By Kathy Jefcoats
McDONOUGH — A convicted felon on parole is headed back to court on a burglary charge following a preliminary hearing Friday morning in Henry County Magistrate Court.
Donald Eugene Poteet, 52, of Covington was arrested with his aunt in September after Henry County police Officer Geoffrey Gravius said he caught them red-handed stealing aluminum pie tins from a vacant dilapidated house.
Gravius testified Friday morning to events leading to the arrest of Poteet and Kathy Jean Hanie, 55, of Stockbridge. Gravius said he was on patrol on Jonesboro Road in McDonough when he saw a red pick-up truck enter the driveway of a house he knew to be vacant for more than a year. He said he parked at the base of the driveway and walked up toward the house while calling for back-up.
He said Hanie walked out of the back porch area with pie tins in her hands so he asked what she was doing.
"She told me, 'Just doing a little scrapping,'" he said.
Gravius said Poteet also exited the house through the back porch and told him the same thing. Both reportedly told Gravius that they didn't know the owner or have permission to be on the property.
Gravius contacted the owners, who confirmed that no one had permission to be "scrapping" on the property.
"The owners want to prosecute," testified Gravius.
Poteet's court-appointed attorney, Amanda Flora, asked Chief Magistrate Robert Godwin to consider reducing the charge to criminal trespass but Godwin declined.
"I don't see that," he said. "She admitted they were there to scrap. I got the feeling they didn't realize they were breaking the law."
Godwin bound over the case to a grand jury, which has the authority to reduce the charge or reject it altogether.
Georgia Department of Corrections records show Poteet was released from prison in June 2011 after serving a short term for a burglary conviction. DOC records show Poteet has been in and out of state prison five times since 1986.
In other court action:
• Two males who present themselves in public as females were in court Friday on drug charges. Towayne Reynolds, 45, and Jakara Simpkins, 36, both of Hearn Drive in Stockbridge appeared to be female in court but were brought in with male inmates. Reynolds is charged with allegedly arranging the sale of crack cocaine to an undercover agent. Reynolds' prior criminal history reportedly includes arrests for prostitutes, false statements and identity fraud.
Simpkins was charged with possession of oxycodone when officers allegedly found a white pill in his purse. According to Georgia Department of Corrections records, Simpkins is on parole after being released from prison in August 2010. He served more than three years for computer theft. Prison records also show previous convictions for financial identity fraud and forgery.
Simpkins, who got a $7,500 bond, is a manager at Applebee's in Lithonia.
• A Hampton woman who reportedly works as a model for Atlanta Talent was arrested for simple battery under the Family Violence Act. Adia Keyna Simmons, 27, was charged with allegedly beating her now former live-in boyfriend, Timothy Spradley. Police said she hit him with her fists, grabbed his shirt and tore a hole in it as he tried to get away.
Godwin set a $750 bond and reset her preliminary hearing to Nov. 8.
• A McDonough man is charged with theft by receiving stolen property and has bonded out of the Henry County Jail. Locust Grove police said Jared Wayne East, 27, took possession of a Ford F-350 pick-up truck worth about $20,000. Police said the truck had been stolen in Henry County. East reportedly told police he got the truck from a stranger at a bar.
• A Fayetteville woman was charged with aggravated assault and battery after police said she attacked another woman with a pair of scissors. Deborah Leverne Patterson, 47, of Garden Court was arrested early Friday morning. Police said Patterson and Toni Eberhart were at a residence on Homestead Road when the alleged incident occurred.
Police said Patterson lunged at Eberhart, who is also from Fayetteville, with a pair of scissors and bit her on the right hand. The warrant alleges that both were fighting and both were hurt. Godwin set a $10,000 bond.
All defendants should be considered innocent until proven guilty.