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Georgia Supreme Court upholds murder conviction
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The Georgia Supreme Court upheld the 2013 murder conviction of a Rockdale County man earlier this week.

A Walton County jury found Chad Ashley Allen guilty of murdering Robert Andrew “Drew” Nichols in June 2013. He was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

In the Supreme Court’s summary of events that led to the murder, five or six masked men broke into Allen’s home in November 2009, shouting “Narcotics!” During the invasion, Allen was held at gunpoint, the house was ransacked and two items stolen.

Allen named several people he believed involved in the home invasion, and in the weeks following, began accusing several of his friends of being involved, later threatening to kill those involved. Wrongly believing Nichols had taken part in the home invasion, Allen admitted to Sam Dawkins of killing Nichols.

In early December, Nichols’ partially concealed body was found in a wooded area in Walton County.

Allen appealed the conviction, claiming the court improperly commented on evidence through one of its jury charges, improperly removed a juror, and violated Allen’s constitutional right to be present at critical stages of the trial. After being denied a new trial, Allen filed an appeal with the Supreme Court.

In July, Alcovy Circuit Court District Attorney Layla Zon argued the State’s case in front of the Supreme Court. Justice Harold D. Melton wrote the opinion of the court upholding the conviction, which was handed down Sept.14. All justices concurred with the decision.

“The jury’s verdict stands and the defendant will spend the rest of his life in prison with no possibility of parole,” Zon said. “This is closure for the family.

“Were it not for the hard work of the Sheriff's office and District Attorney Investigator Ryan Ralston, it would not have been solved,” she said.

Zon said that it was “very important when trying a case to try it right and try it once. We don’t want any error of law in the trial. This decision from the highest court in our State affirms our position and the trial court’s ruling that there was no error.”

Allen was indicted earlier this year on racketeering and gang-related charges while in prison. The March 6 41-count indictment alleges that Allen, his mother, Patti Green, and others, thought to be members of the Ghost Face Gangsters, conspired to murder Chadwick Little. Little had testified against Allen in the Nichol’s murder trial.