JOHNS CREEK, Ga. — North Fulton residents typically associate gang violence with Atlanta, when the reality is that gangs already work and move throughout the city’s northern suburbs, according to Fulton County Deputy District Attorney Cara Convery.
Convery, who supervises the Fulton County District Attorney’s Office’s Gang Unit, spoke at the Oct. 30 Women Who Walk the Walk luncheon at the Country Club of the South.
The event is a biannual luncheon hosted by the Alpharetta Chamber of Commerce for businesswomen to speak about their professional journeys and empowerment.
As the keynote speaker, Convery covered some of the most high-profile gang-related trials she’s encountered and how they have shaped during her career.
Convery stressed that while gangs might not have headquarters in North Fulton, active national and neighborhood gangs have been found working in or moving around the area. The rise of social media has helped expand the reach and frequency of this activity, she added, but it has also helped law enforcement find and prosecute members for investigation.
Several investigations and prosecutions Convery spoke about were aided by social media.
For example, social media was integral during the investigation of Darius Bottoms’ murder, Convery said.
Bottoms, nephew of Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, had been shot and killed in June 2014 after he was mistaken as a rival gang member because of his car, she said.
Photos posted online by a woman helped investigators piece together the timeline of events and lead them to the three men who were eventually convicted of the murder. It was one of the most challenging cases in her career, Convery said.
“I’ve learned so much about myself by going through these experiences,” Convery said. “You learn so much about yourself when faced with tough, challenging situations and rising to them.”
Social media has not only helped in Convery’s trials, it has also shaped her career and herself.
Convery was the prosecutor in the murder trial of Tex McIver, who was charged in the shooting death of his wife in 2016.
The trial was one of the most challenging she had ever faced, Convery said, because it was livestreamed and picked up a lot of traction online.
Convery said she at first spent of a lot of time reading and worrying over the deluge of online criticism during the trial, but eventually, she was able to face the stress and worries head on.
“I learned a lot about not worrying about the stuff you can’t control and focusing on the things you can,” Convery said. “By the end of the trial, I really learned how to let things go.”
Convery said she has since found many such pieces of wisdom through her experiences.
Early in her career, for example, Convery said she attempted to emulate her senior colleagues in the courtroom, but those efforts often fell flat. She instead learned to work from a place of authenticity to find success.
“You can’t use someone else’s story, you can’t use someone else’s thing, because it’s not you,” Convery said. “The times I’ve been most effective, the times I’ve seen the best results, the most rewarding experiences for me are when I’m myself… That would be my advice for anyone in any line of work. If it’s not yourself, it’s not your best version.”