A Henry County mother sentenced to life in prison for brutally beating her stepdaughter to death is appealing her conviction to the Georgia Supreme Court.
Charlott Lynette Reaves was found guilty of felony murder, aggravated battery and cruelty to children for the 2003 death of 11-year-old Joella Reaves.
Prosecutors said Charlott Reaves and her husband Rodney Reaves hog-tied the girl in their garage, starved her and then beat her with an umbrella and a baseball bat until she died of her injuries on Thanksgiving Day.
Monday, Charlott Reaves’ attorney Franklin Hogue told state Supreme Court justices hearing the case that police didn’t allow his client to consult with an attorney when she was arrested.
As a result, she made incriminating statements, Hogue said.
“When Henry County police first talked to Reaves … they did so for 14 minutes without reading her her rights,” he told the justices.
Hogue said that his client made several mentions of speaking to a lawyer during that time, saying things like “maybe I need my lawyer,” or, “we’re going to have to come back with a lawyer.”
While Hogue admitted her requests may have been somewhat vague, he said they weren’t so indiscernible that police shouldn’t have let her contact an attorney.
“This woman is clearly in need of the protection afforded her under Miranda of counsel,” he said.
But James Wright, a prosecutor with the Henry County District Attorney’s office, argued that Reaves knew that she had the right to withhold any information from police before talking to a lawyer.
“She indicated she fully understood her rights when asked on several occasions,” Wright said Monday in state Supreme Court. “At no time did she unambiguously and clearly ask for an attorney.”
Both Charlott and Rodney Reaves were sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of parole. The state justices could take several months to decide on the appeal.