2 Guilty of Conspiracy in Killing of Sheriff-Elect
A federal jury found two men guilty Wednesday of conspiracy in the 2000 slaying of a newly elected sheriff who was gunned down on orders from the man he defeated.
Melvin Walker and David Ramsey could get life in prison at sentencing Oct. 26 in the assassination of Derwin Brown, who got elected DeKalb County sheriff on a vow to rid the department of corruption. Prosecutors did not seek the death penalty.
Outgoing Sheriff Sidney Dorsey was convicted of state charges in 2002 for ordering the hit. He is serving a life sentence.
Brown’s widow, Phyllis, suffered a stroke after her husband’s killing, and she has difficulty speaking, but her eyes were moist with tears as she put down a walking cane and hugged prosecutors in the case.
“We have attained justice,” said Renee Brown, the slain sheriff’s sister. “That’s what we were fighting for.”
Brown was shot 16 times in front of his home just days before he was to have taken office.
Prosecutors argued that Walker, the suspected triggerman, was promised a promotion to deputy sheriff if he helped kill Brown. Ramsey, the alleged backup shooter, was promised a job as a detention officer, they said.
The two men were acquitted in a state trial in 2002; they were indicted on federal charges last year.
The defense argued that two conspirators who were granted immunity by prosecutors were the real killers and that they accused Walker and Ramsey to save themselves.