Next court date ahead in cyclist case

Posted by Dan Whisenhunt August 19, 2014
Joseph Alan Lewis, right, speaks with his attorney Overton Thierry, left, during an Aug. 1 preliminary hearing. Photo by Dan whisenhunt

Joseph Alan Lewis, right, speaks with his attorney Overton Thierry, left, during an Aug. 1 preliminary hearing. Photo by Dan Whisenhunt

The prosecution of a man accused of running down a cyclist will resume on Thursday, Aug. 21.

Joseph Alan Lewis, 19, will be back in court. He is accused of using his red Dodge Nitro to intentionally run down cyclist Greg Germani on June 9. A judge ruled on Aug. 1 that there was enough evidence to move forward with the case.

There hasn’t been any court date set for Lewis’ girlfriend, Shanelle Woodard. Woodard is accused of helping Lewis cover up the crime.

Lewis was arrested after extensive media coverage of the case. A Crime Stoppers reward of almost $30,000 was offered for information leading to an arrest of the suspect. Police seized Lewis’ Dodge Nitro on June 23. It was parked at the apartment complex in Midtown where he lived.

During the Aug. 1 hearing, both the prosecutor and the defense gave some identifying information about the tipster in this case, but did not name the person. Crime Stoppers is a program that solicits anonymous tips for information that leads to arrests. According to testimony during the trial, the tipster identified themselves to Atlanta Police Officers.

Decaturish asked Sgt. Karla Baldini, Crime Stoppers Greater Atlanta Coordinator, about whether the program can guarantee anonymity of a tipster once a case goes to court. Baldini, honoring the confidentiality of the program, would not confirm or deny that the person who submitted the Crime Stoppers tip was the same person who identified themselves to police. But she said there’s nothing Crime Stoppers can do about someone who willingly divulges this information to police.

“(Crime Stoppers) records are not subject to open records in court,” Baldini said. “But if you call the tip line, then run outside and start talking to the investigators and giving them your name, that has nothing to do with the program.”

Meanwhile, Germani’s condition continues to improve. Donors have contributed more than $40,000 to help him cover his medical bills. Germani, who lives in Decatur, works at Turner Broadcasting. He is also the creator of the Atlanta Time Machine website.

His girlfriend, Beth Anne Harrill, has been using social media to provide continuing updates on his progress. Germani suffered a brain injury in the June 9 incident, and it’s not fully known what the long-term consequences will be.

But the family is delighting over the little things. Last week, Germani began eating solid foods again. He is talking more and more, identifying people by name. He’s also been doing some physical therapy. Harrill said Germani recently pedaled 2.1 miles on an exercise bike.

“I told him how proud we were of what he had accomplished on the bike and how enthusiastic the therapists were about it,” Harrill wrote. “He whispered something that I couldn’t hear and I asked him to repeat it: ‘Yeah, I kicked some ass.'”

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