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WEDNESDAY, APRIL 18, 2007
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Judge scraps assault cases in Trinity beating

By Sheryl Marsh
smarsh@decaturdaily.com 340-2437

Two cousins walked away from assault charges involving the beating of a Trinity man after a judge dismissed cases against them in Morgan County District Court.

District Judge Shelly Slate Waters ruled that she found no probable cause to forward first-degree assault cases involving Justin Gay, 26, and George Gay, 28, to a grand jury.

Waters ruled that the state provided insufficient evidence.

A sheriff's investigator brought the assault charges against the men last month, alleging that they were responsible for the Jan. 23 assault of Robert Keith Harris, 48, of Trinity.

Reportedly, Harris was found severely burned next to a fire outside George Gay's residence at 605 Ghost Hill Road in Trinity. It's unknown how he got there, according to reports.

When investigators interviewed Harris, they said, it was apparent that he suffered memory loss from head trauma.

Harris did tell investigators that the Gays attacked, beat and kicked him, according to reports.

An investigator said Harris and the Gays were socializing at the residence that night and apparently built a fire outside. Police said a fight began inside the mobile home and ended outside.

The investigator said neighbors heard Harris crying out and called George Gay's parents, who lived nearby on Holt Road.

Gay's parents called 911.

Harris underwent surgery for head trauma at the University of Alabama at Birmingham Hospital. He had multiple surgeries for severe burns to his legs and abdomen. He received extensive treatment for the injuries.

Although the case did not go to a grand jury, the district attorney could possibly still prosecute the Gays, a court official said.

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