Bullets bombarded Gwendolyn Cole’s home moments after the 55-year-old widow answered the door of her east Macon home.
The trial for 36-year-old Benjamin Finney, one of two men accused in Cole’s Feb. 4, 2008, killing, is scheduled to begin Monday in Bibb County Superior Court.
Marlon Jackson, 35, also is charged with murder in connection with Cole’s fatal shooting at her Bradstone Circle home off Millerfield Road.
Jackson, who will go to trial after Finney, is set to testify during Finney’s trial, prosecutor Sandra Matson said during a Wednesday hearing.
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On Wednesday, Finney’s lawyer, Pamela Bettis, asked a judge to force prosecutors to reveal the identities of confidential informants whose statements were used to obtain a wire tap related to the case. The judge is set to rule on the request later this week.
“Not knowing who the confidential informants are, we don’t even know where we can begin to challenge” their statements, Bettis said.
Among several concerns noted by Bettis was that one “call taker” helping with the wire tap was Arthur Howard, a Bibb County deputy recently arrested as part of a federal police corruption probe. Howard was fired as a result of his arrest. He allegedly was recorded giving information about a drug investigation to undercover FBI agents positing as a pimp and two prostitutes. Howard also allegedly agreed to help offer protection from the law in exchange for cash.
If Howard possibly established the first confidential informant, “would that information not be potentially tainted in some way?” Bettis questioned.
She said she’s trying to subpoena Howard to testify at Finney’s trial.
Authorities have said the wiretap, which included about 4,000 phone calls, yielded a conversation between Jackson and Finney in which they talked about the assault rifles prosecutors contend were used to fire at Cole’s home.
Matson argued against the informants’ identities being revealed, saying the information they provided isn’t “material to the defense on the issue of guilt or punishment.”
Days before Finney’s trial is set to begin, Bettis said she’s trying to find a DVR component from her client’s home surveillance system that was seized by authorities.
Matson said the component, which prosecutors are uncertain whether it has a recording device, and other seized items belonging to Finney were returned to his live-in girlfriend years ago.
Bettis said the surveillance system could provide evidence backing up Finney’s contention that he was at home at the time of the killing.
She’s also trying to locate a woman who allegedly has said another man confessed to her that he was responsible for the killing and provided information about the crime.
Jackson’s lawyer, Larry Fouche, argued Wednesday that some of the statements his client made to police should not be used at his trial because he contends they weren’t made voluntarily.
Authorities have said Cole’s death was a result of retaliation for incidents involving Finney and Cole’s son that occurred in the days before the killing.
Information from Telegraph archives was used in this report. To contact writer Amy Leigh Womack, call 744-4398.