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March 19, 2014

Grady man sentenced to 80 years in prison

CAIRO — A 66-year-old Grady County man was sentenced to 80 years in prison in a child pornography case initiated by the Department of Homeland Security.

The defendant, Vincenzo Alestra was charged with — and convicted in Grady County Superior Court of — 14 counts of felony sexual exploitation of children (possessing child pornography), one count of felony child molestation, one count of felony aggravated sexual battery, one count of felony aggravated sodomy and one count of felony aggravated child molestation.

In the March term of Grady County Superior Court, Judge Kevin Chason sentenced Alestra to 80 years in prison on the convictions.

The case was prosecuted by South Georgia Judicial Circuit District Attorney Joseph K. Mulholland and Assistant District Attorney David Atwell.

The case was initiated by the Department of Homeland Security when it was shown Alestra shared child pornography on the Internet.

With the assistance of Georgia Bureau of Investigation agent Lindsay Marchant and the GBI Computer Forensic Division, a search warrant was issued at the defendant’s residence.

A seizure of his computer showed dozens of images that depicted minors as young as six to eight years of age engaged in sexually explicit conduct.

During the investigation into the child pornography, it was learned Alestra might have assaulted a child. GBI agents discovered Alestra had sodomized and sexually molested a minor child repeatedly under the age of 10 for more than two years. 

Also during the investigation of Alestra’s criminal background, the district attorney and GBI discovered he had a previous violent sexual assault.

In 1978, Alestra was convicted of kidnapping, rape and aggravated assault in Volusia County, Fla. In that case, Alestra kidnapped a random victim from a mall parking lot at gunpoint and raped and sodomized her in a remote location. He was sentenced to 30 years in prison and released in 1999.

The Florida victim, 21 at the time of the Volusia rape, testified against Alestra in the Grady County case.

Said Mulholland, “We want the people of Grady County to know that there will be zero tolerance for such horrific crimes against children in the South Georgia Judicial Circuit. Given the defendant’s age, this was essentially a life sentence, which is exactly what he deserved.”

 Also during the March term, Leander Christopher Soloman, 33, Calvary, was convicted of felony incest and child molestation. The defendant was charged with engaging in sexual intercourse with his biological daughter.

Judge Wallace Cato sentenced Soloman to 20 years to serve in the state prison system and 25 years probation.

In another case, Marcus Lee and Quardell Johnson were convicted of felony theft by taking. Both defendants served as volunteer firefighters.

The defendants were charged with taking gasoline from Grady County government for use in their personal vehicles.

Lee and Johnson each were sentenced to five years probation and reimbursement to the county for $3,406 in gasoline.

GBI agents investigated the case after it was discovered county fire department gasoline cards were being used to purchase unleaded gasoline when fire trucks used diesel fuel.

 

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Georgia Department of Education District Effectiveness Specialist Bobby Smith educates Thomas County teachers about Georgia’s new accountability program, the College and Career Ready Performance Index, at a Tuesday meeting.

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Jim Prine, Thomasville Kiwanis Club president, presents a $1,000 check to Kathy Megahee, Thomas County Family Connection director, for the 8th Annual Back-to-School Blitz.

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