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Athens teen granted bond two years after arrest for having loaded gun on high school campus

Joseph Elijahwaun Hunter

By Joe Johnson

An Athens teen this week was granted bond more than two years after he was arrested at Cedar Shoals High School while in possession of a loaded gun.

The gun, found Dec. 12, 2018 in the backpack of Joseph Elijahwaun Hunter -- who was then 15 years old -- was said by Athens-Clarke County police to have been stolen and subsequently used in a pair of drive-by shootings that targeted an occupied home on Martin Court.

Hunter was detained at the Gainesville Regional Youth Detention Center from the day he was arrested until Sept. 14 of this year, when he was transferred to the Clarke County Jail.

In March 2019, Juvenile Court Judge Robin Shearer ruled in favor of a motion by the Western Judicial Circuit District Attorney’s Office to transfer Hunter’s case to Superior Court.

A grand jury that same month indicted Hunter, who had since turned 16, on two counts each of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, possession of a firearm in the commission of a felony, entering an automobile with the intent to commit theft, theft by taking, and single counts of theft by receiving stolen property, criminal trespass, possession of a weapon on school grounds and possession of a handgun by a person under the age of 18.

Hunter pleaded not guilty to all charges in his indictment when arraigned in October in Clarke County Superior Court.

One month after the indictment, Hunter’s attorney appealed the transfer of his client’s case to Superior Court, and on Jan. 14 of this year the Georgia Court of Appeals upheld the transfer.

A week later, Hunter’s attorney filed an appeal of that ruling to the Georgia Supreme Court, which in October declined to review the case.

Hunter turned 17 in March.

On Tuesday of this week, Western Judicial Circuit Superior Court Judge Lisa Lott granted Hunter a $2,500 god security bond with several conditions, including requirements that he wear a GPS ankle monitor and remain under house arrest at his mother’s residence unless he has to go to attend medical or court appointments.

The judge also ordered Hunter to continue his education.

“Defendant shall enroll in some form of schooling, either high school virtually or a GED program virtually,” Lott wrote in the bond order.

Upon his release from jail, Hunter and his mother must make an appointment with Advantage Behavioral Health Systems and follow through with that appointment and recommendations, the judge ordered.

Hunter had not posted bond as of Wednesday afternoon, according to the Clarke County Jail’s website.

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