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Dealer who sold in LaGrange denied ‘another chance’

Man pleads to selling drugs, asks mercy before sentencing

By Melanie Ruberti

mruberti@civitasmedia.com

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LaGRANGE — A drug dealer — already once convicted — was hoping for a third chance at probation in Troup County Superior Court on Monday.

Jamahl Jarquoes Cole, 27, was charged with two counts of selling meth and two counts of violating the street gang terrorism and prevention act.

Cole pleaded guilty to the two counts of selling meth and guilty “in his best interest” to the two counts of criminal street gang activity.

According to Troup County Assistant District Attorney Brett Adams, a confidential informant for the LaGrange Police Department made two undercover buys from Cole wearing a wire and body camera.

Adams told presiding Superior Court Judge Travis Sakrison LPD investigators also found Cole’s Facebook page and discovered pictures of him throwing gang signs and writing in gang symbols.

The latest revelations and arrest of Cole also violated his probation, which stemmed from two charges of selling cocaine back in 2006 and 2009, stated Adams.

Cole did not deny selling the drugs and asked Judge Sakrison for mercy and another chance to straighten out his life.

“At the time I was selling meth, I was also using it and I was also stealing from my family members,” he told the court. “I was scared … and I was strung out. I didn’t see another way out.”

“What do you want,” Sakrison asked Cole.

“A second chance, sir,” he replied.

Cole’s defense lawyer, Jamie Theil Roberts, said her client has young children to support and no longer associates with the gang lifestyle.

“He fears for his life,” Roberts told the court. “He has received threats on his life because he has left the gang.”

She asked Judge Sakrison to allow Cole to go to a residential treatment program and complete 10 years’ probation.

But Adams objected.

“Your honor, he’s (Cole) already had a second shot — in 2006 and 2009 — after being charged with those sales of cocaine,” he stated.

Sakrison agreed and sentenced Cole a total of 20 years to serve five behind bars.

Another man pleaded guilty Monday to aggravated battery, felony obstruction of an officer, fleeing and eluding police and driving on a suspended license for reportedly hitting a LaGrange police officer in the face and breaking his nose.

Brandon Bridges, 19, of Ridgefield Circle, allegedly punched officer John Slonaker outside a home in the 500 block of Hines Street.

LaGrange police said Bridges was a suspect in a shoplifting incident that happened earlier in the evening. Police were investigating the shoplifting when they located the suspects’ car at the Hines Street residence, stated Lt. Dale Strickland.

Slonaker went to the back of the home and Bridges allegedly slung open the back door and punched Slonaker in the face, then took off running, Strickland said.

He was later captured.

According to the Troup County District Attorney’s Office, Slonaker suggested part of Bridges punishment include entering and completing boot camp.

Prosecutors also asked Judge Sakrison for 10 years’ probation, plus order Bridges to pay restitution for the cost of Slonaker’s injuries.

Bridges defense attorney also asked for first offender status for her client.

Judge Sakrison agreed and wished Bridges good luck in the future.

Melanie Ruberti is a reporter with LaGrange Daily News. She can be reached at 706-884-7311, ext. 2156.