Andre Ellis out of prison, seeking business license in Troy

Published 10:21 pm Wednesday, March 28, 2018

A Pike County man once convicted of rape before the ruling was overturned is now in the community corrections program and seeking a business license in Troy.

Andre Ellis was sentenced to 22 years in prison in 2012 on a charge of first-degree theft of property for stealing over $12,000 from First National Bank of Brundidge.

After three years in prison, Ellis requested to be transferred to the community corrections program and Judge Jeffery W. Kelley decreed that Ellis could be moved out of the correctional facility.

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Court records show that the Montgomery County Community Corrections Director and the victim, FNB, approved of the transfer while the state opposed the move.

District Attorney Tom Anderson said his office is still against Ellis serving his sentence in the community corrections program. “We oppose him being out of prison,” Anderson said.

Ellis was ordered to serve the rest of his 22-year sentence, of which approximately 16 years remain, in the program. This allows Ellis to be “gainfully employed” while residing in Montgomery.

Ellis was also accused of two counts of rape and a count of second-degree burglary in connection to incidents that took place on a single day in 2012. He was convicted a year later and sentenced to 85 years on the rape charges and 20 on the burglary charge.

Kelley issued an eight-page order though on May 17, 2013, overturning the conviction.

Among the issues cited in there order were: “inconsistency” in one victim’s testimony regarding the timeline of events on the day of the alleged rape; “reasonable probability” that the results of the first trial would have been different if the State had not suppressed evidence; that much of the evidence that wasn’t disclosed by the State would have provided an opportunity to impeach the credibility of one witness and the investigation; that exculpatory and impeachable evidence that was suppressed was favorable to the defense; and that a victim was not truthful to medical professionals about what happened to her, a crime scene was cleaned and text messages were deleted prior to an investigation.

The district attorney’s office had the opportunity to bring a new trial forward on the charges, but all charges were dropped in November 2014.

“Just after talking with everybody involved, we just decided to not bother with prosecution again,” said Chris Kaminski, assistant district attorney at the time. “It’s unfortunate that we go through a trial, and 12 jurors find without a reasonable doubt that he is guilty and then it’s overturned. It’s unfortunate.”

Ellis came before the Troy City Council on Tuesday, March 12 to request a business license to begin a limousine service that would transport people in Pike County and operate across county lines.

The council met in executive session with Ellis to discuss matters relating to “good name and character” and resumed the council meeting without taking action on the license request.

City Clerk Alton Starling later said that the license could not be issued until the Public Service Commission approves for Ellis to transport people across county lines.

Ellis said his conviction is behind him and he is ready to get back to work in the community.

“I told the city council the mistakes of my past are in my past and I’m done with that,” Ellis said. “I’m an upstanding citizen of Troy asking for a license for a legitimate business that the city needs.”