2 Years Later: Domestic Violence Victim Prosecuted in Bulloch County Remains in Prison Pending Appeal

Two years after she was sentenced on an inconsistent jury verdict, a domestic violence victim in Bulloch County who shot and killed her longtime abuser remains behind bars as her appeal lingers in a higher court.

February 21, 2024 marks two years since Ashlyn Griffin was sentenced in Bulloch County Superior Court on an Aggravated Assault charge stemming from a June 2020 incident in which she shot and killed her boyfriend, Brandon McCray, in self-defense.

The District Attorney’s Office, led by DA Daphne Totten, said Griffin was not acting in self defense because she fired two shots. During the trial, Chief ADA Barclay Black alleged that only the first shot fired by Griffin was justified, but the second was not. He asked her on the stand why she did not simply tell McCray to ‘get away.’ A medical examiner from the GBI Crime Lab testified that they could not determine which wound on McCray’s body occurred first and debunked a number of the state’s allegations. Griffin, who was pregnant at the time of the assault, said she thought McCray was going to kill her.

Griffin testified about the abuse as well as the shooting incident during the trial and a jury found her not guilty on the charge of Felony Murder, which was predicated on an Aggravated Assault charge. But jurors returned a verdict of guilty of the Aggravated Assault and Possession of a Firearm During the Commission of a Felony charges.

ADA Black lobbied for Griffin, now a mother of two, to serve the maximum time behind bars and Judge Peed ultimately sentenced her to 10 years to serve in prison on the Aggravated Assault charge followed by 10 years on probation, plus five additional years for the Possession charge. She was sentenced under the First Offender Act, which the state opposed. 

The same district attorney’s office prosecuted McCray in 2018 for a violent assault on Griffin while she was pregnant. In that case, McCray was sentenced for beating Griffin with a metal trash can and assaulting her to the point of pelvic hemorrhage, among other things. He was given 180 days in a Probation Detention Center.

Motion for a New Trial

Jurors testified in a hearing seeking a new trial in 2023 and said they considered research from outside of the deliberation room. Superior Court Judge Gates Peed allowed limited testimony of the jurors and, after a brief hearing, later denied the Motion for a New Trial.

Several jurors also spoke with TheGeorgiaVirtue after the case concluded and shared that the premise of the Aggravated Assault conviction was because the jury foreman had said Griffin would only get probation, as he had researched the charge during a break in deliberations one evening. Another juror said the jury foreman wanted to teach Griffin a lesson about owning a gun.

Story continues below

Admissions of Juror Misconduct Not Enough for New Trial in Bulloch Domestic Violence Murder Case

Attorneys for Griffin filed a Motion for a New Trial in the Georgia Court of Appeals in August 2023, but the case remains pending. Griffin has been in GDC custody since she was sentenced in 2022.

*If you or someone you know needs assistance in leaving a domestic violence situation, there are resources available which are not intertwined with law enforcement or prosecutors. You may contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 (SAFE) for more information.

Jessica Szilagyi

Jessica Szilagyi is Publisher of TGV News She focuses primarily on state and local politics as well as issues in law enforcement and corrections. She has a background in Political Science with a focus in local government and has a Master of Public Administration from the University of Georgia.

Jessica is a "Like It Or Not" contributor for Fox5 in Atlanta and a commentator on the 'Let Me Tell You Why You're Wrong Podcast.'

Sign up for her weekly newsletter: http://eepurl.com/gzYAZT

1 Comment

  1. This case drives me insane as this could have very well how I ended from my abuser if I hadn’t found a way to detach. I wasn’t his first victim as his first wife and myself testified against him in a case that wasn’t even pertaining to us in Chatham County. Bulloch County did very little in the case where he attacked me in my home after I separated from him. Even so that the editor, who’s now deceased, wrote the editorial in such a way that it would make one think that I’d been cheating on him with the male roommate I had (for my safety). Standing up for ourselves, as domestic violence survivors, is nothing noble/courageous in the eyes of SEGA. In fact, we don’t get taken seriously until a coroner is collecting us in a body bag.

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