Office of the DeKalb County District Attorney

Stone Mountain Judicial Circuit

Sherry Boston, District Attorney

Speeding drivers indicted in 2015 death of 3 children

DECATUR, GA – A DeKalb County grand jury indicted a man and woman linked to the deaths of three young children during illegal drag racing on Moreland Avenue in April 2015.
Malanie Denise Putman and James Gerald Benford were each charged with three counts of homicide by vehicle and one count of reckless driving for the April 12, 2015 wreck that killed 3-year-old Lauren Coleman and her brothers Jaylen, 6, and Jordan, 4.

“This was a terrible, terrible tragedy,” DeKalb County District Attorney Robert James said. “And we will prosecute this case to the fullest extent of the law to prevent something like this from ever happening again.”

The night of the incident both Benford and Putman were speeding along Moreland Avenue in separate cars when they struck the car that Cazhara Lovett was driving with her three small children in the back seat.

Witnesses said the two cars reached speeds of more than 90 mph before they eventually hit Lovett’s vehicle as she turned onto Constitution Road.
Both Putman and Benford were arrested later released on $175,000 and $160,000 bond, respectively.