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State v. George H. Maxwell

Mr. Maxwell was charged with Conspiracy to Commit Felony and Criminal Solicitation related to murder-for-hire plot against ex-wife’s boyfriend. The victim, Kevin Westover, was at his residence on North Bluff Road in Athens when numerous gunshots were fired by an unknown hitman. Mr. Westover was able to escape the gunfire without injury.

Although the identify of the hitman was never discovered, Mr. Maxwell was tried before a jury in November 2021 by the current District Attorney’s office. At trial, the prosecutors requested admission of various text messages between Mr. Maxwell and the unknown hitman. The senior judge handling the case allowed the text messages into evidence at the request of the prosecution. However, Judge Lawton Stephens recently issued an order granting a new trial for Mr. Maxwell because the admission of a two-way text message conversation was improper since it contained hearsay statements. The portion of the messages sent by Mr. Maxwell were admissible and proper.

As a result, the District Attorney’s Office will be required to try the case again. While the opportunity for justice remains, the victims in the case will be required to testify again due to the error by the District Attorney’s Office.