without the possibility of parole. That sentence of life without parole was given for counts 1 and 2, which were for malice murder. The four counts of felony murder were vacated and Osburn sentenced him to life for the two counts each of armed robbery and aggravated assault, to run concurrent to the life without the possibility of parole. In addition, Durden earned five years each for the two counts of possession of a firearm during the commission of a crime.

In pronouncing the sentence, Osburn said in taking everything into account, he found Durden to be irreparably corrupt and incorrigible, which were necessary to sentence someone who had offended as a juvenile to life without the possibility of parole.

Durden’s attorney, Dwight L. Thomas, had asked for life with the possibility of parole. He said that Durden had requested to speak before sentencing was pronounced, but Durden, who was in attendance virtually from the Walton County Detention Center, appeared to shake his head at the opportunity at that time. When he did speak, all he said was, “It’s all good.”

As soon as the sentence was announced, Thomas filed a motion for a new trial and then announced his resignation from representing Durden. Osburn said everything would be turned over to the public defender’s office for any further action.

The full court sentencing procedure can be viewed here.

Update

Judge Samuel D. Osburn will return to the courtroom again at 9:30 a.m. on Thursday, June 18, 2020, where he is expected to issue his ruling on the sentencing of Kinterie Kiatis Durden convicted in November 2019 of the 2017 murder of Cortez White and Davoddren Harris. The sentencing hearing was on May 28, 2020. The full hearing can be seen on Facebook live at the end of this article.

Initial Story

In a temporary return to the courtroom after his April 30, 2020 retirement, Judge Samuel D. Osburn heard arguments for the sentencing of Kinterie Durden, 19, in the 2017 murder of Cortez White and Davoddren Harris. District Attorney Layla Zon argued for the state for life without the possibility of parole and Durden’s attorney, Dwight L. Thomas, asked for life with the possibility of parole. Additional times were tacked on for armed robbery and possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony counts.

Durden was found guilty in November 2019 of all 12 counts in the 2017 murder of White and Harris. These included two counts of malice murder, four counts of felony murder, two counts of armed robbery, two counts of felony aggravated assault and two counts of possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony.

Durden had been 16 at the time of the murders and Thomas argued that life without parole is only considered for juveniles in the rarest and “worst of the worst” cases where irrefutable depravity is displayed and the defendant is beyond redemption. He argued that Durden had apologized to the families of the victims, to his family and to the courts.

Zon, however, argued that Durden did in fact meet the criteria of the worst of the worst, showed irrefutable depravity and was beyond redemption. She said that evidence showed that he could be charming when it suited him to manipulate people and that his juvenile record refuted some of the claims by family members who wrote to the court asking for mercy. He had stolen from his grandmother and bullied other children at school as well as attacked his sister.

“He had gone from threats to stealing cars, guns and eventually to murder,” Zon said, saying his behavior showed irrefutable depravity and that rehabilitation was not possible. “He was about to allow another person to take the fall for this.”

The conviction and subsequent sentencing hearing today stems from the double murder on May 22, 2017, after the discovery of what appeared to be a wrecked Toyota Tacoma on Clegg Farm Road with the bodies of White and Harris in the front seat. It was subsequently discovered that the cause of death was not the apparent accident, but that both men had died as a result of gunshots to the back of their heads. Durden was arrested the following day and convicted on Nov. 13, 2019.

In a zoom sentencing hearing in a Walton County courtroom on May 28, 2020 that was streamed live on Facebook due to COVID-19 restrictions, arguments were presented by Zon and Thomas. Victim impact statements were given by family members of the victims, including a letter by the 12-year-old son of one of the victims. Letters reflecting pleas for mercy by Durden’s family members were read into the record by his attorney. Durden gave a brief statement himself, apologizing to the families of the victims, his own family and the courts.

Osburn asked for sentencing requests by both the state and the defense to be forwarded to him over the next couple of days prior to him pronouncing sentence.

Zon, after her appointment by Gov. Brian Kemp, will be replacing Osburn on the bench as the first female superior court judge in the Alcovy Judicial Circuit, which covers both Walton and Newton counties.

The full sentencing hearing is embedded below.

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