The Georgia Court of Appeals has rejected a Covington man’s claim he was ineffectively represented in a Newton County court before he was sentenced to life in prison on rape and child molestation charges in April 2019.
A three-judge panel rejected Thomas Anthony Sky’s argument that his trial attorney provided ineffective assistance of counsel before Sky’s conviction in Newton County Superior Court on April 17, 2019.
His arguments included his attorney did not properly prepare for the case, did not call a key witness, did not question incorrect assertions by the State during the trial, and other claims, according to court records.
The judges in their March 31 ruling found that his attorney’s "preparation, decisions and performance were reasonable," the DA’s office stated in a Facebook posting.
District Attorney Randy McGinley tried the case on appeal with Victim Advocate Shay Payne, Investigator Beau Alexander and Legal Assistant Anita Carroll.
The Newton County Sheriff's Office led the investigation with assistance from the Department of Family and Child Services, the GBI Crime Lab, A Child's Voice Child Advocacy Center, and Children's Healthcare of Atlanta.
Sky, 45, is currently serving his sentence in Autry State Prison in Pelham.
Neal Ainsworth represented Sky during the trial before a Newton County jury convicted him on charges of Aggravated Child Molestation, Statutory Rape and three counts of Child Molestation on April 17, 2019.
According to court records, Sky was the boyfriend of the victim’s mother and lived with her and her four children.
He committed the crimes against one of the female children over a period of years in Michigan, South Carolina and Georgia until the abuse was reported when the victim was 12 years old, according to court records.
The victim’s mother called police after finding a video on Sky’s cell phone of him committing the crimes with the victim, court records stated.
He was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole based on the nature of the charges and his criminal history.
Sky had felony convictions in Michigan for Retail Fraud, Assault with a Dangerous Weapon, Possession of a Firearm by a Felon, Home Invasion, Escape, Breaking and Entering, and Aggravated Stalking, according to the Newton County DA’s office.