District Attorney's Office


  

Conasauga Judicial Circuit of Georgia




   Serving Murray & Whitfield Counties

WEATHERBY PLEADS GUILTY TO AGGRAVATED SEXUAL BATTERY, INCEST

August 4, 2017 (Dalton) – Billy Joe Weatherby (52), formerly of 12539 Highway 41, Tunnel Hill, pled guilty to charges of Aggravated Sexual Battery and Incest, for incidents occurring over a period of several years with a minor female relative. Judge Jim Wilbanks sentenced Weatherby pursuant to the State’s recommendation to a sentence of 30 years, the first 15 to serve without the possibility of parole for Aggravated Sexual Battery, and 15 years to serve concurrently for Incest. Weatherby will be 67 years old once released from prison and will serve the remaining 15 years of his sentence on probation. As conditions of probation, he is not to have any contact with the victim or her immediate family. He is also prohibited from having any unsupervised contact with minors. Additionally, he will have to wear an ankle monitor, and he is banished from both Whitfield and Murray Counties. He will have to register as a sex offender for life. Weatherby was represented by Sheri Smith of the Public Defender’s Office. The case was prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Keely Parker.

In October of 2016, the child victim reported that Weatherby, a blood relative, had been sexually abusing her. The Whitfield County Sheriff’s Office was notified, and Detective Ronnie Morris began an investigation. The child was interviewed at The Children’s Advocacy Center in Ft. Oglethorpe by a trained child forensic interviewer. During the interview, the child disclosed Weatherby began touching her inappropriately in 2007, when she was four years old. The child detailed how Weatherby would look for opportunities to be alone with her and would threaten to kill her and her family if she told anyone. Weatherby had been convicted of Child Molestation in 1998 in Floyd County, and was pardoned by the Georgia Department of Pardons and Paroles in 2010. He used that pardon to convince the child victim that he could continue to get away with molesting her. Weatherby’s behavior escalated, and the victim reported that he had sex with her when she was eleven years old. The assaults continued, and it was not until the victim was removed from Weatherby’s presence in 2016 that she felt comfortable enough to tell someone. As part of the investigation, a sexual assault exam was done. The findings corroborated the child’s disclosures.

Crimes of sexual assault against children are challenging cases to prosecute. When formulating plea recommendations, the District Attorney’s Office must weigh the toll a trial will take on the child. A conviction, even with physical evidence corroborating the child’s outcry, is never guaranteed. There are also often evidentiary issues, as there are rarely any witnesses to the crime, other than the victim. The District Attorney’s Office thanks Detective Ronnie Morris, along with The Children’s Advocacy Center and sexual assault nurse examiners, who helped in the successful prosecution of this case.



Bert Poston
District Attorney
Conasauga Judicial Circuit


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Bert Poston,
District Attorney


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