Marlow and associates to be arraigned on February 5
by Joshua Sharpe
January 18, 2014 11:55 PM | 3503 views | 0 0 comments | 27 27 recommendations | email to a friend | print
CANTON — Cherokee School Board Member Kelly Marlow and two of her associates are set to be arraigned Feb. 5 on felony charges of making false statements that Cherokee Superintendent of Schools Dr. Frank Petruzielo tried to run them over with his car.

Marlow, her political adviser Robert Trim and Cherokee GOP Secretary Barbara Knowles are scheduled to appear in Cherokee County Superior Court at 9 a.m. to tell the court how they plead to their charges in the June 13 incident, according to the clerk of court’s office.

The hearing will come two months after the case against Marlow, Trim and Knowles stalled in court when Cherokee Chief Superior Court Judge Jackson Harris recused himself.

Harris said at the time he was reassigning the case to Judge Ellen McElyea, because his wife is a school teacher in the Cherokee County School District.

McElyea said minutes after Harris made that announcement during what would have been the arraignment hearing for the trio, she wasn’t sure if she’d be able to keep the case.

McElyea’s assistant, Doug Barnes, confirmed Friday the judge was still assigned the case, but said he couldn’t speak to whether she would keep the case or not.

“There’s been no additional reassignment,” Barnes said. “That’s about all I can say.”

Marlow, Trim and Knowles have all strongly maintained their innocence in the incident, which police say took place after a heated school board meeting, as the three were walking to the Painted Pig Tavern in downtown Canton. Petruzielo has also been firm that the claims made against him were false.

During the hearing, McElyea could consider a request made by Marlow’s attorney to throw out her indictment, which was handed down by a Cherokee grand jury in October and charged her with four counts of making false statements. Trim and Knowles were indicted on multiple counts each of the same crime.

Marlow’s attorney, Brian Steel, filed for the indictment to be overturned Oct. 24, arguing she was “denied her right” to appear before the grand jury.

Also during the hearing Feb. 5, McElyea could consider a request by the prosecutor in the case, Chief Assistant District Attorney Rachelle Carnesale, to institute a “gag order,” limiting all parties involved from speaking about the case publicly.

In November, a panel formed by Gov. Nathan Deal recommended Marlow be allowed to keep her seat on the school board as the criminal case against her moves forward. Deal followed that recommendation, and his office said in a news release the decision was final.

But, if found guilty in the case, Marlow would face suspension and, ultimately, removal from office upon final conviction, according to state law.

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