Kelvin Kirkland's first appearance was held at 2:30 p.m. today at Emanuel County's courthouse. He has been formally charged with malice murder, cruelty to children, and possession of a firearm during the commission of a crime, in reference to the murder of Ms. Johnnie Starnes.
Kirkland participated using video conference for safety measures, as the courtroom was disgruntled.
Kirkland is said to have shot Ms. Starnes several times in the head, leg, and hip areas. This was done in the presence of Ms. Starnes's 14 year old granddaughter, which is why Kirkland was charged with cruelty to children.
Kelvin Kirkland has been denied bond at this time by the District Attorney's Office.
District Attorney Tripp Fitzner tells the press, "We appreciate the hard work of Swainsboro Police Department and Emanuel County Sheriff's Office, and we will get this case presented as expeditiously as possible to ensure justice is served."
Chief Randy Ellison with Swainsboro Police Department tells The Chronicle that law enforcement was aware of the domestic violence between Kirkland and Starnes. On two previous occasions, SPD was dispatched to the residence. Kirkland was not physically violent on either of those occasions, and Kirkland had not made any threats of violence towards Starnes. On the prior calls, Kirkland was intoxicated and Ms. Starnes just wanted him to leave her home.