Cobb DA Joyette Holmes issues statement on Kevil Wingo’s death at the Cobb jail

photo of Cobb Superior Court building from the front with a blue sky with clouds in the background

Cobb County District Attorney Joyette Holmes issued a statement on the death of Kevil Wingo while in custody at the Cobb County Adult Detention Center.

Wingo died in custody in September of 2019, while in severe abdominal pain, but according to an 11Alive News investigation, the Cobb Sheriff’s Office kept the details concealed until an internal investigation was concluded this June.

A Youtube video of Wingo collapsed in a detention center isolation room has been widely circulated.

DA Holmes wrote this comment regarding the death of Kevil Wingo.

“It goes without saying that matters involving the loss of life, no matter where they occur, are going to evoke all types of emotion, discussion, and a call to action. Mr. Kevil Wingo’s case is no exception. The sadness and frustration that his family, and those who support his family, feel should not be minimized. I am a person who serves a mission in the role of District Attorney and likewise sympathize with the family, our county, and all others in the greater community. Mr. Gardner, the attorney for the Wingo family, hand-delivered materials that he received from the Cobb County Sheriff’s Office, pursuant to an Open Records Request he filed, to my office this week. As I have indicated to him, those files will be reviewed by my office. To date, we have not received any other files from any other agency.

“As the District Attorney I am committed to making sure that matters of public safety are addressed appropriately. Citizen concerns are brought to my attention daily and addressed by our office or referred to the appropriate agency without favor or fear. The role of the District Attorney remains constant.

“Many have called for the impaneling of a special grand jury. It is important at this juncture to understand the process. Notwithstanding the judicial emergency, which precludes any court from impaneling new grand juries, including special grand juries, the Official Code of Georgia 15-12-100 controls the impaneling of special grand juries. When the “Guidance on Grand Juries during the Supreme Court’s Judicial Emergency Order” provides for the impaneling of new, and special, grand juries, any elected official in the county, or in any municipality within; the Chief Judge of the Superior Court, on its own motion; or I, as District Attorney, can request the Judges of the Superior Court to impanel a special grand jury for the purpose of investigating any matter as provided by law. Pursuant to Ga. Code 15-12-101, if the majority of the judges vote to impanel a special grand jury, the Chief Judge shall assign a Judge of the Superior Court of the county to supervise and assist the special grand jury in carrying out its investigation and duties. 

“A grand jury that hears regular presentments and routine indictments, and that performs agency/office inspections, falls under the direct supervision of the District Attorney. Official Code of Georgia Section 15-12-71(b)(1) guides the operation of this grand jury in its requirement that the grand jurors inspect the operation of the jail annually. Our office has a process that sends the grand jury to the jail multiple times a year (every grand jury term) to inspect the jail, ask questions of Sheriff’s Office personnel, and complete a report of that inspection. Upon receiving an updated order from the Georgia Supreme Court that allows us to resume these specific functions, grand jurors will again perform the jail inspection, having in mind the information provided to this office regarding the concerns of the overall operations of the Cobb Adult Detention Center.

“As your District Attorney, my office will do the right thing, by basing our decisions on thorough agency inspections and appropriate case investigations, when the Georgia Supreme Court provides us with the opportunity to address such matters.”