DEKALB COUNTY, Ga. — A man who spent six months in the DeKalb County Jail for a crime he did not commit will not have to go to trial.
Channel 2′s Mark Winne spent Friday morning putting together a story about two law students whose work they believe proved their boss’ client was innocent of the armed robbery he was accused of.
Early Friday afternoon, the story changed when the DeKalb County District Attorney’s Office sent an email that read “we believed the prudent and appropriate course of action was to dismiss the armed robbery charges against Mr. Manning.”
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Arthur Manning’s defense attorney Manny Arora says he spoke by phone with a prosecutor with the D.A.’s office who informed him that the charges against Manning would be dropped next week.
“I’m happy about the charges being dismissed against [me after] the time I had spent in jail for something I didn’t do,” Manning said by phone.
Arora says he believes that the work two law students did with phone records over the last three weeks played a pivotal role in getting the charges dropped. They were set to go to trial later this month.
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Law clerks, and third year law students at Georgia State University, Alex Patafio and Robert Wilson say Manning was accused of committing an armed robbery in Dunwoody in December 2018. They say they used cellphone records to prove to the prosecution that Manning was not in Dunwoody at the time the crime was committed.
“Our client, in this instance, from the beginning has maintained the same story, and that story has been that in the beginning of the night, starting at 8 p.m. and until maybe 9:30 or so, he was at an Exxon gas station just here on Cascade Road right off of 285. During that same time period, from his cellphone location records, his cellphone was pinging off of this tower, which is, you know, half a mile from the Exxon gas station, so it puts him exactly where he says he was,” Wilson explained.
After leaving the gas station, Manning told his legal team that he met his girlfriend at a Motel 6 in Union City.
Cellphone records corroborated that story as well. His cellphone pinged on a tower less than 300 feet away from 11:15 p.m. to 2 a.m.
“I was so happy for the client. This was the outcome that we wanted, and it just feels so great to achieve it,” Wilson said.
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Arora says police got Manning’s name because he allowed a friend who had just gotten out of prison and didn’t have an ID to use his ID for a machine that lets you buy used cellphones. Manning says he did not know the phones had been stolen in a robbery.
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