COVINGTON, Ga. — A judge today denied bond for a former teacher accused of sex crimes against minors after she said he should remain jailed because he posed a risk of intimidating potential witnesses and tampering with evidence.
Winfred Akins, 47, of Covington, is facing charges of Computer or Electric Pornography and Child Molestation following his arrest Aug. 28.
Superior Court Judge Layla Zon said that evidence a prosecutor presented in a bond hearing today, Sept. 17, showed he already had contact with a potential witness — his wife — and had convinced her to help him remove information which may have been used as evidence.
“The defendant, if he were to be convicted of these charges, is facing a substantial amount of prison time,” Zon said. “He clearly has an incentive to continue down the path that he has already established.”
Akins worked as a teacher at Liberty Middle School in Newton County for two years before he resigned Sept. 3 after being charged with the crimes.
Assistant District Attorney Alex Stone told Zon that Akins had worked in two counties as a teacher and had "years of direct involvement" with young students.
She said the investigation began when a woman called a Newton County sheriff’s deputy to her house and said her 14-year-old son had received messages by phone from Akins.
The suspect had asked the boy to commit a sex act so the suspect could watch him by video and tell him if he was doing it correctly, Stone said.
The complainant told investigators the incident occurred between Dec. 15 and Dec. 20, 2019, a sheriff's office report stated.
Stone said sheriff’s office investigators then secured a search warrant for Akins’ home Aug. 28 and seized electronic devices, including computers and cell phones.
They also seized a list of "multiple" names of potential victims, and a pencil case containing names and images on what appeared to be replicas of temporary driver’s licenses, Stone said.
However, she told Zon she did not know if any of the images were of students.
At Liberty Middle School, Akins had served as a step team coach and as a student mentor, Stone said.
She said the suspect, who is married with two children, also had mentored a church youth group but was told to leave the job after he allegedly made advances toward a group member during a trip to Orlando, Florida.
Investigators were working to “dump” information from the devices they seized at Akins’ home. They also were working to set up interviews with possible victims, Stone said
But Akins had called his wife and told her to contact cell phone companies to tell them some phones had been lost and their data should be “wiped,” Stone said.
Two phones investigators seized already had been wiped clean, she said.
Stone said the district attorney’s office was recommending that Zon deny bond for Akins because he had tried to influence a potential witness — his wife — and should not be allowed to return home because he has minor children there.
Attorney Audrey Holliday, who represented Akins, told Zon she was asking a “reasonable bond” for Akins. He had never been charged with a crime and is not alleged to have committed any crimes with his own children, she said.
He also had resigned his teaching job, which meant he would not have contact with minor children, Holliday said.
Terms of the bond could include wearing an electronic ankle monitor, she said.
Stone, though, said Akins had been previously charged with Driving on a Suspended License, Simple Battery and Deposit Account Fraud.
Zon said she denied bond because of his alleged actions to convince his wife to remove files from a phone. His wife was a potential witness and their children potential victims.
"While the investigation is ongoing, I cannot afford to allow anyone to tamper with or destroy evidence that might be pertinent to uncovering the facts in this investigation," Zon said