Jury selection began today in the case of a teen accused of trapping a 12-year-old girl inside a building at Belvedere Park and trying to rape her.
Quintin Elijah Palmer, 17, is one of two teens accused of forcing the girl inside a dark, abandoned structure Oct. 15. The other is 16-year-old Jordan Lias, who is scheduled for trial in April. Prosecutors said Palmer and Lias will be tried separately because they implicated each other in statements to police. If tried together, certain statements made to police couldn’t reach a jury. That isn’t the case if they’re tried individually.
Palmer, who’s being held without bond, was at the center of a brief controversy at the beginning of the year over his medical furloughs. Initially granted regular furloughs because of his medical condition, Palmer had them rescinded after he sat outside the Muscogee County Jail for 90 minutes Jan. 4 when no one picked him up and took him to Atlanta for the treatments.
Police accuse Palmer and Lias of forcing the girl into the building when she went searching for her dog. They pulled down her pants, and the girl fought back when one of the suspects touched her.
Authorities said the girl’s dog bit one of suspects, causing them to flee. The girl heard the suspects call each other by name or nickname as they fled, which led police to identify and arrest Palmer and Lias.
Both teens are charged with aggravated child molestation, child molestation, aggravated sexual battery, enticing a child for indecent purposes, false imprisonment, attempted aggravated sodomy and attempted rape. Someone convicted of aggravated child molestation faces a minimum of 25 years in prison and a maximum of life imprisonment.
Palmer was allowed regular furloughs because of ongoing medical conditions. Defense attorney Stacey Jackson said Palmer has sickle cell anemia, among other ailments, and required regular trips to Atlanta for medical treatment.
His mother, Roberta Dixon, took Palmer to Atlanta at first. However, Dixon said she told authorities in December that she could no longer take him.
Sheriff’s Maj. Randy Robertson said that once a judge’s court order granted Palmer furloughs, the sheriff’s office could not defy it. Palmer was released from the Muscogee County Jail on Jan. 4, though no one arrived to get him. Palmer sat outside the jail about 90 minutes.
Palmer’s furloughs were rescinded when Superior Court Judge Bobby Peters learned of the disconnect. Palmer has remained in custody for all medical treatments since Jan. 4.
Palmer’s trial continues today.