Metro Atlanta crime: A week of major developments in major cases

Four people were charged Tuesday in connection with the March double murder outside the Vortex Bar and Grill in Little Five Points. (Credit: Channel 2 Action News)
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Four people were charged Tuesday in connection with the March double murder outside the Vortex Bar and Grill in Little Five Points. (Credit: Channel 2 Action News)

Last week saw major developments in several notable metro Atlanta crime cases, including arrests in a double homicide in Little Five Points, a no bill for an Atlanta police officer and guilty pleas in a pair of high-profile murders.

Four suspects were charged in connection with the double-murder outside the Vortex Bar and Grill in Little Five Points.

Atlanta police announced Tuesday that they had charged Charlie Baldwin, 17; Jacques Allen, 17; Thomas Dozier, 25; and an unnamed 14-year-old with the murders. Joseph Hruska, 33, and Chaitanyalila Kelsey, 32, were shot and killed in the Vortex parking lot on March 14.

The case was cracked thanks, in part, to a man who found a stolen wallet.

• A grand jury declined to indict an Atlanta police officer in the 2011 shooting death of a man fleeing a traffic stop.

The Fulton County grand jury met Friday and opted not to indict Officer Thomas Atzert, who shot and killed Maurice Hampton on June 30, 2011. Hampton, 37, reportedly ran a stop sign on Campbellton Road that night and, when Atzert attempted to pull him over, ran away.

Atzert and Hampton struggled, authorities said, and Hampton grabbed Atzert's baton. The officer then fired his weapon and killed Hampton.

• A 19-year-old man pleaded guilty to killing a Lithonia High School graduate at a MARTA bus stop.

Christopher Merritt pleaded guilty Tuesday to the November murder of Marcaysia Dawkins, an 19-year-old who was planning to join the Navy. Merritt tried to rob Dawkins while she sat at a Fairington Road MARTA bus stop on Nov. 23.

Merritt also pleaded guilty to robbing and sexually assaulting three other women. He was sentenced to life in prison without parole.

“I wish I could change all the things,” he told the court Tuesday.

The father of a starved and burned Gwinnett girl pleaded guilty to her 2013 murder.

Eman Moss pleaded guilty Monday to felony murder charges connected to the death of his 10-year-old daughter, Emani. As part of the deal, Eman Moss will avoid the death penalty in exchange for testimony against his wife, Tiffany, who is also charged in the case.

“It has always been our contention that the driving force was (Tiffany Moss),” Gwinnett County District Attorney Danny Porter said.

Emani Moss' death triggered a series of firings and reforms at the Georgia Division of Family and Children Services.

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