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Funds avert fears of 'constitutional crisis'
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Forsyth County News
The case against one of three men facing the death penalty in a 2006 farmhouse massacre appears ready to move forward now that funding has been assured for his defense.

Mack Crawford, executive director of the Georgia Public Defender Standards Council, told Forsyth County Superior Court Judge Jeffrey S. Bagley on Friday that the money is available.

“We believe we’ve got these issues resolved at the present time and can move forward,” Crawford said.

Bagley said he was relieved that what he has referred to as a “constitutional crisis” has been averted.

Attorneys Jeff Purvis and Bobby D. Wilson have been appointed to represent Frank Ortegon, meaning the public defender standards council/capital defender’s office is responsible for paying them.

But Purvis told Bagley in February that he and Wilson had not been paid since October 2007 for their work on the case.

The state funding situation had grown so dire, lawyers across Georgia had reportedly begun asking to withdraw from cases because of the council’s inability to pay them.

Ortegon, Jason McGhee and Marcin Sosniak have pleaded not guilty to the 20 charges each man faces in connection with the March 19, 2006, shooting deaths of four people, including three teenagers, at a farmhouse on Ronald Reagan Boulevard.

Forsyth County District Attorney Penny Penn is seeking the death penalty against all three men, each of whom must be tried separately.

As a result of Friday's announcement, the attorneys dropped their motions, filed earlier this month, to dismiss the indictment against Ortegon and reduce his bond.

Ortegon remains in custody at the Forsyth County Jail, where he has been for three years, on a $2 million cash bond.

E-mail Julie Arrington at