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Convicted murderer argues for new trial
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David Joe Mann Jr. enters a Newton County courtroom Thursday for a hearing on his recent motion for a new trial. - photo by Jackie Gutknecht

COVNGTON, Ga. - David Joe Mann Jr. has been in prison since 2014 charged with malice murder, two counts of felony murder, aggravated battery – family violence and three counts of cruelty to children in the first degree. On Thursday he was in Alcovy Judicial Circuit Superior Court Judge Horace J. Johnson Jr.’s courtroom with a motion for a new trial on those charges claiming ineffective assistance of counsel.

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David Joe Mann Jr.

Mann, represented by Mark Yun, of the Newton County Public Defender’s office, questioned his former attorney, Bradley D. Moody’s argument strategy and decision to not call expert witnesses during the original trial.

Moody, who has been practicing law since 2008, said his argument in Mann’s case came down to the court’s decision to not suppress a statement from the investigation.

“Had the statement – the last statement that was the subject of the motion to suppress – been kept out, we would have had a multitude of arguments,” he said. “Essentially, somebody else did this; he wasn’t even the person that did it or that it could have been a combination of injuries or a slow-developing injury that led to this.

“That statement really shifted the ability to delve into things.”

Moody said his only remaining option was to argue the death was an accident. He also said he has previously worked as the attorney in similar cases and knew questioning techniques for expert witnesses provided by the state, therefore did not feel the need to provide his own expert witnesses.

Mann was found guilty and issued a life sentence in the 2012 death of his girlfriend’s 7-year-old son, Ethan Isreal Martinez. Martinez was a student at Livingston Elementary School at the time.

Candice Branch, of the district attorney’s office, and Yun agreed to prepare briefings on their arguments for Judge Johnson. Johnson’s decision on the motion for a new trial will come after those are filed.