Georgia Man Arrested In Connection With 21-Year-Old Unsolved Murder

Throughout Jacksonville, as well as other areas across the nation, there are crimes that go unsolved. Robberies, murders, and other crimes go unpunished and the perpetrator not found, leaving the victim and family of the victim without relief. However, when one of these older unsolved crimes is brought before the court, there is a much greater margin for bad and tainted evidence. However, if one obtains an experienced attorney to fight for one’s case, one can be sure that one’s rights are protected and that one will not be punished because of old and unusual evidence.

According to the Florida Times-Union, Craig Lester Thrift of Ware County, Georgia, has been charged with first degree murder in connection with the 21-year-old disappearance of Thrift’s first cousin Terry Rouse. The charge came after alleged “repeated admissions” by Thrift to members of the Ware County community that he had killed Rouse because of an affair Rouse was having with Thrift’s wife. Rouse’s body has yet to be found. images8.jpg

Murder crimes in Jacksonville as well as everywhere else in the United States require a burden of proof beyond a reasonable doubt. That means that the prosecutor has to prove for almost a 100% certainty that the person accused of the crime committed that crime and that there is no possibility that someone else could have committed the crime but the accused. However, that proof becomes very hard to come by, particularly when the crime was said to have occurred 21 years ago.

Thrift was charged with first-degree murder, which is punishable by up to life imprisonment or the death penalty, if the prosecutor seeks that punishment. This is a serious punishment for someone to be accused of, particularly when the time frame for such a crime is long. When crimes go unsolved, the evidence needed and required for a conviction is possibly old, tainted or even absent. This leaves holes in the case that a prosecutor simply cannot maneuver around.

In this case, the evidence that the police found is very slim. Rouse’s car was found running and out of gas on the side of the road in the Okefenokee swamp. Rouse’s body was never found, and only testimony from the community is available to show that Thrifty was in fact the killer. What evidence is available in the case was most likely not preserved properly, and therefore DNA evidence will probably be absent. This is not and should not be enough to convict a man and send him to jail for possibly the rest of his life.

Many times in Jacksonville and other areas, the accused will be subjected to a process in which accusations are thrown around without any backing by which the prosecution can prove that the accused actually did the crime. Fortunately, if one has been accused of such a crime, one should obtain an experienced Jacksonville murder crimes defense attorney to fight for one’s case and ensure one’s rights are protected. One should not risk being subjected to and incarcerated by a prosecutor who does not have the evidence to prove that one committed the crime.


The Forbess Law Firm has been aiding clients who face criminal charges in Jacksonville for more than a decade and are here to provide aggressive criminal defense to anyone accused of a crime. If you or a loved one require a Jacksonville criminal defense lawyer, contact our firm today. We are available through our website or by calling us at 904-634-0900.

Additional Source:Man accused of murder in 21-year-old disappearance in Ware County court, Terry Dickson, The Florida Times-Union