A Houston County judge entered a not guilty plea Wednesday for the accused killer of Perry teenager Sam Poss after a disagreement with the suspect’s defense attorney.
Attorney Angie Coggins subpoenaed the lead Perry police detective, seeking her case file against teen Dakota White. Superior Court Judge Katherine K. Lumsden quashed the subpoena, however, saying the defense could obtain information during the regular discovery process.
Assistant District Attorney Greg Winters said his office had shared everything it had with the defense, and the Perry police case was not yet complete, with some GBI and crime lab reports still pending.
“We are four months in, and we have yet to be provided information that we need to effectively assist and represent Dakota as he is guaranteed by the Sixth Amendment of the United States Constitution and corresponding paragraphs of the Georgia Constitution,” Coggins told Lumsden.
The judge responded, “Ms. Coggins, this case is no different than any other criminal case that is governed by the rules of evidence and that same argument ... would be true in every case, and I don’t think that’s what the law intends.”
Coggins, Houston’s chief assistant public defender, then said she would be unable to enter a plea for White.
“I will not allow my client to enter any sort of plea today because we do not have sufficient evidence to advise Mr. White,” Coggins told the judge.
Lumsden overruled Coggins and entered a not guilty plea.
Poss was lured to his death when White allegedly asked Poss to fix a problem he was having with his computer, picking Poss up at his home about 12:30 a.m. Oct. 15.
“They went and picked him up in (White’s) car, and he never left that car alive,” District Attorney George Hartwig said during the previous hearing for White. “He was brutally murdered.”
White told Perry police that Poss had declined a ride home after fixing his computer, saying he wanted to walk the short distance to his home, according to Perry police incident report.
Poss’ close friend Zachary Chafin was suspicious because Poss had left without his computer or bike, the report said.
White and Warren are charged in the indictment with “strangling (Poss) and placing a plastic bag over his head, causing asphyxia.”
The two allegedly had formulated a suicide pact at some time in the past.
“It is my understanding from what I know of the investigation that before they could get up the nerve and actually kill themselves, they wanted to see what it was like to kill somebody,” Hartwig said at a previous hearing.
White and Warren allegedly had discussed killing a 12-year-old, but Warren “had some problems with killing someone that young,” and Poss was then chosen as the victim, Hartwig has said.
The two allegedly tried to hide the body in a wooded area off Lake Joy Road and tried to conceal knives used in the assault, according to the indictment.
An autopsy found that Poss died from asphyxia from suffocation from being strangled, according to Perry police Capt. Heath Dykes. Contributing factors were stab wounds to the upper torso.
His body was found in a wooded area off Branch View Trail, across from were it connects with Addison Lane.
Authorities also discovered disturbing posts on Facebook pages that authorities said belonged to White and Warren.