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Bloods Gang Member Indicted in Toombs County Superior Court

A member of the infamous Bloods street gang has been indicted by the Toombs County Grand Jury on charges of Violation of the Street Gang Terrorism and Prevention Act, two counts of aggravated assault, and two counts of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.

According the indictment, which was returned during the Grand Jury Session on Friday, April 26, Deante Ericka Canty, also known as Deonte Eurnecka Canty, shot at Charles James, 32, of Vidalia, and Talia Williams, 17, of Vidalia, between January 8-9, 2022. The exact date of the incident is unknown. The Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI) investigated the incident, discovering Canty’s gang affiliation and his possession of both a handgun and unknown firearm.

In January 2022, the GBI reported that shortly after midnight on January 9, Lyons police officers responded to a bank alarm call, and while checking the bank heard shots being fired. Officers called dispatch at 12:11 a.m. stating they heard shots fired and dispatch also received a 911 call about shots fired near CKT trailer park at 254 East Clifton Avenue in Lyons.

After officers responded to the area where gunfire was heard, they saw someone, later identified as James, driving through a ditch and through the yards of homes. James exited the vehicle and ran away, and after a short chase, was arrested on Jones Street.

Williams, who was also in the car with James, drove away and another Lyons police officer chased her. During the chase, Williams drove by the officer who had James in custody. The officer heard gunfire and fired shots toward the car. The chase continued and the Georgia State Patrol joined the pursuit.

The vehicle being driven by Williams stopped at East Grady and 11th Street because of a flat tire, and Williams got out of the car and ran. She was shot and wounded by the GSP trooper.

After the investigation by the GBI, it appears that the initial gunshots heard were fired by Canty, who now faces charges for the offense.

In addition to the indictment of Canty, the Grand Jury also indicted Arzell Lee Mercer on charges of aggravated battery, aggravated assault, two counts of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, and theft by receiving stolen property. According to the Vidalia Police Department, Mercer broke Dylan Powell’s femur and shot Powell on January 14, 2024, with a handgun and a rifle that was previously stolen from Gary Bean.

Joshua Donovan Jones was also indicted for aggravated assault and possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony, as the Lyons Police Department reported that Jones shot Ishmell Moultrie on January 20, 2024.

In addition to these men, 11 other indictments were returned as true bills. These indictments include: • Raul Philip Castillo – possession of a firearm by a convicted felon • Isacc Lee Tolbert – possession of methamphetamine • Khalil Raq Wagner – fleeing or attempting to elude a police officer • Justin Jermaine Woods – possession of methamphetamine, financial transaction card theft • Natalie Williams Parker – two indictments for obstruction of an officer • Travis Kelly Parrish – theft by taking • Katelyn Elizabeth Riner – theft by shoplifting, possession of methamphetamine • Vazquez Pedro Mar tinez, aggravated assault • Tyler Austin Long – financial Ttransaction card fraud (3 counts) • Dariunte Keyvon Massey – possession of marijuana with intent to distribute; fleeing or attempting to elude Law Enforcement Officers; possession of a firearm by a convicted felon These indicted individuals will now enter the court process of submitting an official plea, which will then determine whether they move forward with trial or sentencing.

Facility Inspections

In addition to reviewing cases, the Toombs County Grand Jury also toured several county offices and facilities to inspect their efficiency.

During their inspection of the Toombs County Detention Center, jurors were able to see the improvements made since the last time that the Grand Jury toured the facility, including the addition of a new pod (which increased the jail’s capacity by adding 100 beds), improved technology in a newly-renovated booking area, and the addition of a direct corridor from the jail to the courthouse. The jurors also spoke with Captain Amanda Brown and other Detention Center officers to learn more about the facility.

The Grand Jury had some recommendations for the Detention Center, such as the replacement of older locks which are not only hard to unlock, but also hard to find parts for when damaged. The jurors also suggested that the old, unused buildings behind the Detention Center be demolished and a new multiuse building to be constructed in that space; this multiuse building would serve as both storage and training space for the Detention Center officers. The group discussed the need for more parking spaces, encouraged administrators to review each officer’s compensation annually to ensure that they were being paid appropriately, and stated that the Center needed to complete more training and clearly define duties of the job for those who would be working with inmates with mental health issues.

As for their inspection of the Toombs County Commission and newlybuilt Government Center, the jurors described the facility’s conditions and design as being “impeccable,” and shared that they felt the facility was tax money well spent.

However, the jurors did discuss the need for more Road Department and EMS staff members, which the Commission shared was not an issue because of budgetary confinement, but because of employee retention struggles that all employers are currently facing. The Commission stated that it is currently reevaluating initiatives to improve this situation.

Two jurors visited the Toombs County Probate Court and were pleased with the efficiency of the Court, but recommended that a means be created for the Probate Court employees to be able to see all areas of the vault when the public is reviewing files. The pair stated that though the files are open for public review, a safety issue is created when the reviewers cannot always be seen.

An additional two jurors visited the Toombs County Clerk of Court office, which they deemed is in good standing. The jurors were impressed by the eight women working in the office, and recommended only that the office continue improvements in cross-training staff to help one another, improving computers and servers, and ensuring that there is a spacious document recording space.

These recommendations will now be reviewed by the staff of the facilities, who will work to continue to improve their offices to function in the best possible manner.

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