published Wednesday, May 16th, 2012

Dalton man convicted of home invasion charges

A Dalton, Ga., man was convicted Wednesday of a home-invasion robbery last June of a man and his infant daughter.

Lavalis Sentell Ward, 29, was convicted of criminal attempt to commit armed robbery, two counts of aggravated assault, two counts of burglary, possession of a firearm during the commission of a crime, possession of a tool for the commission of a crime, violating the Georgia Controlled Substances Act, and possession by a firearm of a convicted felon in connection to last year’s home invasion robbery.

Superior Judge Cindy Morris set sentencing for Ward for Friday at 9 a.m.

Alexander Blake Austin pleaded guilty prior to trial and testified for the state. Samantha Sanford was out on bond and failed to appear in court. A bench warrant has been issued for her arrest, Poston said.

Assistant District Attorneys Lee Miles and Ben Kenemer, as well as Dalton Police Detective and witness Greg Bates presented over a hundred exhibits and called 30 witnesses that showed Ward had gone to the the victim’s residence on McGhee Street in Dalton last June and intended to commit robbery, Poston said.

The trial lasted eight days, according to District Attorney Bert Poston. The Whitfield County jury deliberated for approximately an hour, he said.

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