Dean Grant February 2019.jpg

Dean Harrison Grant has plenty of thinking to do between now and later this month.

He has to decide first whether he still wants to stand trial and fight insurance fraud and other criminal charges against him in the theft of $1.3 million from a number of unsuspecting crime victims. The other option he faces is whether he wants to reimburse the victims for the thefts and possibly plead guilty to various charges now pending against him in Baldwin County.

But even if restitution is paid to each of the victims in the case through a pre-arranged plea negotiation, Grant still would be looking at serving prison time.

During a pre-trial hearing Wednesday morning in Baldwin County Superior Court, Ocmulgee Judicial Circuit District Attorney T. Wright Barksdale III announced that he had offered a plea arrangement with Grant and his defense attorney, Carl S. Cansino.

Grant, who sat in a chair beside Cansino and associate attorney Kerry Allen, did not accept the district attorney’s offer Wednesday.

Other plea-negotiated arrangements between the prosecution and defense teams would be that Grant be sentenced to 20 years with the first 10 of those years to be served in confinement at a facility within the Georgia Department of Corrections. The remaining 10 years would be served under probation.

The defendant’s wife, Melany Gwenelen Grant, meanwhile, is no longer facing criminal charges in the case. She recently signed a waiver to testify against her husband during his trial, if the case goes in that direction.

She appeared at the hearing with her attorney, but never left her seat in the gallery directly across from a number of victims who attended the hearing, too.

Even though she was indicted by a grand jury as a co-defendant in the case, criminal charges have since been dropped against her because she has agreed to help the prosecution team with its case as a state’s witness.

In reference to a question from Ocmulgee Judicial Circuit Superior Court Chief Judge Brenda H. Trammell, Grant’s trial is set to begin Monday, Jan. 23, in Baldwin County Superior Court in Milledgeville. Jurors in that case will be selected from Morgan County. The county seat is Madison, which is located a little more than 43 miles north of Milledgeville. Morgan County is among one of the counties that make up the Ocmulgee Judicial Circuit, the second largest judicial circuit in Georgia.

Barksdale called only one witness to the testify during the hearing. The witness was Maj. Brad King, who heads the criminal investigations division at the Baldwin County Sheriff’s Office.

King laid out how the case began with one victim and grew to include many other victims after he began probing the case deeper. He was later assisted in the investigation of the case by Georgia Insurance Commission Office Agent Jason S. Jones.

Jones also attended the hearing, but was not called to testify.

In late September 2021, a Baldwin County grand jury returned a 52-count indictment against the Grants, who lived in Milledgeville for many years before they moved to Roswell.

It marked the second time that Dean Grant had been indicted on criminal charges in the case. The first time came back in November 2020, when grand jurors returned a 23-county criminal indictment against Grant, who owned and operated a financial advisor business in 

Milledgeville.

During this week’s pretrial hearing, Barksdale, who was assisted by Assistant District Attorney Sydney Segers, said Dean Grant was re-indicted in regards to the case later and that many additional charges were included in that particular indictment.

On behalf of his client, Cansino was able to get several theft charges dismissed against Grant.

The defense attorney tried unsuccessfully to get other charges quashed, but Trammell, who will preside over the upcoming trial if it happens, denied those motions from the bench.

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