Grand jury returns 82 indictments

Published 6:00 am Monday, January 27, 2003

The first grand jury session of 2003 got off to a busy start asgrand jurors returned 82 indictments last week, according to courtdocuments.

Court officials said the indictments included a variety ofcrimes.

“It seems we had an unusual number of aggravated assaults,” saidAssistant District Attorney Diane Jones.

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Jones said one of the incidents heard by the grand jury involveda minor knife attack. She was unable to discuss specifics of thecases as the names of those indicted are not made public until theaccused is served with court papers.

Indictments also included a few automobile burglaries and anordinary number of drug cases, Jones said. Thirty-two indictmentsdealt with bad checks.

“That’s close to half of the indictments,” Jones said, addingthat a handful of other non-violent crime indictments involvedfailure to support minor children.

Eleven cases last week were continued for furtherinvestigation.

Arraignment proceedings for newly-indicted defendants arescheduled for March 3 before Judge Keith Starrett. Grand jurors arescheduled to return March 17 for another term.

In other court action last week, a Brookhaven man was ordered toserve five years in prison after being convicted of burglary duringa quick trial Friday.

Jurors needed only about 20 minutes to find Sylvester “Velp”Williams, 27, of 632 North Sixth St., guilty of robbery. Williamswas accused of taking $90, an identification card and bank cardfrom another Brookhaven man during a March 29 altercation onIndependence Street.

In his defense, Williams claimed he was not present during theincident. The entire trial lasted only about two hours Friday,Jones said.

“It’s probably the fastest trial I’ve ever done,” Jonessaid.

Following the verdict, Starrett sentenced Williams to 15 yearsand ordered him to serve the first five, consecutive to thesentence he is serving on another charge. The remaining 10 yearswere suspended for five years post release supervision. Williamswas also ordered to pay full restitution and court costs.