Fulton County DA begging for help before dozens of suspected murderers possibly released

FULTON COUNTY, Ga. — Fulton County’s District Attorney warned the County Commission that dozens of suspected murderers could be released on bond in a matter of days if nothing is done, as the county deals with a case backlog and manpower shortage.

“The cases were not handled, and I can’t cover them up and I’m not going to,” Willis told Channel 2 Investigative reporter Justin Gray.

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District Attorney Fani Willis says the county has a backlog of unindicted cases totaling more than 11,000.

The emotion was high in Willis’ voice as the county’s top prosecutor made her case to the Commission for more staff and more help, immediately.

“It’s just math, I need help. I’m here begging you for help,” Willis said with her voice cracking.

She says this isn’t about emotion, but cold hard facts.

“What brings us here today is a crisis, a crisis based on COVID, a crisis based on historical mismanagement and a crisis based on the undeniable rise in crime,” Willis said.

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Fulton County currently has 224 murder defendants, who remain unindicted. 51 of those alleged murderers can be released on bond back out onto the streets, if they aren’t indicted by September 28.

The county commission unanimously approved the hiring of 55 new staff members for the District Attorney’s office, including 15 attorneys and 15 investigators.

A right to a speedy trial means the DA typically has just 90 days to indict someone or let them out on bond.  That rule was suspended for the pandemic, but that expires this month, and there are hundreds of cases that may not be resolved in time.

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“I’ll be able to get to every homicide by that time, because we’ve been working around the clock to make sure that gets done. We’ll get to sexual predators, but no, because this was not done back in May these things have consequences and no we’re not going to get to every crime and I’m not going to tell the public we are,” Willis said.

Willis expects to hire 55 new permanent employees in November and December.