DA files motion to dismiss charges against parents convicted of murdering child

Crime

COLUMBUS, Ga. (WRBL) – Muscogee County District Attorney Mark Jones has filed a motion to dismiss charges against a Columbus mother and father convicted of murdering their child.
Ashley and Albert Debelbot were convicted in Superior Court in 2009 of killing their daughter, McKenzy.

In February of last year, the Georgia Supreme Court overturned the convictions on grounds that the military couple was denied their Sixth Amendment right to effective assistance of counsel during their trial.

Jones inherited the case when he took office in January. Previous District Attorney Julia Slater’s office had indicated they were going to retry the couple in front of Judge Art Smith.

Jones’ tells News 3 his office is asking the court to drop the charges.  

“I am not saying they are innocent, but there is reasonable doubt,” Jones said.

Expert defense witnesses were prepared to testify that the child suffered from a birth defect and was not harmed by the parents.

The child was born in late May 2008 at Martin Army Hospital on Fort Benning. Not long after she was home at their apartment on Buena Vista Road in Columbus, a bump was discovered on her forehead. She taken back to Martin Army Hospital, where she died June 1, 2008.

The couple was convicted on murder charges and sentenced to life in prison. They had served about 12 years each on the sentences when the Supreme Court ruled

“I don’t think that prosecuting this case is the best use of time in District Attorney’s office right now,” Jones said. “They have served a total of 24 years in prison.”

The motion has not been signed.

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