FORSYTH COUNTY, Ga. — In 1998, a man questioned by Forsyth County authorities about the murder of 11-year-old Levi Frady had drug and firearms charges against him dismissed at least twice.
It was Feb. 10, 1998 when Jackson “Jackie” Carroll Tallant, then 44, was arrested after a search of his home on Settingdown Road in Cumming. “On his person was $2,045, part of which was confirmed as money used in a previous controlled buy of methamphetamine,” according to records provided by the Forsyth County Sheriff’s office.
Addtionally, four firearms were located in the residence and two bottles containing a clear liquid appearing to be a non-tax paid alcohol. Records show Tallant was transported to the detention center, and all evidence taken was listed on property receipts.
Three days before his arrest, three arrest warrants were approved by two Forsyth County magistrate court judges. Records show that one judge stated there was “sufficient cause made known to me in the affidavit and other sworn testimony (that) establishes probable cause for arrest of the accused …”.
Warrant No. 98-356 was for the sale of methamphetamine, a violation of Georgia’s Controlled Substance Act (O.C.G.A. 16-13-30(b)). Warrant No. 98-357 charged Tallant with “possession of firearms by a convicted felon,” and warrant No. 98-358 charged him with possession of non-tax paid alcohol. Listed on all arrest warrants was Forsyth Detective Timothy C. Murdock.
Property receipts obtained through an open records request show cash totaling $2,045 and firearms were confiscated, including a Remington Model 1100 semi-automatic 12-gauge shotgun (Serial No. P221616U), two Whitetail system 50 caliber muzzleloaders (Serial Nos. W53965 and BP545) with the latter having a tan case, and a Thompson 50 caliber muzzleloader (Serial No. 203024) with a blue case.
A total of 10 items were taken from Tallant’s residence and vehicles. Other items included Ohaus digital scales which were hidden under the seat of a Buick Century, and a second set of “purple” scales were found in a Northern Airlines bag on the dash of a Ford Tempo.
Tallant was released two days later on Feb. 20, 1998 after a $50,000 property bond was posted by his father, Carroll Tallant, according to superior court records. Tallant’s father, Carroll Tallant, was the Forsyth County Sheriff 1964-1968.
During his incarceration at the Forsyth County jail, there was a rumor that Tallant confessed to the Frady murder and had been transferred to the Dawson County Detention Center. Dawson County Sheriff Billy Carlisle said the rumor was untrue.
…rumor that Tallant confessed to the Frady murder … (Dawson County) Sheriff Billy Carlisle said the rumor was untrue.
“He is in the Forsyth County jail on drug charges only,” Carlisle told the Dawson News & Advertiser in a Feb. 19, 1998 report. “Tallant has been interviewed on the Frady case along with 600 other people. He does know some of the members of the Frady family and we are looking into every avenue in this case.”
All charges dropped because of ‘error’
Eight months later on Oct. 20, 1998, all charges against Tallant were dropped when drug evidence was allegedly destroyed.
“Due to an administration era [sic] property was destroyed — drug log sheet 2/16/98 DOFS case 98-04388, showing physical (drug) evidence was destroyed,” according to a Request For Dismissal signed by Forsyth District Attorney Phillip C. Smith. Regarding the firearms charges, “There was not enough probable cause to conclude weapon(s) belonged to Jackson Tallant. Witness statements indicate weapon(s) on the scene belonged to another party.” The third charge was dropped because “there is not a sufficient amount of alcohol to prosecute on a non-tax paid alcohol.”
The law enforcement officer requesting the dismissal was Investigator Denise Shinall whose signature is also on the dismissal document.
And while the ‘chain of custody’ of evidence confiscated from Tallant is clear for the firearms, non-tax alcohol, digital scales, bags and other items, no records were provided showing who had custody of the methamaphatamine purchased for $2,045.
A court order to destroy some of the items was not issued until 14 years later in September 2012, and it took eight more months for those items to be surrendered for destruction on May 31, 2013.
A court order to destroy some of the items was not issued until 14 years later — Yet, the meth was allegedly destroyed in just six days.
Yet, the methamphetamine was allegedly destroyed on Feb. 16, 1998 — six days after Tallant’s arrest.
According to property receipts posted in this story, Detective Murdock relinquished control of the evidence, and V. Taylor received, stored or destroyed it.
Possession of firearms by a convicted felon
At the time of his arrest on Feb. 10, 1998, Tallant was already a convicted felon. Eight years earlier on Aug. 6, 1990, he was convicted in Forsyth County Superior Court for the sale of methamphetamine.
Georgia law O.C.G.A 16-11-131 (b) states, “Any person … who has been convicted of a felony by a court of this state or any other state … and who receives, possesses, or transports any firearm commits a felony and upon conviction thereof, shall be imprisoned for not less than one year nor more than five years … .
Was Tallant receiving preferential treatment because he was acting as a confidential drug informant for the Forsyth County Drug Task Force or maybe because his father at one time served as sheriff? Perhaps both?
Second Request for Dismissal of meth charges
On Nov. 27, 2001, Tallant was again arrested on charges of trafficking methamphetamine, according to an incident report, case number 01-11-00884 filled by Forsyth Detective Brueggeman.
Brueggeman reported that, “on 11-27-01 at approximately 1300 (1 p.m.), I conducted a criminal investigation reference to the sale of illegal drugs. Offender Jackson Tallant was placed under arrest for conspiracy to traffic methamphetamine. Search warrant (No. 08947) executed at his residence. Investigation pending. Follow-up supplemental will be completed as case progresses.”
A $10,000 property bond was issued on Dec. 7, 2001 in the name of Tallant’s parents Carroll and Ellen Tallant. According to records provided by the Forsyth Clerk of Courts office, Tallant was arraigned Jan. 11, 2002. The Bond Notice and Notice of Arraignment were signed by Sheriff Ted Paxton.
Four months later on April 18, 2002, the charges against Tallant were dismissed. Assistant District Attorney, Rand Csehy, cited “insufficient evidence to proceed” as the basis for dismissal. Csehy served Forsyth County as the assistant D.A. for three years.
Former Forsyth D.A. disbarred for drug use
Rand Jason Csehy, the former Forsyth County district attorney who agreed to dismiss the charges against Tallant, was disbarred for his own felony drug charges in February 2015.
According to the Atlanta Journal Constitution, Csehy, once a rising star in the Fulton County district attorney’s office, was first charged with violation of Georgia’s Controlled Substances Act when he appeared in court as a defense lawyer in September 2014, District Attorney Vic Reynolds said. At the time he was found to be under the influence of methamphetamine, the prosecutor said.
Lester Tate, past president of the Georgia Bar Association, said the Forsyth cases may warrant a review if the statues of limitations has not run out.
“There’s nothing wrong with doing a review,” Tate said by phone.
Tallant questioned in Frady murder case
During his incarceration in February 1998 on the drug and firearms charges, Tallant was also questioned about the murder of 11-year-old Levi Frady.
Frady was less than a mile from his Forsyth County home when he was allegedly abducted while riding his bicycle along Little Mill Road. Less than 16 hours later, his body was found across county lines and in a remote, heavily wooded tract of the Dawson Forest Wildlife Management area. He had been shot multiple times. His small body was dumped face up in a rain-filled pit.
Dawson County Sheriff Billy Carlisle confirmed that numerous callers to his department have questioned whether Tallant is suspected of involvement in the Frady case, as reported in the Forsyth County News.
“He has been interviewed involving this case, but that’s all, and we’re not pointing any fingers at him,” Carlisle said.
GBI’s Jim Hallman also confirmed that Tallant “has been interviewed several times in the Frady murder, the report states, but Hallman pointed out that several hundred others have also been questioned during the three-and-half month investigation.
Next up: Two juveniles find drugs on property belonging to a Forsyth County drug task force officer. Were Forsyth officers using Tallant and others to sell confiscated drugs, and dismissing charges against them to keep them quiet?
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