Convict accused of murdering cop appears in court

Dontavius Raynard Thomas listens as Judge Stephen Goss reads the indictment against him at the Dougherty County Superior Court Tuesday morning. / Mike Manzoni

FOX 31 was the only local station in the courtroom when the man charged with gunning down a Dougherty County police officer during an armed robbery last year made his first appearance in Dougherty County Superior Court this morning.

Flanked by his two attorneys, Dontavius Raynard Thomas, 21, listened as Judge Stephen Goss read the slew of charges against him, including malice murder and felony murder. Judge Goss also informed Thomas that the state intended to seek the death penalty.

Thomas is accused of murdering Dougherty County Police Lt. Cliff Rouse, 39, with a 9mm pistol after an armed robbery at the Pitt Stop Convenience Store on Dec. 23.

A grand jury indicted Thomas in May. In all, he is charged with nine counts for crimes ranging from murder to illegal possession of a firearm.

An arraignment will be scheduled in the coming weeks.

Thomas was previously convicted of burglary in November 2010.