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Georgia Sheriff Charged in Murder of Successor

In November 2000, DeKalb County (GA) Sheriff Sidney Dorsey was locked in a close re-election bid with political rival Derwin Brown. Brown defeated Dorsey in that contest, but Sheriff Dorsey, apparently unwilling to accept the will of the voters, allegedly decided to take matters into his own hands. Brown was assassinated on December 15, 2000 just three days before he was to take office and now Dorsey has been charged with his murder.

Dorsey was arrested for first degree murder in Brown's death on November 30, 2001. At a bail hearing in December, county district attorney's office investigator Chris Harvey testified that Dorsey's intent was to create an opening in the sheriff's office at which time he could reclaim his old job in a special election. Brown had defeated Dorsey after accusing him of turning the county jail into a "wasteland of corruption."

Evidence revealed at the bail hearing indicated that two to three weeks after losing the election, Dorsey summoned a deputy to his house and gave him a note that said "Kill Derwin Brown." Dorsey, who was not present when Brown was shot 11 times in his driveway, is also alleged to have targeted at least six others for assassination, including DeKalb District Attorney J. Tom Morgan.

Two of Dorsey's accomplices Deputy Sheriff Patrick Cuffy, and longtime friend Paul Skyers said that Dorsey had ordered the hit and that they, along with two other men, were present when Brown was shot. All four men had ties to Sheriff Dorsey, and were either employed or seeking employment in the Sheriff's Office.

Cuffy and Skyers were granted immunity from prosecution in the Brown killing in exchange for their testimony against Dorsey. In addition, Cuffy was allowed to plead guilty to reduced charges relating to a separate killing outside his home in March 2001.

Additional evidence offered by the district attorney at the bail hearing included the testimony of Clarence Mosely, a former campaign director for Dorsey's re-election bid. Mosely said he went to talk to Dorsey about his future plans after he lost the 2000 election.

"He said words to the effect, when I asked him what he was going to do, that Derwin Brown would not take office as sheriff," Mosely said. "There would be a special election. He would enter, and he would win."

Dekalb County Superior Court Judge Edward D. Wheeler, after hearing all the evidence, denied bond and ordered Dorsey returned to jail his self-created wasteland of corruption.

PLN has previously reported on this case in our October 2001 issue and will report the outcome of this case when it happens.

Source: The New York Times

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