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Athens man found guilty of drug-dispute murder

Darrall Christopher Early

After a four-day trial last week in Clarke County Superior Court, a jury convicted an Athens man of killing another man last year during a drug dispute.

Jurors on Thursday found 22-year-old Darrall Christopher Early guilty of felony murder, voluntary manslaughter, aggravated assault, and possession of a firearm by a convicted first-time offender, according to the verdict sheet.

According to Athens-Clarke County police, Early fatally shot 24-year-old Ramonte Harris, a.k.a Blake Griffin, on Feb. 2, 2019 at Regency Park apartments on Sycamore Drive. Police said that Harris was a known member of the Never Broke Again (NBA) street gang, but they did not believe the shooting was gang-related.

Ramonte Harris

An investigator told Classic City News that Early and Harris were having an argument about drugs, when Early pulled out a gun and shot the other man.

Western Judicial Circuit Judge Lawton Stephens, who presided over the trial, did not immediately pass sentence.

Early has another criminal case pending.

On Oct. 15 a grand jury indicted Early on a felony charge of aggravated battery, for seriously disfiguring another inmate’s ear when he punched the victim at the Clarke County Jail.

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