Jury selection held in two child molestation cases
by ALEX McRAE
A Coweta County Superior Court jury was seated late Monday afternoon in the trial of Matthew James Barrian Perry, who faces multiple counts of child molestation, aggravated child molestation, aggravated sexual battery, sexual exploitation of children and invasion of privacy.
Also, jury selection was still under way late Monday in a separate case. The defendant, Alexander Sean Gerbert, is charged with child molestation, aggravated sodomy, aggravated sexual battery, sexual battery, incest and sexual exploitation of children.
Superior Court Judge Qullian Baldwin is presiding in the Perry case. Coweta Judicial Circuit Assistant District Attorney Ray Mayer is lead prosecutor. Perry is represented by Public Defender Rick Samper.
Perry was originally arrested in May 2012 and charged with child molestation and using an eavesdropping or surveillance device. The alleged acts involved two teenage relatives.
After his arrest, Perry was released on $35,000 bond.
During the subsequent investigation, Perry's cell phone was seized and forensically searched. Investigators discovered hundreds of images of pornography, internet web searches and links to pornographic websites, including some featuring young females.
Based on the new evidence, additional charges were filed against Perry in June 2012. The new charges included aggravated child molestation, aggravated sexual battery, sexual exploitation of children and invasion of privacy. The charges were based on photographs of both of the teenage girls involved in acts covered under the original charges and photos of a young relative while she was in the bathroom.
A new warrant was issued for Perry's arrest, and Coweta County authorities found Perry at the Waffle House on U.S. Hwy. 29 at Interstate 85 exit 41.
Perry resisted arrest and authorities used stun weapons in the arrest. A loaded rifle was found in his truck. Perry has since been held without bail at the Coweta County Jail in Newnan.
Opening statements and testimony will begin Tuesday morning, July 9.
The separate case involving defendant Alexander Sean Gerbert is assigned to Superior Court Judge John Simpson.
The prosecution is led by Coweta Judicial Circuit Assistant District Attorney Kevin McMurry.
The Gerbert case — involving charges of child molestation, aggravated sodomy, aggravated sexual battery, sexual battery, incest and sexual exploitation of children — dates back to 2010, and involved two different girls then aged 9 and 15.
Authorities began the investigation after hearing allegations from the 9-year-old girl. After the allegations were made, authorities executed a search warrant at Gerbert's Coweta County residence only to learn that Gerbert had fled the state.
In February 2012 Gerbert was located in Illinois and later extradited to Coweta to face trial. Testimony in that case is expected to begin Tuesday.