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Prosecution to rest in Covin trial

Photo by Laura Williams

Photo by Laura Williams

ALBANY, Ga. -- A 17-year-old Albany man faces about 55 years in prison if he is convicted by Dougherty Superior Court Chief Judge Willie Lockette.

"It was the defense attorney's request to have a bench trial instead of a jury," said Matthew Breedon, assistant district attorney for the Dougherty Judicial Circuit.

Davonta Covin is on trial for armed robbery, aggravated assault, street gang terrorism and possession of a firearm during a felony stemming from a September 2009 robbery.

Breedon said he planned to rest his case today. When the prosecution rests, defense attorney James Finkelstein will present his case.

Wednesday after 3 p.m., Breedon focused on presenting a case to prove that Covin is a member of the Black Gangster Disciples. The inference was that Covin was performing the robbery as a gang member, hence the gang related charges.

Finkelstein cross examined Breedon's witnesses and called evidence as presented by Breedon into question.

While Breedon presented Internet MySpace pictures depicting Covin posing by making gang hand signs, Finkelstein said the pictures did not prove gang membership.

In one of many objections to the admissibility of the pictures, Finkelstein said that pictures from a 16-year-old girl's MySpace page did not prove Covin was a member of a gang.

"The pictures are irrelevant and prejudicial. There is no connection with my client or this case," Finkelstein said. "There is no evidence my client was a member of the gang. None."

Under questioning as an expert on gangs, District Attorney's Office Investigator Jason Armstrong said that his investigation, interviews and the picture all showed Covin as a gang member.

Judge Lockette overruled Finkelstein's objections and said, "If the evidence does not connect him to a gang, I'll disregard the evidence and my ruling will reflect that."

On further cross examination, Finkelstein called Armstrong's investigation incomplete. He said no attempt was made by investigators to recreate the line of sight witnesses had of the robbery in the dark or follow up on interviews that conflicted with interviews given to another investigator.

Finkelstein had pictures of a re-creation he staged. The night-time re-creation with the victim's Ford Explorer parked the way it was the night of the alleged crime made it impossible to see Covin robbing victim Kenya Hosley.

Previously a witness, who could not be named because she has said Covin raped her on April 6, testified she could see through the Ford Explorer's windows.

Albany Police Department reports stated that the rape occurred April 6 while Covin was out on bail after his first armed robbery trial ended in a mistrial.

The mistrial was granted because the police had not handed over all the testimony taken during their investigation for Finkelstein's review, Greg Edwards, district attorney has said.

No date for the rape charges has been set.

While witnesses and Hosley previously testified to Covin's involvement in the robbery and the other felonies, they have since changed their stories, Breedon said.

Covin's mother, sister, brother and a friend were in court to support him. They declined to make comments.

Finkelstein declined to comment on the record until after the trial.