Several people pleaded not guilty to criminal charges in Columbia County on Friday.
Marina Mae Middlebrooks, 29, of North Boulevard in Augusta, pleaded not guilty to murder and cruelty to children at an arraignment hearing in Evans. Middlebrooks is charged in the death of her 2-year-old daughter, Sky Allen.
Authorities say on May 2, Middlebrooks drifted off of Ray Owens Road in front of North Columbia Elementary School in Appling. Her Honda CRV hit a tree. While initially tending to Middlebrooks, emergency medical personnel noticed a hand extended onto the driver’s seat. Sky was facedown on the floorboard covered with blood and also covered by items including a purse and backpack, Columbia County Coroner Vernon Collins said.
She was pronounced dead at the scene, Collins said.
An autopsy at the Georgia Bureau of Investigation Crime Lab in Atlanta confirmed that Sky died from a stab wound to the throat, Collins said. She also had a minor cut to the side of her throat.
Middlebrooks was indicted July 11 and attorney Richard E. Allen has filed a notice of his intention to raise the issue of insanity, according to records filed with the Columbia County Clerk of Superior Court’s office. She’s being held in the Columbia County Detention Center without bond.
• Denise Marie Chinnery, 45, of Mahala Lane in Harlem, also pleaded not guilty. She was indicted July 11 on cruelty to a person 65 or over and concealing the death of another in connection to the death of her mother, 79-year-old Catherine Simmons.
Chinnery was arrested April 28 after her sister called authorities to check on Simmons. Upon arrival, the sister told deputies that Chinnery was inside with their mother’s deceased body and refused to let her in. The sister and others said they could smell a strong odor coming from the mobile home.
Authorities had to force Chinnery out of the home, which was later condemned, and Simmons’ decomposing body was found sitting in a metal-frame chair.
Chinnery is being held in the jail on a $15,200 bond, according to jail records.
• One of six men charged with murder in the 2001 death of an inmate at the Augusta State Medical Prison – Frederick Orlando Dewberry, 19 – pleaded not guilty to murder and aggravated assault charges at the hearing. Dewberry and five others – Richard James, Patrick Simpson Norman, Michael Lorenzo Ward, Frankie Jay Henry and Jean Baptiste Fortie – were indicted in March for murder in the Aug. 28, 2011, stabbing death of Antonio Wiley.
Dewberry, James, Dedrick Octavious Crews, Chas Clifford Cannon and Miracle Nwakanama also were charged with aggravated assault.
• Evans attorney Ronald Jin Man Pak, 48, also pleaded not guilty to criminal attempt to commit armed robbery. Pak, of Aerie Circle, was arrested June 3 after leaving the Wells Fargo Bank at 489 Furys Ferry Road in Martinez.