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District Attorney won’t prosecute former DeKalb County CEO after conviction reversed

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District Attorney won’t prosecute former DeKalb County CEO after conviction reversed

DeKalb County CEO Burrell Ellis has returned to work this week after his conviction on public corruption charges was overturned. Photo provided to Decaturish
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DeKalb County CEO Burrell Ellis has returned to work this week after his conviction on public corruption charges was overturned. Photo provided to Decaturish

Burrell Ellis, DeKalb County’s former CEO, will not be tried again on public corruption charges, the county’s new district attorney has determined.

The Georgia Supreme Court reversed Ellis’ conviction last year, finding that evidence that could’ve supported Ellis’ claims that he didn’t routinely shakedown vendors was improperly excluded from trial.

Ellis was convicted of extortion and perjury in July 2015 and sentenced to five years. He was released from prison in March of 2016.

If the District Attorney tried the case again, it would be the third trial on the same charges. Jurors were unable to reach a verdict in his first trial in 2014. District Attorney Sherry Boston said a third trial would be too costly.

“On Monday, Feb. 6, 2017, the Office of the DeKalb County District Attorney presented an order to the Honorable Courtney Johnson, who twice presided over State vs. W. Burrell, Ellis, Jr., to nolle prosse the matter,” the DA’s Office said in a press release. “Judge Johnson subsequently signed the order, effectively bringing the case to a close.”

Boston became the district attorney in January, succeeding Robert James who originally prosecuted the case. The press release says Boston and her team of attorneys conducted an “extensive review” of the case before making a decision.

“Our decision has not been made lightly,” Boston said in a press release. “After four years, two trials, countless employee and financial resources, in the interest of judicial economy and consideration of taxpayer costs, we believe it is time to close this chapter and move forward.”

Ellis was succeeded by current CEO Michael Thurmond. While he was in prison, Lee May served as interim CEO. Ellis briefly returned to work after his conviction was overturned to finish the end of his term in office.

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