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Murder trial begins over 2016 stabbing
Tidwell, Tonya Jane.JPG
Tonya Jane Tidwell

The trial for a Forsyth County woman accused of multiple murder charges for the alleged stabbing of a 35-year-old man in early 2016, has begun in the Superior Criminal Court of Forsyth County. 

On Monday, a jury was selected and attorneys for the state and defense began their arguments in State of Georgia vs. Tonya Jane Tidwell.

Tidwell, 34, has been accused of stabbing David Eric Guice with a knife on Dec. 29, 2016, and striking him with an unknown object, rendering his brain and lung “useless” along with two other suspects Ryan Lee Spark, 30, of Hall County, and Jimmy Lee Winkles, 24.

According to previous reports, the victim’s body was found near Odyssey Trail off Hwy. 53 on Jan. 5, 2016.

Authorities previously stated that while investigating the location where the body was found, deputies “recalled a recent traffic stop” that resulted in Tidwell’s arrest for driving on a suspended license, which happened near the crime scene.

Tidwell and Spark were arrested on Jan. 7, while Winkles was found at a home in Banks County the next day. All three were later indicted for the murder on Aug. 14, 2017.

According to Forsyth County District Attorney Penny Penn, since the trio’s indictment for charges of malice murder, felony murder and aggravated battery, Spark and Winkles pleaded guilty to the murder and have agreed to stand as witnesses for the state.

Penn said that both Winkles and Spark will be sentenced once the trial has concluded and that for a guilty plea to murder, there are two options for sentencing: a life sentence with the possibility of parole and a life sentence without parole. 

According to indictment documents, as many as 50 different civilian and law enforcement witnesses could be called during the case and as of Thursday evening, Penn said that they expect the trial to extend into next week.

This trial is being presided over by Forsyth County Superior Court Chief Judge Jeffery S. Bagley and is being prosecuted by Chief Assistant District Attorney Sandra Ann Partridge.

After court proceedings Thursday, Tidwell’s attorney John Rife expressed his confidence in the case, stating “The Jury has their work cut out for them in this case ad they have been presented with four different versions of what happened so far by the state.”

Rife also confirmed that they expect the proceedings to go into next week.