Ex-officer charged in Gwinnett teen’s disappearance, murder declines plea deal

GWINNETT COUNTY, Ga. — Jury selection in the trial for a former metro Atlanta police officer accused of murdering a 16-year-old will continue after the suspect declined a plea deal.

Susana Morales, 16, vanished in July 2022 after visiting a friend’s house. Her body was found dumped in the woods nearly 20 miles away in Feb. 2023. Investigators say former Doraville officer Miles Bryant kidnapped and murdered Morales.

Bryant worked both as a Doraville police officer and courtesy officer at the apartment complex where the teen was last seen.

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Channel 2′s Tom Regan was at the Gwinnett County Justice Center on Monday, where both sides went through potential jurors to pick 12 and several alternates.

Bryant was initially charged with concealing a death. His charges were later upgraded to murder. An indictment also charged Bryant with criminal attempt to commit rape in addition to his existing charges of murder, kidnapping and more.

He turned down the opportunity to take a plea deal.

“You have the decision now to take that risk, and go to trial, have the judge sentence you if you’re convicted,” a prosecutor said.

The other option was to accept responsibility now and ask the court for a lesser sentence with the possibility of parole.

Bryant said he understood his options.


Prosecutors and defense attorneys questioned potential jurors on a wide variety of topics including how they felt about police officers, have they or someone they knew been the victim of a sexual assault and whether they could be impartial in weighing evidence.

The former cop is also accused of falsely reporting that his vehicle had been broken into and his gun stolen.

Jury selection is expected to continue on Tuesday.

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