SCOGA affirms Dawson Co. murder conviction

The Supreme Court of Georgia (SCOGA) has upheld the murder conviction and life sentence without parole in a 2019 Dawson County case.

Austin Stryker, 27, was convicted for malice murder and other crimes related to the shooting and stabbing death of Hannah Bender, who was 21 at the time of her death. Stryker was a member of a small gang, and the prosecution argued that he killed Bender because he suspected she was informing on the gang’s activities.

Stryker was charged with multiple counts, including malice murder, felony murder, aggravated assault, aggravated battery, possession of a firearm and knife during the commission of a felony, violating the Street Gang Terrorism and Prevention Act, concealing the death of another, and tampering with evidence.

The jury found him guilty on all counts, and he was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole for malice murder, along with consecutive sentences for other charges.

The high court affirmed his convictions and sentences, according to documents made available by the court Wednesday.