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Marc Wilson case reassigned to Judge Ronnie Thompson
Judge Ronald K. “Ronnie” Thompson
Judge Ronald K. “Ronnie” Thompson

The murder case pending against William Marcus “Marc” Wilson for the June 2020 shooting death of teenager Haley Hutcheson was reassigned Monday to the newest Superior Court judge of the Ogeechee Judicial Circuit, Judge Ronald K. “Ronnie” Thompson, following the recusal Friday of Judge Michael T. Muldrew.

Muldrew, who had presided at hearings in the Wilson case since summer 2020, was ordered recused from it by Senior Judge Michael L. Karpf in response to a motion filed in September by Wilson’s defense attorneys. Karpf sent the case back to Ogeechee Circuit Chief Judge F. Gates Peed for reassignment through the circuit’s standard procedure.

Bulloch County Superior Court Deputy Clerk Teresa H. Robbins filed the notice Monday assigning the case to Thompson “using the circuit’s existing random, impartial case assignment.”

Gov. Brian Kemp appointed Thompson last month as the newly added fourth Superior Court judge for the Ogeechee Circuit, which includes Bulloch, Effingham, Jenkins and Screven counties. Thompson had served the previous 17 years as the Effingham County State Court judge.

In his recusal decision, Karpf stated that, taken together, several actions and statements in the Wilson case while under Muldrew’s jurisdiction created the “appearance of bias.” These mainly occurred during Wilson’s Sept. 22–23 immunity hearing, before and after Muldrew had Wilson’s lead defense attorney, Francys Johnson, removed from the courtroom Sept. 23 for alleged contempt of court.

But also observing that some of the events were beyond Muldrew’s control, Karpf explicitly did not ascribe to him “actual bias or prejudice” against Wilson or his attorneys.

Wilson, now 23, from Sharpsburg but with Statesboro connections, faces one charge of felony murder and five aggravated assault charges and a charge of possessing a firearm while committing a felony.

Witnesses at earlier hearings testified that Wilson, while driving his car on Veterans Memorial Parkway in Statesboro around 1 a.m. Sunday, June 14, 2020, fired a handgun and that a bullet struck Hutcheson, 17, in the back of the head as she rode in a pickup truck with four other teenagers from Claxton.

But the defense attorneys have asserted that Wilson, who is biracial, was defending himself and a white then-girlfriend from a racist attack by occupants of the truck.

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