Marlow, associates guilty on all counts
by TCT Staff and Michelle Babcock
April 26, 2014 09:11 PM | 10483 views | 7 7 comments | 58 58 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Kelly Marlow was convicted Saturday at 9 p.m. on two felony counts of making a false statement for lying to Canton police about an incident with Superintendent Dr. Frank Petruzielo. Marlow will no longer hold office as a Cherokee County School Board member, as Georgia Code states no felon can hold a publicly elected office.<br>Staff/Michelle Babcock
Kelly Marlow was convicted Saturday at 9 p.m. on two felony counts of making a false statement for lying to Canton police about an incident with Superintendent Dr. Frank Petruzielo. Marlow will no longer hold office as a Cherokee County School Board member, as Georgia Code states no felon can hold a publicly elected office.
Staff/Michelle Babcock
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CANTON — Cherokee School Board member Kelly Marlow was found guilty Saturday on felony charges of making false statements to police, as was her political advisor Robert Trim and Cherokee GOP Secretary Barbara Knowles.

Marlow sobbed as the jury’s verdict was announced. She, Trim and Knowles left court quickly without comment.

The jury found Marlow, Trim and Knowles did in fact lie to the Canton Police Department about an incident involving Superintendent Dr. Frank Petruzielo. The trio was charged with falsely accusing Petruzielo of trying to run them over outside a tavern after a heated school board meeting June 13, 2013.

The final verdict was delivered just before 9 p.m., after hours of deliberation.

Marlow was found guilty of two counts of making a false statement, Trim was found guilty of two counts of making a false statement, and Knowles was found guilty of three counts of making a false statement and one count of making a false report. Knowles made the original 911 call outside the Painted Pig Tavern.

Each felony charge of making a false statement holds a sentence of up to five years and the misdemeanor charge of filing a false report holds up to a 12-month sentence, Cherokee County Superior Court Judge Ellen McElyea said.

Sentencing was scheduled for Thursday at 9 a.m. at the Cherokee County Courthouse.

According to Georgia Code, Marlow’s days on the school board are numbered.

“Upon initial conviction of any public official for any felony in a trial court of this state or the United States, regardless of whether the public official has been suspended previously … such public official shall be immediately and without further action suspended from office,” the Georgia Code O.C.G.A. 45-5-6.1 states.

The trio was indicted last year on 12 charges total, but McElyea told the jury they would not be deliberating on four of the charges, leaving eight for consideration Saturday.

Chief Assistant District Attorney Rachelle Carnesale, the prosecutor in the case, explained the four charges were taken off the list for jury consideration because there is no law that specifically deals with false statements and phone conversations.

Since the four charges dealt with phone conversations and there was no evidence to prove the three defendants were in Cherokee County when the interviews occurred, the charges were taken off the list for consideration.

Marlow’s defense attorney, Brian Steel, called a final witness to the stand Saturday, as trial for continued into the sixth day Saturday at 9 a.m.

Steel called on Ross Gardner, a crime scene analyst working for the defense, who answered questions from Steel about what opinions he formed based on assumptions he drew from the surveillance video footage from The Painted Pig.

Gardner was on the stand for more than an hour and a half, and said he “assumed” many “hypothetical” details about the video footage.

Carnesdale responded to Gardner’s statements during the first part of her closing statements Saturday, saying the defense’s case was built on variables they assumed and not facts.

“That’s the work of a very talented defense team,” Carnesale said.

Carnesale began by telling the jury they were charged with determining if Marlow, Trim and Knowles lied to police.

Carnesale said “lawyer’s arguments are not evidence,” and “all lawyers have tricks and gimmicks.”

“Do you believe they lied?” Carnesale asked the jury. “I stand by my case.”

Carnesale said the state had “concrete physical evidence,” and the jury should know that Steel is an expert at “spinning gold.”

Steel reminded the jury if they had “reasonable doubt” of the defendant’s guilt, they should acquit them.

“How can you ever say that you don’t have a reason to doubt?” Steel asked the jury.
Comments
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Taxpayer waste funds
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April 28, 2014
As a taxpayer, i still think there is some realism to the accusations. Marlow will get her punishment, but there has to be more to it. "unethical behavior".. that happens even in the schools. you complain, nothing is done.. If your gonna clean house Mr. Superintendant, you have a ways to go.
Just Go Away....
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April 27, 2014
Unlike John I do not believe the court should take in to consideration that she has children. Having children is not a valid defense and she is not a single parent. And most importantly she should have considered her children before embarking on the path that ended in her being a convicted felony. She set her own priorities.

I also believe elected officials should be held to a high standard. The court needs to show that grossly unethical behavior by elected officials is not acceptable. Considering how much damage Ms. Marlow and her "posse" have done to the other children in this county, through wasting CCSB funds and the turmoil she created, she needs to serve some jail time. And a fine to cover the tax dollars she caused to be wasted at CCSB, and her court costs, would also be appropriate.

Ms. Marlow,

Please pay the fine(s), do your time, and Just Go Away...

Karl Marx
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April 28, 2014
Does your venom just apply to those you disagree with or do you also hold the same low opinion of those involved in other shady deals such as recycling within the county?
John Konop
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April 27, 2014
As many of you know I have been very outspoken about the negative behavior of Kelly Marlow as a school board member. The charges she was convicted of our serious....With that said, Kelley is a mother of school age children....I would hope the court takes that into consideration, and give her a light sentence.....
Tommy Wotton
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April 27, 2014
The one most responsible for considering children would be the parents. The person she defamed, and falsely accused also has family!
John Marinko
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April 26, 2014
Having had very little involvement with this case other than to read about it in the newspaper and the occasional rumor from friends, it sounds like justice was served. Lying to defame someone is not only a felony, but breaks one of God's commandments. Disgraceful behavior by vindictive self serving zealots never ends well for the perpetrator. Goodness and mercy will always follow the righteous.

Cherokee County's DA, Shannon Wallace and the entire prosecuting team are to be commended. Job well done!
Taylormc54
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April 26, 2014
Thanks to that jury. Enough of wasted time and money on this county that to those three.
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