The Tenure of District Attorney Daphne Totten
Ogeechee Judicial Circuit
Bulloch, Effingham, Jenkins, and Screven counties
With 17 years of experience in the OJC District Attorney’s office, Daphne Totten had no opposition when she ran for office in 2020. She was sworn in as the first female district attorney in the circuit on December 28, 2020.
State v. Ashlyn Griffin (2020 – )
Daphne Totten prosecuted Brandon McCray for Aggravated Assault in 2018 following a brutal assault on his pregnant girlfriend, Ashlyn Griffin. A number of other assaults occurred over the course of their relationship, according to witnesses, but when Griffin shot and killed McCray in 2020, authorities charged her with Felony Murder.
- Attorneys: Woman Shot Boyfriend in Self Defense After Multiple Incidents of Domestic Violence
- Judge Says Immunity Hearing Won’t Continue in Murder Case of Domestic Violence Victim
- Defense Attorneys: Case Law Cited By Prosecutors In Self Defense/Murder Case Has Been Overruled
- Murder Or Self-Defense? The Ashlyn Griffin Story
- Trial Day 1: State Clunks Through First Day of the Ashlyn Griffin Murder Trial
- Trial Day 2: Defense Rests in Second Day Of The Ashlyn Griffin Trial
- Trial Day 3: Jury Pauses Deliberations Due to Lack of Progress
- Trial Day 4: Ashlyn Griffin Trial: Jury Returns a Verdict
- COLUMN: The Consequences of Surviving Domestic Abuse
State v. Marcus Wilson (2020- )
In February 2022, senior Superior Court Judge Michael Karpf admonished Totten for her filing of motions on behalf of a the sitting judge in the case.
State v. Jacob Thompson (2020- )
Totten, in conjunction with the GBI, charged former GSP Jacob Thompson with felony murder after he shot and killed motorist Julian Lewis. He was arrested seven days after the incident despite the ongoing investigation.
Over the course of 10 months, Totten and her ADAs:
- argued against bond for Thompson for 108 days,
- were accused of ‘grand jury shopping,’ (an accusation Totten defended poorly)
- subpoenaed financial documents from Thompson and the family of Julian Lewis “to see” how they were paying legal bills, and
- failed to present the case in a timely manner after arresting Thompson with a sense of urgency.
Though more than six months have passed since the grand jury decision, Totten refuses to state whether or not she will present the case to a second grand jury. [Read all Thompson articles…]
State v. DJ & Vincent Saldano (2017-2021)
In 2017, brothers Danny and Vincent Saldano were accused of sexual offenses alleged to have occurred at their tattoo shop in Statesboro. After a multi-day trial in early 2021, a jury could not come to a consensus on Danny, prompting the judge to declare a mistrial.
In the wake of her loss, Totten re-indicted the cases as co-defendants. In doing so, the state was allowed to use evidence against one brother against the other brother as well. Both Saldanos faced three life sentences.
Bond was denied in both cases as they awaited trial and, subsequently, Danny spent 711 days behind bars while Vinny spent 789 days in jail.
- Hung Jury Leads To Mistrial In Statesboro Tattoo Parlor Case
- Defense Team Says DA’s Reindictment Of Brothers Is ‘Vindictive’
- Judge Says No Vindictiveness Evident From Prosecutors In Statesboro Tattoo Shop Case
- Trial Of Saldano Brothers Begins Monday
- Saldano Brothers Acquitted Of All Charges After Two Day Trial
State v. Matthew Chalkley (2018-2021)
In 2018, Matthew Chalkey was a U.S. Marine and father of two when police charged him with a 2017 Rape. The court denied bond three times as Chalkley cycled through two attorneys. A jury acquitted him in June 2021 after he spent three years and three months in jail.
- After 3 Years In Jail, Bulloch County Jury Acquits Man In “Fake Uber” Rape Case
- Attorney Releases Statement On Behalf Of Client Acquitted Of Rape After 38 Months
Opinion piece on Saldanos & Chalkley: 3 Men, 3 Trials, 2667 Days In Jail, And 0 Convictions
State v. Tyler Richards (2019-2022)
Georgia Southern Police arrested Tyler Richards for Rape in 2019 for an incident one year prior. A grand jury indicted Richards in November 2019, but a trial was still 27 months away. A jury of twelve acquitted him of Rape and Aggravated Sexual Battery. [Read more…]
State v. Paul Costley (2020-2022)
State v. Stanley Exley
Stanley Exley spent 80 days in jail and endured a jury trial for hunting without permission on someone else’s land. A trial charged forward despite an outright confession by another party in open court. [Read more…]
State v. Lloyd Fortier
A custody exchange escalated when one man charged a homeowner with a baseball bat. As the verbal threats continued, the homeowner went into the house, retrieved a firearm, and, upon the next charge’ by the man with a bat, he fired. Authorities charged both men with felony Aggravated Assault.
- Aggravated Assault Or Stand Your Ground?
- DA Dead Dockets Agg Assault Case Where Man Used Gun To Defend Against Baseball Bat-Wielding Attacker
State v. Grant Spencer (2021)
Grant Spencer received a 20-year sentence for Voluntary Manslaughter for the 2014 death of Michael Gatto outside of a bar in Statesboro.
In 2021, his attorney asked the court to ‘resentence’ Spencer under the Youthful Offender Act, a program for male individuals between 17 and 25 years of age and were convicted of a felony offense. The program has no impact on release dates, but allows access to additional programs within the Georgia Department of Corrections.
Daphne Totten argued against the resentence even though Spencer had already completed every other GDC program.
- Attorney For Spencer Files Motion For Retroactive Changes To Sentence
- DA’s Office Opposes Resentencing Of Grant Spencer In Gatto Case
- Judge Denies Spencer’s Request for Youthful Offender Sentence
Grant Spencer appears in Bulloch County Superior Court before Chief Superior Court Judge Gates Peed. Spencer is represented by Statesboro attorney Matt Hube….
State v. McClain et. al (2021)
Despite a confession on body camera and in court, the state alleged that four other individuals jointly possessed two pounds of marijuana, a stolen firearm, and drug paraphernalia. The compelling evidence: they were in the same apartment as the illegal items when police conducted a search. [Read more…]
State v. Jamontea Pitts (2021)
The state charged Jamontea Pitts with eight felonies alongside Ashton King for the death of 25-year-old Forrest Kibler. In February 2019, Totten offered a plea to Pitts: guilty on Armed Robbery and Possession of Marijuana with Intent to Distribute in exchange for truthful testimony against King. The sentence meant 20 years in prison plus 10 years on probation. A trial of King was scheduled for the near future and the state believed he was the shooter.
But when Daphne Totten tried the case and a jury acquitted King, she pushed on to try Pitts for murder. Totten’s statement in open court regarding a willingness to dismiss the case evaporated. [Read more…]
The next election for District Attorney Daphne Totten is in 2024.
-  disclosures not published for Totten and her campaign finance declarations erroneously show her next election is 2022.
- [Sept. – Dec. 2020] No contributions reported. Year ends with $721.44 in campaign fund.
- [Jun. 2020] Campaign Disclosure
- [Apr. 2020] Campaign Disclosure
Ogeehcee Judicial Circuit District Attorney Daphne Totten repeatedly tells the Court that she doesn’t have to have a reason to reschedule the grand jury pres…