CHEROKEE COUNTY, Ga. — A Woodstock man has been sentenced to 20 years in prison after jury finds him guilty of family violence and drug charges.
According to the District Attorney, on Thursday, a Cherokee County jury convicted Justin Cameron Finnegan, 22, of kidnapping, possession of Schedule II controlled substances, violating a Family Violence Order, family violence aggravated assault, false imprisonment, and other charges.
Finnegan was sentenced on September 16, to a total of 30 years, with the first 20 years served in prison. The DA said, the judged said the final 10 years of the sentence may be served on probation.
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The DA said charges stem from multiple domestic violence incidents over the course of five months in 2021.
On the morning of June 17, 2021, the DA said police became aware of domestic violence in a Woodstock home where Finnegan and his girlfriend lived. An Uber driver called 911 after seeing a woman leave a house, and be forced back inside, against her will, by a man.
The driver had been waiting at the house to pick up a rider and could hear the woman screaming, “Let me go!”
The victim later told Cherokee Sheriff’s Office deputies she ordered the Uber but Finnegan would not let her leave the house.
Deputies arrested Finnegan for kidnapping, possession of a Schedule II controlled substance, and other charges. He was also unable to go back to the home.
On October 25, 2021, police responded to another domestic violence incident at the same house.
The DA said during this assault inside the home, Finnegan hit the same victim multiple times on both sides of her face and her nose, and held her against her will. When she finally got out of the house into the yard, he tackled her from behind and dragged her by the hair back to the house. While outside the home, he strangled her two times – once on the ground, once pinned against a car.
Deputies arrested Finnegan again and charged him with family violence aggravated assault, false imprisonment, family violence simple battery, and possession of methamphetamine. He was also charged with violating the Family Violence Order.
“On their first date, when the victim was 18 years old, Justin Finnegan introduced her to Xanax. From there, he took her deep into the world of drugs and addiction,” said Deputy Chief ADA Ashe. “The victim testified that other guys give their girlfriends flowers, but he gave her drugs and abused her. This relationship was both violent and toxic. She was isolated from her friends and family, addicted to drugs, and stuck in a dangerous relationship. She feared that someday he would kill her.”
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The victim testified, in detail, about the violence she endured throughout their relationship, including a strangulation incident that occurred days prior to Finnegan’s arrest on October 25.
“He put me against a wall and put his hand around my neck and I could not breathe,” the victim said during the trial. “It hurt, my head started to feel dizzy, and my biggest concern was I don’t know if he’s going to stop, I don’t know if he has enough self-control to make himself stop.”
At the conclusion of the trial, the jury found Finnegan guilty of eight charges.
“This defendant hid abuse behind closed doors, controlling his girlfriend by pushing her, hitting her, and strangling her. Law enforcement was unaware of what was going on inside that house, until violence escaped the house and a stranger witnessed it,” said District Attorney Shannon Wallace. “If not for that 911 call, this story may have had a different ending. Fortunately, Cherokee Sheriff’s Office conducted a thorough investigation and a Cherokee County jury convicted this defendant, protecting this victim from further abuse.”
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