On May 21, it will be three years since 65-year-old Epsie Ewing and her husband, C.F. Ewing, were attacked and beaten in their downtown Loganville home. The attacks happened in broad daylight. Epsie Ewing did not survive her injuries and died the following month. The three men accused of the murder were arrested even before she had succumbed to her injuries, but her family said they are still waiting for “justice for Epsie.”
“She is still missed dearly and this May will mark three years since she was brutally beaten and later died on June 23rd," said her sister, Faye Evans. “Unfortunately we don’t know any more now then we did then. It’s as if everybody has forgotten about her. Please don’t let her slip through the cracks.”
Evans did say that pretrial motions in the case of the three Monroe men accused in the case will resume this week.
“To my knowledge the only things that will be discussed on these two days are motions for the three guys,” Evans said. “We have no idea when we may get a trial date.”
Walton County District Attorney Layla Zon confirmed that the three accused - Cory Butler, John Jodie Blackwell Jr., and Barry Marquez Partee - will be in court at 9 a.m. Thursday to resume pretrial motions. March 8 and 9 have been set aside to hear the motions. All three men face the death penalty, charged with malice murder, three counts of felony murder, aggravated battery, two counts of aggravated assault, two counts of false imprisonment, armed robbery, burglary and two counts of possession of a weapon during the commission of a crime. Butler faces an additional charge of a convicted felon being in possession of a weapon.
According to earlier court testimony, Epsie Ewing’s husband knew Butler. The three men went to the Ewing's home on the pretext of wanting to purchase a truck. After taking the truck for a test drive, they are accused of forcing C.F. Ewing back into the home at gunpoint, where the beatings are alleged to have happened.
A neighbor called the police after seeing the subjects flee the scene. C.F. and Epsie Ewing were taken to the hospital. C.F. Ewing was released the following day, but his wife did not survive her injuries. The three suspects were arrested within a week of the attacks and have remained behind bars ever since. Former District Attorney Ken Wynne called for the death penalty against all three.
Zon took over the case, which is now going into a third year. Pretrial motions were halted last year pending finalization of the census count. This was necessary for motions by the defense challenging the racial make up of the jury. The three accused men are black. Blackwell and Partee were teens at the time of the attack and Butler was in his late 20s. Another challenge by the defense still to be heard is the constitutionality of death by lethal injection. It also is possible that Butler could mount a mental health/mental retardation defense.
Zon said the pretrial motions have dragged on because all three defendants have had to appear together for these motions and scheduling all the attorneys at the same time has proved difficult. All three are represented by public defenders. Zon said once these final motions have been settled, however, dates would likely be set for the trials to begin. At that time, the three men would be tried separately.