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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.

Kelly Marlow, second from left, cries as the jury reads the verdict. Barbara Knowles, to the right of Marlow, and Robert Trim, second from right, showed no emotion in court Saturday evening. Credit: Kristal Dixon
Kelly Marlow, second from left, cries as the jury reads the verdict. Barbara Knowles, to the right of Marlow, and Robert Trim, second from right, showed no emotion in court Saturday evening. Credit: Kristal Dixon

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. 

Frank Jones April 27, 2014 at 04:03 PM
And again Mr. Tabul, you argue that Dr. P is fiscally irresponsible but when presented with sound points you turn ti personal attacks calling Dr P fat and saying I'm average intelligence. You are the one lacking objectivity and intelligence. You can boom shakalaka all day but you are still a hack.
Allah Tabul April 27, 2014 at 05:47 PM
It is not a personal attack to point out the truth, Mr. Jones. Nor is it fiscally responsible to spend hundreds of millions of unavailable dollars. The man is a veritable disaster and a horrific role model for children in both appearance and pocketbook. What you call 'personal attack' is merely the truth, as Allah can attest. Your own response proves this nicely, by pointing out the economic decline and the crushed tax base. Thus, a terrible time to heap even more unpalatable debt onto our backs as your own words are witness to. Yet this is what your obvious hero has done. I now see that your history is replete with idol worship of this man but the Koran warns us of such nonsense. The road to prosperity and success is not paved with stones of debt, no matter how much your failed liberal philosophy insists otherwise. You can shoot the messenger but never the message. boom shakalaka amen!
Frank Jones April 28, 2014 at 04:49 PM
Mr. Tabul...Dr. P's weight has NOTHING to do with the debate and thus to bring it up is a personal attack. Your OPINION that borrowing money for capital projects is fiscally irresponsible is not a fact but is your OPINION. The bad economy did change the fact that capital projects and school expansion needed to be completed in order to meet the needs of Cherokee County. Many of the projects were either planned or underway when the economy tanked. And further, sound economic policy and theory supports the notion of Governments spending money in economic downturns when consumer spending is reduced. This lessens the impact of the decline allowing for a faster rebound. You still haven't presented any facts or alternatives to meeting the funding/expansion needs for CCSD. Give up...You lose.
nybelleinga May 03, 2014 at 01:09 PM
The only losers in all of this are our students. The 71% - 78% graduation rate in CCSD high schools is indefensible. That's horrible. No excuses.
Lone Stranger May 14, 2014 at 08:33 AM
Its good that these people got what they deserved. By the looks of the comments they are not popular people. The first problem is public schools. They are all just a lesser of evils proposition. Some better some worse but all just plain stink. Private schools are the only answer. Just look at the politics and wasted time and money in this case alone.Im sure if we all knew what really goes on our collective heads would explode. Public schools....just get your kid out of there no matter if it means selling the boat and growing up and acting like a parent.

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