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Edwards appoints new chief assistant DA

Photo by Avan Clark

Photo by Avan Clark

ALBANY -- Young, experienced and courtroom tested, three assistant district attorneys eagerly took on more responsibilities following announced promotions at a Thursday press conference.

Greg Edwards, district attorney for the Dougherty District Judicial Circuit, announced that Heather Lanier, 30, will assume the duties of chief assistant district attorney.

Matt Breedon, 30, adds to his workload as deputy chief assistant in Superior court cases. He will continue his work in prosecuting gang members.

Kim Westerly, 33, took on the mantle of chief assistant district attorney in the state court division. She will be responsible for all misdemeanor cases.

"I'm excited and I hope to do the position justice," Lanier said. "I've been left some big shoes to fill in that position."

Lanier will fill the position vacated in April by Chris Cohilas when he entered private practice. Cohilas began as an assistant district attorney in 2003 and became chief in 2008.

Besides performing the administrative duties of a chief assistant district attorney, Cohilas also prosecuted felony crimes against children, serious violent felonies and cases involving extended or complex litigation.

Lanier's case experience includes going after gang members as part of the Organized Crime Prosecution Unit that included Breedon and investigator Jason Armstrong. She helped put 50 gang members in jail.

The District Attorney's Office staff of 15 prosecuted more than 3,000 felonies and 19,000 misdemeanors last year, according to Edwards.