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Appeal dismissed in farmhouse massacre case
Decision clears way for final suspect's trial
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Forsyth County News

The Georgia Supreme Court has dismissed the appeal of the final suspect awaiting trial on charges from the 2006 farmhouse massacre in Forsyth County.

Marcin Sosniak has pleaded not guilty to the 20 charges he faces in connection with the shooting deaths of four people, including three teenagers, at the home on Ronald Reagan Boulevard.

Sosniak’s attorneys filed the appeal in response to Forsyth County Superior Court Judge David L. Dickinson's October 2011 decision to deny a request to dismiss the case based on an alleged violation of right to a speedy trial.

The state Supreme Court’s opinion, issued today, not only dismisses Sosniak’s appeal, but overturns two previous cases which “wrongly decided that the denial of a pre-trial constitutional speedy trial claim may be directly appealed.”

According to Forsyth County District Attorney Penny Penn, Sosniak’s case will return to Superior Court, and a judge could set the trial date shortly.

Penn said she anticipates trial taking place in 2013. Including jury selection, it is expected to last nearly a month, she said.

Sosniak’s co-defendants in the case have each pleaded guilty to the charges against them.

Frank Ortegon, 30, was sentenced in September to 20 years in prison and 20 years on probation for one count each of aggravated assault, aggravated battery and burglary of a residence.

In December, McGhee pleaded guilty to four counts of malice murder, three counts of aggravated battery and one count each of aggravated assault and burglary.

He received a life sentence in prison, plus 100 years, without the possibility of parole.

The Supreme Court’s unanimous majority opinion, written by Justice Harold Melton, also states that, though the court will no longer allow direct appeals of these matters, “under our prior precedent, Sosniak’s speedy trial claim was properly denied by the trial court in any event.”

The high court agreed with the trial judge that the delays in the case were not “prejudicial” against Sosniak, and noted that he requested continuances of the trial three times.

“Only after the trial court denied yet another continuance in October 2011 did Sosniak assert, for the very first time, that the state had violated his constitutional right to a speedy trial,” Justice David Nahmias wrote in his concurring opinion.