On Tuesday, the former Cherokee School Board member’s co-defendant Robert Trim resigned from his post as a precinct chairman in the local Republican Party — and, as was foreshadowed in court last week, Trim and Marlow were married.
Marlow and former Cherokee GOP secretary Barbara Knowles are also working toward appealing their convictions.
Tuesday’s developments resulted from the sentence given to Marlow, Trim and Knowles last Thursday after their felony convictions for lying to police about Superintendent Frank Petruzielo. They falsely accused the superintendent of trying to run them down with his car in June 2013.
Superior Court Judge Ellen McElyea sentenced the trio to 60 days in jail and 10 years of probation, stipulating that for the next decade, they could have no involvement in politics and, among other conditions, they could have no contact with each other.
Marlow’s attorney Brian Steel shocked the packed courtroom during the sentencing, announcing Marlow and Trim would have difficulty not seeing each other, because they were engaged to be married.
Caught off guard by the announcement, McElyea agreed to give Marlow and Trim a week to wed, which the judge said would likely compel their probation officer to let them be together.
Marlow and Trim applied for a marriage license Friday and were married Tuesday, according the Cobb County Probate Court Office.
Trim also sent his letter of resignation to Cherokee Republican Party Chair Rick Davies on Tuesday morning, though Davies says he didn’t see it until an emergency meeting of the executive board had already been scheduled to discuss Trim’s position. With the resignation, though, the board ended up with no reason to consider what to do about Trim.
Davies said Trim asked the resignation letter not be released to the media, though the chairman did say it was a brief note.
Davies said, as he understands it, Trim, Marlow and Knowles also can’t be members of the Cherokee GOP, because of their sentence. The chairman added even without their sentences, the trio couldn’t be members of the party, because its bylaws require members to be qualified voters and felons can’t vote.
With the case over, the chairman said he looked forward to healing, after the trio’s political troubles exacerbated disagreements and vitriol in the local GOP.
“That is the foremost hope in my mind … We want to get people even when they disagree to come together,” Davies said. He added the party shouldn’t be about “personalities,” but rather about getting “good Republicans elected to office.”
Meanwhile, at least Marlow and Knowles are hoping the consequences of their convictions are temporary, as they plan to appeal in Cherokee Superior Court. They have 30 days from sentencing to file their appeals.
It wasn’t clear Wednesday whether Trim planned to file an appeal, as his attorney couldn’t be reached.
Knowles’ husband, Chris Knowles, has created an online donation fund on Crowdrise.com, asking for money to pay her legal fees so far and throughout the appeals process. As of late Wednesday, $45 of the $25,000 goal had been collected.
In establishing the fund, Chris Knowles wrote his wife was an honest woman, whose statements were “twisted and perverted” by authorities to convict her, because of her political leanings.
“However, those in power who did their ultimate best to ensure that Barbara was guilty of having a political motive, clearly had political motives of their own,” the husband wrote. “Rest assured, we are going to pursue vindication and exoneration to the fullest extent of the law because while Cherokee County may not care about the law and the Constitution, we know there are many people who do!”