Albany Man Convicted Of Felony Murder, Malice Murder And Cruelty To Children Gets Special Treatment From Lamar County Juvenile Judge

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Bobby Harris of Albany Georgia was convicted in 1989 in the death of a 4 month old baby, yet Lamar County Juvenile Judge Sharon Whitwell issued an order on January 21, 2004 that allowed him to stay overnight in the local jail so that he could visit with a minor child who had been placed in state care in September 2003.

In 1989, Bobby Lee Harris of Albany Georgia was convicted on charges of murder and cruelty to children, and sentenced to life in prison plus 20 years. Harris was found guilty of malice murder, felony murder and cruelty to a child.

Testimony from his trial showed that the 4-month-old baby had died of shaken baby syndrome and had “been bitten at least eight times”, that the baby’s “brain had been torn loose”, and that the baby suffered “retinal hemorrhage” meaning that “the blood vessels behind her eyes were ruptured”.

Testimony from Dr. Teresa Courtney showed that the baby died of “head trauma”. Dr. Courtney further stated her examination of the child “told me that she had a head injury worse than children who have been thrown from a car and landed on their head or thrown through a windshield”.

Albany pediatrician Dr. D. M. Riddle also testified that the child had bruises on her neck, buttocks and thighs, and stated that, based upon his examination, he felt “that the child was severely abused”.

On January 21, 2004 Lamar County Juvenile Judge Sharon Whitwell issued an order (case #085-03J-323) allowing Harris to stay overnight in the Lamar County jail so that a minor child that had been removed from her mother’s care in September 2003 could visit with him on January 21, 2004 in the local jail at Lamar County taxpayer’s expense. Harris currently resides at Dodge State Prison in Chester GA which is approximately 88 miles from Lamar County.

On September 4, 2003, Lamar County caseworker Allison Nash and two City of Barnesville Police Officers removed 5 minor children from their mother’s home in Barnesville (Lamar County) GA.

On October 14, 2003, Juvenile Judge Sharon Whitwell held an illegal hearing to have these minor children placed with a "fit and willing relative" in violation of Ga. Law. The mother of these children had not been subpoenaed to this hearing yet Whitwell conducted the hearing anyway with no consideration for due process of law.

During this hearing, with no explanation given, Whitwell ordered that the mother could not call, visit or write her children. Although the mother committed no crime, and although no arrest was made when the children were removed from her care. The children’s mother has not been allowed any sort of visitation nor been allowed to send her children gifts or letters since October 2003.

Citizens of Georgia must ask themselves, why would a Juvenile Judge, who is entrusted with the safety and well-being of our children, prevent a mother that has committed no crime from seeing her children for over 8 months, yet who allows a convicted killer that abused and killed a 4-month old baby special visitation privileges.


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Maria Vowell