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Man charged in 2017 murder back in court Thursday
Jame Hill
James Gary Hill

COVINGTON, Ga. – The man charged with killing a Newton County mother and leaving her body under a bridge in 2017 was back in Newton County this week.

James Gary Hill is accused of killing 27-year-old Kelly Marshall and leaving her body under the Mount Tabor Road bridge next to the Yellow River Aug. 12, 2017. He has been jailed since his arrest the following day on traffic charges after running from deputies in Walton County and is currently housed at Smith State Prison where he was sent after his probation for a previous conviction was revoked.

At issue in Judge Horace Johnson’s courtroom Thursday afternoon was a motion by Hill’s attorney, Anthony Carter, of the Alcovy Judicial Circuit’s Public Defender Office, to exclude statements made by Marshall to family, friends and healthcare workers alleging domestic violence and injuries to her caused by Hill.

Carter argued that the statements would be hearsay and could be prejudicial against his client. Newton County Chief Assistant District Attorney Candice Branche argued that the statements should be admitted.

Johnson did not make any rulings and asked Carter to submit specific statements he is seeking to exclude.

In December 2017 Newton County Coroner Tommy Davis said an autopsy determined that Marshall’s manner of death was homicide caused by asphyxia.

Investigators with the Newton County Sheriff’s Office later determined that there was enough probable cause to charge Hill with the murder.