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Dawkins denied bond in murder case
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Bond was denied for 45-year-old Sam Dumas Dawkins, one of four men being charged in the murder of 38-year-old Robert Andrew "Drew" Nichols, whose body was found by a deer hunter in Social Circle on Dec. 6.

Dawkins is charged with felony murder, kidnapping, aggravated battery, aggravated assault, possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony, possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, concealing the death of another, theft by receiving stolen property, trafficking in methamphetamine, possession of methamphetamine with intent to distribute and possession of a controlled substance with intent to distribute. He was originally before a judge Jan. 14 to address the issue of bond but requested a continuance since he had hired private counsel that morning.

Newton County Assistant District Attorney Warren Summers told Senior Superior Court Judge Marvin Sorrells that the state's position was that bond should be denied due to the severity of the crimes Dawkins is accused of as well as his potential to flee since he has family in California.

According to Summers, evidence in the case shows that Nichols was held against his will in a shed at Dawkins home, which is also where investigators believe he lost his life. Blood inside the shed has been sent to the crime lab at the Georgia Bureau of Investigation for a DNA test but has yet to come back, according to Newton County Sheriffs Office Lt. Tyrone Oliver.

The state also pointed out that they believed Dawkins helped dig a hole in which Nichols' body was placed. Summers also informed Sorrells that Dawkins had prior convictions in California from the late 90s for battery and theft by receiving, among others.

Dawkins' attorney, Don Samuel argued that the defense had not been privy to discovery and, therefore, did not have any evidence whatsoever that Dawkins was involved in any of the crimes he was charged with.

"Not a sliver of evidence has been submitted that Mr. Dawkins has anything to do with these charges," said Samuel, adding that Dawkins had pleaded not guilty to the charges against him.

He said there were witnesses available to testify at that time to Dawkins good character, integrity and non-violent behaviors - one from California. Additionally he told Sorrells that Dawkins had lived in Newton County for roughly five years and held steady employment at a local manufacturing plant.

"All of these things, the totality of the charges themselves, weigh heavily on this court," said Sorrells. "These are very serious charges and no evidence has to be submitted to me in a bond hearing."

Sorrells also expressed concerns that if granted bond, Dawkins could potentially leave the state.
"If I turn around and he decides he doesn't want to deal with these charges, he could be on his way to California."

Sorrells urged the defense to investigate the evidence in the case and if they still felt the charges were lacking in evidence to re-file a motion for bond. He added that it was not the "general character of this circuit" to file unfounded charges. Dawkins was denied bond.

There has also been a fifth man arrested and charged in connection with the Nichols case. Jordan Lee Slone, 24, was arrested Jan. 27 and charged with probation violation (original charge was burglary, theft by taking) and concealing the death of another person.