The trial for a man accused of threatening and pointing a gun at his former supervisors just after he was fired last year began Tuesday in Douglas County Superior Court before Judge David T. Emerson.
Riverdale’s Hans Gerald Reid, 45, is facing four counts of both aggravated assault and making terroristic threats relating to a June 20, 2012, incident at Waste Industries on Cochran Industrial Boulevard in Douglasville.
In opening statements, the events of that evening were presented as two drastically different scenarios by Assistant Douglas County District Attorney Sherrill Britt and defense attorney Keith Adams.
Britt outlined the words that were later heard on a tape made by one of the alleged victims, during the firing and the events that followed.
“On June, 2012, supervisors called the defendant in to fire him,” Britt said. “They did that and he got mad. He got angry, started cursing them, threatening them and before he left, he pulled a gun and pointed it at them.”
The company indicates that Reid was fired because he repeatedly lowered the sun visor in his garbage truck, blocking a camera that was used to monitor activity associated with the truck’s operation.
Adams said the charges were the result of fabricated stories by supervisors who were upset with his client because he was working to start a union at the company. He said the company had supervisors work to find a reason to get rid of Reid and when they used a safety violation to terminate him, they carried it to the next level.
Adams said that while Reid owned a gun and was licensed to carry one, he never pointed it at anyone.
“Hans was upset, wouldn’t you be if you had been terminated for no reason after more than four years with a company?” Adams said. Listen to what is said on that tape. Use your common sense. ... You have to ask yourself was there even a crime committed. I think you will find that there was no crime at all.”
In addition to hearing the tape of the incident where Reid did seem to threaten one by saying “I ought to knock your fat (expletive) out,” they heard from Tony Goldthorp, a supervisor who said he was threatened by Reid and had the gun pointed at him.
“He opened the door of his car and held the gun up at me,” Goldthorp said, making a gun gesture with his hand. “He pointed the gun at me and said ‘Tony, I got your number.’ Then as he got in the car he pointed it at the others.”
Testimony is expected to resume this morning at 9 a.m.
Also on Tuesday in a case before Douglas County Superior Court Judge Robert J. James, Monta Daniel Burnette entered a non-negotiated plea to one count of aggravated assault (family violence act), assault on an unborn child and possession of firearm during commission of a felony.
James sentenced Burnette to 16 years, with seven to be served in prison, with the final nine to be served on probation.
On June 14, 2012, Burnette, 34, was accused of getting into an altercation with his pregnant girlfriend, hit her twice with a pool stick then after she tried to flee, he followed and fired four to five shots at the vehicle. The vehicle was recovered with bullet holes in it.
The victim eventually fled to a nursery where her child was being held. The nursery was put on lockdown with the victim in the back of the building.
Burnette offered an apology to the court.
“It was a split-second decision, and I just made the wrong choice,” Burnette said. “I know I have to pay a price — I have been incarcerated for nine months right now. However, I don’t want you to take me away from my children ... I just made the wrong decision. I made the wrong choice — in a split second. I said a couple of untruthful things. I was just doing it because I was scared. Now I have my head right. I have had time to sit and think about it with my counselor… I’m just asking that you be lenient on me. I’ve heard stories about this county — how strict it is. … Please don’t throw me away from my children. Don’t throw me away from my family.”