A Decade of Law



Published:

We’ve covered a range of legal goings on here in the lowcountry – lawyers held hostage, drug busts, executions, that flag flap – here are some of the best from the past 10 years.

 

Mike Hostilo / Issue 21

An attorney’s worst nightmare: a former client, unhappy with his day in court, threatens violence and returns for vengeance. That’s exactly what happened when Robbie Brower took Michael Hostilo hostage in his Statesboro law office in 2006. 11 years after serving time for brutally beating a man with a hammer, Brower and wife Connie bound and gagged Hostilo holding him at knifepoint for 24 hours. Hostilo’s courtroom savvy prevailed, though. Eventually his captors removed the duct tape from his mouth, and Hostilo negotiated his own release. Brower is currently serving an 85-year sentence, his wife a 65-year sentence for taking Hostilo hostage. Michael Hostilo has reduced the number of cases he takes on and now mostly works out of his Savannah office. “My whole perspective of life has changed,” says Hostilo, “I’m a better me. I’m a better person.”

 

Tempered and True:  The Iron Defense of Mike Schiavone / Issue 62

​ Long odds lingering over your head? Hard time staring you down? Your back’s against the wall and nobody’s on your side? Iron Mike’s your man. With more than 40-years’ experience as a defense attorney, he’s seen his share of ripped-from-the-headlines cases. The kind that become books and big-budget films. In the late ‘80s, Schiavone represented Carl Isaacs. Isaacs escaped from a Maryland prison with two others, broke into a Georgia farm house, killed five men and raped a woman before also murdering her. The trial carried on for a month, and the jury deliberated into the night before delivering its guilty verdict. The case remains one of Georgia’s grisliest tales of murder, going on to become both a book and a film. More recently, Schiavone defended former Miss Savannah pageant winner, Sharron Nicole Redmond, in the aggravated assault shooting of Kevin Shorter. The jury determined Redmond’s actions as self-defense. Redmond now lives in Atlanta and is pursuing a PhD. in career development.

 

Cover Shock / Issue 57

 That necktie with a nod to the “Stars and Bars” ignited fury and debate across South’s social media and digital platforms. On the cover of 2015’s late-summer “Money and Power” issue, the image was published on the heels of Dylann Roof’s racially-motivated rampage, in which he shot and killed nine African American parishioners in a Charleston, South Carolina, church. Roof embraced the Confederate flag as personal emblem for his deeds, a token of his racial hatred. Across the country, emotions ran high both for and against the flag. For many, it serves as reminder of the pervasive inequity that denied slaves their worth and recognition as humans. Others see the flag as part of southern culture and heritage, a symbol of pride, independence and of standing apart. Like it or not, the Confederate flag is a cultural artifact that remains uncomfortably situated in contemporary America and is undeniably a part of the South’s history. Everything the flag represents can’t be erased or whisked away; it’s a symbol that all us Southerners must come to terms with one way or another. For goodness sakes, we are headquartered in Savannah, Georgia! South magazine felt compelled to address the flag. National magazine consultant, Cable Neuhaus, offered, “And let’s face it, if a magazine named South failed to address the flap over the Confederate flag—if it simply permitted the national brouhaha to pass without remark—shame on such a book. It would not deserve the attention or loyalty of its readers.

 

Savannah’s war on drugs / Issue 62

From 2014 to 2015 violent crime in Savannah rose by 26 percent. Nationwide for that same time period, violent crime went up by 4 percent. In Savannah, those numbers continue to climb, significantly outpacing the national average. Local law enforcement is convinced drug trafficking has a lot to do with the uptick. And they are primed and ready to fight back. Law enforcement is reluctant to say the Lowcountry is in the midst of a drug epidemic, but they do acknowledge a flood of crystal meth users inundating southeast Chatham and surrounding counties in the past two years. The DEA has identified four cartels operating out of Atlanta. Super labs in the city refine the substance to its crystal form, which yields a stronger high. Then “mules” transport pounds of it to distant communities like Savannah, surrounding counties and as far away as Charleston. Savannah’s drug problem boils down to supply and demand. “Law enforcement has to aggressively target the dealers. Without the dealers, they simply can’t get the drugs,” said Sergeant Gene Harley of Savannah’s Counter Narcotics Team.

 

 

Innocent as Sin / Issue 15

Troy Davis: in the years leading up to his execution on Sept. 21, 2011, his name has become synonymous with that margin of injustice that sometimes results from justice. In 1989, Davis was alleged to have shot and killed a young, very popular Savannah police officer, Mark McPhail. After a local media frenzy and nearly two years of court proceedings, Davis was convicted and sentenced to death in 1991. But in intervening years, parts of that story just didn’t add up. In the four-day manhunt for Davis, police discovered that the man who implicated Davis in the murder owned a caliber gun that killed McPhail the night of the shooting. The information was not investigated or submitted in the murder trial. The prosecution also never produced a murder weapon. Between 1996 and 2005, seven witnesses came forward and recanted their testimony, indicating they’d been pressured by police to name Davis as the shooter. One witness went on record to say he was forced to sign a statement but didn’t know what it said because he couldn’t read. Between 2007 and 2009, Davis leveraged three stays of execution with support from Amnesty International, Pope Benedict XVI, Jimmy Carter, and Desmond Tutu. In 2010, the U.S. Supreme Court ordered an evidenciary hearing in which Davis’ death sentence was upheld, despite nearly a million signatures petitioning for clemency and a host of politicians and celebrities campaigning on Davis’ behalf. What’s the take away here? Humans are imperfect, we are biased and often victims of our emotions. Our legal system is a human endeavor and as such sometimes justice is tainted. Troy Davis’ death offers a light on human fallibility. May his story shine so that innocence will prevail and live when staring down similar circumstances.

 

To read more about A Decade of Law, subscribe now or pick up the June/July issue of South magazine. 

Edit ModuleShow Tags

South's Greatest Pets 2018

Nominate your pet for the cuddliest contest of the year!

Souths's Greatest Chefs 2018

This is the tastiest contest of the year! Nominate now!
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Edit ModuleShow Tags

Events Calendar

  • Free Screenings for Oral Cancer Awareness Month

    Apr 12, 2018
    8:00 AM - 5:00 PM @ Sandfly Family Dental

    Every 60 minutes, a person dies from oral cancer. Early symptoms are rare, but if you can catch it, early detection makes a dramatic difference,...

  • Savannah Mile

    Apr 26, 2018
    8:00 AM @ Drayton and Park

    The 13th Annual Savannah Mile, presented by the Two Hundred Club of the Coastal Empire, honors our fallen first responders, their families, and our...

  • #art912, Grounded

    Mar 30, 2018
    10:00 AM - 5:00 PM @ Jepson Center

    Telfair Museums will feature a commissioned work titled Grounded by Adolfo Alvarado, a Savannah-based artist whose work incorporates cal­ligraphic...

  • Carrie Mae Weems: Sea Islands Series, 1991-1992

    Jan 26, 2018
    10:00 AM - 5:00 PM @ Jepson Center

    Considered one of the most influential contemporary artists, Carrie Mae Weems (American, b. 1953) has continued to explore the African American...

  • ArtFields Returning to Lake City April 20-28, Featuring Georgia Artists; Inspiring New Exhibition Venues, Events

    Apr 20, 2018
    10:00 AM - 8:00 PM @ Lake City, SC

    INSPIRING NEW EXHIBITION VENUES, EVENTS Southeastern Artists Compete for $120,000 in Cash    The sixth annual ArtFields® competition will...

  • Paul Stephen Benjamin: Reinterpreting the Sound of Blackness

    Jan 26, 2018
    10:00 AM - 5:00 PM @ Jepson Center

    Paul Stephen Benjamin (American, b. 1966) is a conceptual artist whose work is a meditation on the color black, specifically as an entry point into...

  • Yoga Me Fit Challenge

    Mar 29, 2018
    5:30 PM - 6:30 PM @ Savannah Yoga Barre

    This class is designed for the younger and older practitioner who are seeking growth. Alignment and movement education are essential key components...

  • Tybee Wine Festival 2018: Wine and Dine at the Shrine

    Apr 26, 2018
    6:00 PM - 9:00 PM @ The Tybee Shrine

    A gourmet dining experience celebrating Tybee Wine Festival’s 10th Anniversary.  The evening starts with appetizers and cocktails overlooking...

  • Anything Flows Yoga Class

    Jun 15, 2017
    7:00 PM @ Dragon Dance Yoga

    7 pm Anything Flows Yoga Class Walk in rate: $14 Dragon Dance Yoga This class will take you beyond your comfort zone while still...

  • Lean Ensemble Theater Presents Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest

    Apr 26, 2018
    7:30 PM - 9:30 PM @ HHP Main Street Theatre

    This classic farcical comedy casts an amused eye on the British upper class and their mannerisms, social obligations, and their oh so human...

  • Tybee Island Wine Festival

    Apr 26, 2018
    All Day @ Tybee Island

    Now in its ninth year, the Tybee Island Wine Festival, hosted by the Tybee Post Theatre, is any wine lover's dream! You are certainly in...

  • Laughing Skull

    Apr 26, 2018
    All Day @ Laughing Skull Lounge

    This comedy festival focuses on pure talent by bringing in only the best unsigned comedians from all over the country. This year’s venues...

  • "Once Upon a Time" Joy Prom

    Apr 27, 2018
    6:00 PM - 9:00 PM @ Alee Temple

    For the past nine years, Xcel Strategies, a mentoring network in Savannahserving at-risk young men, has been hosting the Joy Prom for over 500...

  • Tybee Wine Festival 2018: Tybee Post Pickin & Shuckin with Bubbles & Beer

    Apr 27, 2018
    6:30 PM - 8:30 PM @ Tybee Post Theater

    A toast to the Tybee Post Theater and the 10th Annual Tybee Wine Festival at an evening with roasted oysters and pig picking with bubblies and beer...

  • Coastal Pet Rescue 15th Anniversary Celebration

    Apr 28, 2018
    10:00 AM - 2:00 AM @ Grayson Stadium

    It’s a party that’s been 15 years in the making for one area rescue agency. Coastal Pet Rescue will hold its 15th anniversary bash Saturday,...

  • Georgia Historical Society's Annual Book Sale

    Apr 28, 2018
    10:00 AM - 5:00 PM @ Georgia Historical Society

    Please join us for the annual GHS Book Sale on Saturday, April 28! The tables of the GHS Research Center will be filled with thousands of used...

  • 15th Coastal Pet Rescue

    Apr 28, 2018
    10:00 AM - 2:00 PM @ Grayson Stadium at Daffin Park

    Get ready to party with Coastal Pet Rescue as they celebrate their 15th anniversary! There will be live music by The Mandrakes, fun activities for...

  • Collin's Barefoot Comedy Club w/ Nicholas Anthony

    Apr 28, 2018
    8:00 PM - 10:00 PM @ Tybee Post Theater

    After you wind down from the Tybee Wine Festival’s Grand Wine Tasting, hustle over to the Theater for our monthly stand-up comedy show! National...

  • 14th Annual Tybee Turtle Trot 5K Beach Run

    Apr 28, 2018
    All Day @ Tybee Island

    Kick off Coastal Georgia’s sea turtle nesting season with this race benefiting Tybee Island Marine Center’s Sea Turtle Conversion Fund....


Show More...

Edit ModuleShow Tags

Scenes of the South

Georgia Land & Cattle Co. Grand Opening

Whiskey Wednesdays

Dozens of locals showed up at 39 Rue de Jean for Whiskey Wednesday. They enjoyed mingling, appetizers and drinks from Savannah's Ghost Coast Distillery and proceeds supported The Nine Line Foundation, who is dedicated to meeting financial and specialized need of severely injured soldiers and their families.

Walk a Mile in Her Shoes

The Rape Crisis Center will hosed the 5th Annual Walk a Mile in Her Shoes Event at Forsyth Park to galvanize the support of men and boys in our community.

Gingerbread House Open House

The Gingerbread House opened its doors for an open house, inviting the public in to see all the beautiful historic home has to offer for those looking to plan a wedding or corporate event.

PGA Hyatt Pro-AM Pairings Party

Golf enthusiasts gathered at the Hyatt Regency for the PGA Hyatt Pro-Am Pairings Party. This highly anticipated event kicked off the Pro-Am experience of the Savannah Golf Championship.

Burst in Bloom at Telfair Academy

Telfair Academy was buzzing with art and beautiful floral arrangements by local floral artists for the opening night reception of Burst Into Bloom.

Budweiser Clydesdales

The world-famous Budweiser Clydesdales spent a few days at historic Grayson Stadium before their highly anticipated appearance at the St. Patrick's Day Parade.

St. Patrick's Day Fire Ball 2018

The Savannah Professional Firefighters Association held their annual Fire Ball at Savannah Station. The money raised during this event went towards the Fallen Firefighter's Fund.

Celtic Cross Ceremony

The St. Patrick's Day celebrations began early with the annual Celtic Cross Ceremony. The Celtic Cross Mass, Procession and Ceremony are all symbolic of the original celebrations of St. Patrick's Day in Savannah, dating all the back to the early 1800's.

An Evening of Brilliance for St. Andrews

St. Andrews partnered up with the Edmonton Chamber of Commerce to bring this year's edition of the Chamber Ball.