By Joe Johnson
An Athens man accused of murdering a woman during a domestic violence incident two years ago recently argued in an appeal to the Georgia Supreme Court that he cannot be tried for the murder due to constitutional double jeopardy protections.
Nicholas Bernard Head, 26, was on probation for previous drug and gun convictions when authorities said he violated probation by fatally shooting 28-year-old Quintavia Wade at the Columbia Brookside housing complex in October 2017.
In separate 2016 cases, Head was convicted on two counts of possession with intent to distribute cocaine, possession with intent to distribute marijuana, possession with intent to distribute a controlled substance, theft by receiving stolen property, possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony and obstruction of law enforcement.
Because Head was granted first offender status in both cases, after he was indicted for Wade's murder, Georgia law allowed for him to be punished for violating probation by being re-sentenced to the maximum sentence for each of the charges with the new sentences to be served consecutively, according to Western Judicial Circuit District Attorney Ken Mauldin.
The indictment charged Head with malice and felony murder, first-degree home invasion, kidnapping with bodily injury, false imprisonment and possession of a firearm by a first-offender probationer.
The indictment also charged Head with aggravated assault for a Sept. 2017 domestic violence incident which authorities said precipitated Wade's fatal shooting. In that incident Head allegedly used a crowbar to assault Wade’s 27-year-old cousin and held a knife to the woman’s throat.
On Oct. 16, 2017 police responded to the Columbia Brookside housing complex off Hawthorne Avenue, where Head reportedly entered Wade’s home from which he forcibly removed her at gunpoint.
When officers arrived, they found Head holding Wade at gunpoint in the street. Head fatally shot the woman and then shot himself in the face but survived, police said.
Wade was the mother of two young children who was employed at the Caterpillar plant in Bogart.
Superior Court Judge H. Patrick Haggard in August 2018 re-sentencing Head to consecutive sentences for all the 2016 charges by ordering him to serve 116 years in prison.
However, Head filed a motion in April that argued he could not be tried for Wade’s murder because the same facts from that case were used to find him guilty of violating probation.
Haggard denied the motion last month, according to court records.
Records indicate that on Dec. 2 Heard appealed the judge’s ruling to the state Supreme Court.
The high court had yet to docket the appeal as of Monday.
Head is currently incarcerated at the Coffee Correctional Facility.