21 Aug 2014
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Marlow, Associates Found Guilty In False Statements Trial

Cherokee School Board member Kelly Marlow and residents Robert Trim and Barbara Knowles have been convicted of lying to police when they accused Dr. Frank Petruzielo of trying to run them over last summer.

Marlow, Associates Found Guilty In False Statements Trial Marlow, Associates Found Guilty In False Statements Trial

A Cherokee County School Board member and two of her associates have been convicted by a jury for making false statements when they accused Superintendent Dr. Frank Petruzielo of trying to run them over last summer.

Marlow was convicted on two counts of making false statements, both of which are felonies. Robert Trim, Marlow’s political advisor, was found guilty on two counts of making false statements while resident Barbara Knowles, secretary of the Cherokee County Republican Party, was convicted on one count of filing a false police report and two counts of making false statements.

The jury, made up of four women and eight men, convicted all three defendants Saturday evening after deliberating for roughly four and a half our hours.

Both Knowles and Trim showed no emotion as the jury handed down the verdict Saturday evening in Cherokee County Superior Court. Marlow, however, could be seen and heard crying while the jury read the verdict and immediately after.

Georgia code 45-5-6.1 states public officers convicted of felonies are suspended from the office they currently hold, meaning District 1 residents are now without a representative on the school board. A panel late last year ruled Marlow could remain in office while the trial moved forward. 

The convictions stem from the trio’s allegations that Petruzielo tried to run them over as they crossed East Main Street in front of the Painted Pig Tavern in downtown Canton after the June 13 school board meeting.

Knowles made the original call to Cherokee County E-911 dispatchers, alleging Petruzielo tried to run them over in his vehicle.

The meat of the prosecution’s case relied on the surveillance camera posted outside the restaurant, which showed the defendants calmly walking into the restaurant while Petuzielo’s white BMW is passing along the street. 

Counts 2, 6, 7 and 10, which had to do with the false statements made by the defense to Canton police detectives over the telephone, were tossed by Superior Court Judge Ellen McElyea after ruling the prosecution could not prove those calls were made in Cherokee County. 

The making false statements charges, which are felonies, carries up to five years each in prison while the filing a false report of a crime charge comes with a sentence of up to 12 months in prison. 

Assistant District Attorney Rachelle Carnesale was reserved in her reaction to the verdict.

"We just thank the jury for their service and the verdict on behalf of the District Attorney's Office," she said. 

The defendants' attorneys are expected to appeal the case in the Georgia Court of Appeals. 

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