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Guilty Verdict in Montgomery Co
Thursday, 10 December 2009

December 10--  A Toombs County man has been found guilty in the death of a Vidalia woman over two years ago.

ImageA Montgomery County jury took just over two hours Thursday before convicting Earnest Shaw, Jr. in the beating death of Elizabeth Ann Richardson in September, 2007.  He was also found guilty of concealing the death.

Assistant District Attorney Lauren Finley told the jury Shaw hit the woman twice in the head with a hammer and left her naked body in a wooded area off the J.L. Coleman Road.  

Superior Court Judge Frederick Mullis sentenced Shaw to life in prison for the murder and a ten-year sentence to run concurrently on the concealment conviction.   Shaw has been taken to the Irwin County jail in Ocilla to await transfer to a state prison.  He has 30 days to file a motion for a new trial.

Defense Attorney Tina Maddox tried to convince the jury that the GBI had overlooked other suspects in its investigation of the death.  However, the prosecutor noted Shaw had a ten-year history of violence against women which culminated with the death of Richardson.

Betty Dell Williams of the Refuge Domestic Violence Shelter was at the nearly four-day trial.  "This was a typical case of domestic violence.  As the prosecutor said today, Earnest had a history of this kind of behavior with women in his life.  In this case, he lost the control and this was what took place when he did lose that control," she says.

This is the third murder conviction in a domestic violence case in this area in the last few months.  Williams urges women in such situations to get help. She said a Refuge business card was found in Richardson's possessions, but that she never called.

"Whenever you have decided to get out, that is the most dangerous time because they (the males in their life) are losing that power and control.  Take steps for safety and give us a call on how to leave safely because it's dangerous," she points out.

The Refuge number to call for help is 538-9936.

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