June 8, 2017

The Accused Cedar Shoals Rapists Can't Seem to Stay Out of Trouble

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The cases of three teenagers accused in the alleged rape of a Cedar Shoals High School student in January 2016 appeared this week on the trial calendar of Superior Court Chief Judge David Sweat, marking a continuing chapter in a scandal that roiled the Clarke County School District.

Xavier Marquise Clarke and Markel Dereek Brannon, both 19, and Jaivious Malik Collins, 18, were charged with rape, criminal attempt to commit a felony, false imprisonment, child molestation and conspiracy in the alleged incident, which took place in a Cedar Shoals High stairwell and was captured by a security camera system. Collins and Brannon were also charged with influencing a witness and tampering with evidence, according to court documents, as the former Cedar students were accused of asking the victim to recant her allegations against them. 

In the year and a half since the alleged incident, the three have be in and out of the Clarke County jail. The court has modified special conditions of their bond, only to see them return to jail after violating those court orders. At present, Brannon and Clarke now sit in jail, while Collins had the conditions of his bond reinforced following a traffic charge of driving 108 miles per hour in a 55 mph zone on Apr. 21.


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From left, Collins, Brannon and Clarke.

Brannon returned to jail on May 24 following his involvement in a traffic accident. While he was not at fault for the accident, his license had been suspended earlier for failure to appear for a court date.

Clarke, meanwhile, was served an arrest warrant on June 1 for revocation of bond and charged with contempt of Superior Court. It was the second time an arrest warrant for revocation of bond was issued against Clarke, as court documents show another was issued Nov. 29.

In Collins' recent arrest for reckless driving and speeding, an ACC officer clocked him traveling at 108 mph on U.S. Highway 29 at 4 a.m. Collins told the officer “his brother just had a baby and he was leaving the hospital” and he was “very tired and just wanted to get home,” according to the report.

Under the initial terms of his bond, he was to remain under house arrest with the exception to leave for medical treatment, court, pre-release check-in and visits with legal counsel and had to wear a GPS ankle monitor. In January he was granted a consent order to comply with a 7 p.m.–7 a.m. curfew so he could work. A revocation of bond was issued for Collins on Apr. 24—his second as it turns out; his bond was revoked on Sept. 29 as well—but instead of returning to him to jail, the court added special conditions, including the requirement of wearing the ankle monitor once again. 

The three were initially jailed three weeks after the alleged rape took place and were not suspended from the school between the time of the incident and their arrests.

At the time, Brannon was dealing with another court case—he was charged in November 2015 with simple battery and disorderly conduct, accused of striking another student and placing him “in reasonable fear of the safety of his life, limb and health,” according to the accusation.

Brannon had an arraignment scheduled five days after the alleged rape and a jury trial set for May 2016. But in April 2016, while in jail on the rape charge, Brannon plead guilty to the simple battery and disorderly conduct charges and received a sentence of 60 days in confinement. He was released from jail in June 2016 on a $16,700 property bond, but arrested two months later after an warrant was served on an affidavit for revocation of bond.

The trial calendar date has been set for the three in each of the last three months, so there’s no way to know if this will indeed be the month the three will have their day in court.

In preparation for trial, Clarke’s lawyer issued a subpoena for the victim’s school records from the Clarke County School District, which a lawyer representing the victim and her mother sought to quash. The judge ruled the records should be turned over to the court under seal to determine their probative value, and later ruled some of the records are admissible for use on the defendant’s behalf, though at present the records remain sealed.