Former sheriff charged with murder

Nov. 30, 2001 at 2:36 PM
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DECATUR,, Ga., Nov. 30 (UPI) -- A former Georgia sheriff was charged Friday with murdering his successor, who was gunned down in front of his Atlanta-area home three days before he was to have taken the oath of office.

Former DeKalb County Sheriff Sidney Dorsey and two other men, including former deputy Melvin Walker and a man he tried to hire as a deputy, were charged with Sheriff-elect Derwin Brown's Dec. 15, 2000, murder, DeKalb County Police Chief E.J. Moody said.

Dorsey and Walker briefly appeared in court at a preliminary hearing on Friday afternoon. The third man, David Ramsey, was scheduled to make a court appearance later in the day.

Brown was shot several times outside his suburban Atlanta home after winning an election in which he had promised to end corruption in the sheriff's department. Days earlier, he had told 38 employees of the department that they would be fired once he took office.

The investigation into Brown's murder appeared stalled until a former jail deputy, Patrick Cuffy, agreed this week to provide information in exchange for reduced charges involving an unrelated murder of a drug dealer in March, an official said.

WXIA-TV, citing a source close to the investigation, said the three men also planned to kill DeKalb District Attorney Tom Morgan. The prosecutor said he had been wearing a bulletproof vest until Dorsey and the other two men were arrested Friday morning.

Morgan has been investigating possible corruption at the jail and allegations that Dorsey had deputies work for his private security firm during hours they were on duty and were being paid by the sheriff's department.

He was also investigating whether county jail inmates were used to fix up private homes in a part of the city of Atlanta represented by Dorsey's wife, Atlanta City Councilwoman Sherry Dorsey.

DeKalb Public Safety Director Thomas Brown, who is not related to the murder victim, said Brown was "assassinated" last year after he returned home following a party to celebrate his graduation from a sheriff's orientation course.

Brown had risen to the rank of captain after 22 years in the DeKalb County Police Department. He defeated outgoing Sheriff Sidney Dorsey in a Democratic primary runoff in August 2000.

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