Charges against two of eight people accused of being involved with a $2.5 million jewelry store heist this fall have been dismissed.
A hearing on a request filed for four of those facing charges had been scheduled Thursday morning before Forsyth County Superior Court Judge David L. Dickinson.
Instead, Forsyth County Assistant District Attorney James Dunn revealed the state had dropped charges against Michael T. Holloway, 35, of Austell and his mother, Connie Holloway, 52, of Smyrna.
“The cases were dismissed because the state decided not to proceed against the two defendants at this time,” Dunn told Dickinson.
Dunn did not want to go into detail about the reasons for dismissal.
“Some other things went into play, judge, that transpired,” he said. “That’s why the state decided to dismiss.”
Rafe Banks, who represents Michael Holloway, had filed a petition of habeas corpus on behalf of his client, as well as Connie Holloway, Amanda Hogan and Carl Henry Bowser III.
The hearing was cancelled after Banks and Connie Holloway’s attorney, Bert Barker, withdrew because their clients’ cases had been dismissed. John Rife, the attorney representing Bowser, also withdrew his argument and Hogan’s attorney was not present.
According to Banks’ petition, a committal hearing for the Holloways, Hogan and Bowser began about 7:30 p.m. on Oct. 25 in Forsyth County Magistrate Court. It was originally scheduled to begin at 1:30 p.m.
“At a point prior to the beginning of petitioners’ committal hearing, the sheriff’s office closed the building and no longer permitted access by the public to the building,” according to the petition.
It goes on to say that before the hearing began, a deputy announced that if anyone in the courtroom left the building “they would not be allowed to re-enter the building because the building was closed.”
The petition goes on to say that the denial of public access was a violation of the defendants’ Constitutional rights.
For security reasons, courthouse doors are usually locked at the close of business each day, said Forsyth County Sheriff Ted Paxton.
“We have received Mr. Banks’ complaint and we are currently reviewing to make sure that we are in compliance with all the requirements for a court hearing to be public,” Paxton said.
He added that security procedures may be changed for such situations.
“We are going to go back and make sure our security policies do not conflict with a public trial,” he said.
Authorities have also charged Kenardis Demaine Holloway, Christopher Lamar Funderburk, Demetrice Orlando Jenkins and David L. Price for various offenses connected to the Sept. 25 burglary of Milano Fine Jewelry on Buford Highway.
They were arrested at various metro Atlanta locations over the days and weeks following the theft.
Kenardis Holloway is also a son of Connie Holloway.
The theft was reported the morning of Sept. 26 by a construction crew arriving for work at an empty building next door to Milano.
They found a hole in the wall that authorities say was used to enter the jewelry store.
After the hole, someone had then disabled the security system, ransacked the store, breached the safe and taken security equipment.