ALBANY, Ga. -- While Dontravius Thomas awaits his initial appearance before a judge at the Dougherty County Jail on murder charges stemming from the death of a police officer, a review of court records show that Thomas had twice previously violated terms of his probation and had twice been released without being sent to prison.
Thomas is currently charged with murder and felony murder in connection with the shooting death of Dougherty County Police Lt. Cliff Rouse. Rouse was shot Thursday night and died later that evening at a local hospital.
Thomas was found hours later during a manhunt by at least nine different law enforcement agencies, hiding under a house trailer at a nearby mobile home park.
A review of Thomas' court file with the Dougherty County Clerk of Court shows that, while Thomas has had a relatively brief criminal history, it had become more active in the last 24 months.
In July 2009, Thomas was charged by the Dougherty County Police with burglary and two counts of theft by taking stemming from a June 13, 2009, incident at the Pitt Stop Convenience Store, where he was accused of breaking-in after the store was closed and stealing 15 cartons of cigarettes, 24 single packs of cigarettes and three cases of beer, along with a key to the store.
Indicted by a grand jury and District Attorney Greg Edwards in August 2009, court documents show he entered a negotiated guilty plea to the felony burglary count on Sept. 22, 2009, and was sentenced to serve five years probation, ordered to pay $510 in fines and given first-offender treatment.
In Georgia, first offender status is granted to non-violent offenders who agree if they complete the terms of their probation without incident and comply to all stipulations issued by the court, their criminal records can be expunged once all court-orders are completed.
But about a year later, Thomas was arrested for violating the terms of that probation and given a probation revocation hearing.
According to those court documents, Thomas stipulated he had failed to report to his probation officer as required, failed a June 1, 2010, drug test, was $456 in arrears on his $510 fine and had failed to take his court-ordered personality classes.
As a result, Chief Superior Court Judge Willie Lockette amended Thomas' sentence to give him credit for time served at the Dougherty County Jail from May 28, 2010, until the hearing which was June 7, 2010, returned him to probation and added the stipulation that he be drug tested twice per month for 24 months, that he complete substance abuse counseling and that he complete personal responsibility classes.
Two months later, on Aug. 17, 2010, Probation Officer LeVetta Davis filed a warrant, signed by Lockette, for Thomas for again violating terms of his probation.
That warrant states Thomas again failed to report to his probation officer, had failed to do his community service, had failed to be drug tested and failed to complete substance abuse classes.
According to an attachment to that warrant, Lockette ordered Thomas' arrest, but stipulated that he be released on a $1,000 surety bond over the suggestion of Davis, the probation officer.
According to the attachment, Davis' recommendation was to "oppose a probation bond at this time due to the continuous non compliance for the same violations presented in the warrant."
As to sentencing, Davis also recommended that "the defendant be Adjudicated Guilty and remanded to the complete (sic) the Georgia Department of Corrections Boot Camp Program and restored to probation to complete ALL previous conditions imposed."
Jail officials said Thomas was arrested on that warrant and booked into the jail Aug. 24. According to subpoenas filed in the clerk's office, a hearing on the second probation violation was set for Nov. 4 before Superior Court Judge Stephen Goss.
The results of that hearing have not been posted in the court file and court officers were unavailable for comment over the Christmas holiday break, but DCP Chief Don Cheek said at a press conference Friday that Thomas was out on probation when he is accused of shooting Rouse.