Key players in the Justin Ross Harris case
by Joe Kirby, Otis A. Brumby III and Lee B. Garrett, - Around Town Columnists
July 12, 2014 04:00 AM | 6753 views | 4 4 comments | 30 30 recommendations | email to a friend | print
ONCE AGAIN, Cobb has been in the national media spotlight with the circus surrounding the toddler death of Cooper Harris, the 22-month old who died after being left in his father’s car. You would have to be a Civil War re-enactor still camping at the foot of Kennesaw Mountain from the June Sequential Celebration to have missed all the news satellite trucks parked outside the Cobb Courthouse last week at the probable cause hearing of the tot’s father, Justin Ross Harris. Media observers are already comparing the level of interest in this Cobb case to that of Scott Peterson and Casey Anthony. 

Water cooler conversations across Cobb and the entire country are abuzz with this case and interest shows little sign of waning as the investigation continues. Many residents are asking who the Cobb Countians are on the legal sides of this case. 

Local attorney Maddox Kilgore is representing Harris. Kilgore is a lifelong Marietta resident and a partner with Kilgore & Rodriguez. He earned an undergraduate degree at Emory University and a law degree from Samford University, and he was admitted to the Georgia Bar in January of 1995. Before going into private practice, Kilgore clerked for former Cobb County Superior Court Judge and current Georgia Supreme Court Justice Harris Hines.  Kilgore was an assistant district attorney for six years before entering private practice. He is also the past president of the Marietta Schools Foundation. 

Kilgore’s law partner, Carlos Rodriguez, sat at the defense table next to Harris during last week’s hearing.  Rodriguez grew up in Cobb and is a graduate of Marietta High School. His mother was a longtime guidance counselor at MHS.   Rodriguez is a double Dawg, having graduated from UGA undergrad and law school, and he was admitted to the Georgia Bar in November 2010. He is also currently the youngest member of the Marietta Rotary Club. 

Cobb County District Attorney Vic Reynolds, who was widely vilified on social media immediately after the initial arrest of Mr. Harris, has shown his office is proceeding professional and judicially.  Reynolds is from the mill village in Rome, where his mother was the longtime circulation manager for the Rome News Tribune. He was a police officer for four years before attending Georgia State’s law school. Reynolds’s was an assistant district attorney in Fulton and in Cobb, then became Chief Magistrate in 1994. He left the bench in 1999 and practiced criminal defense law with Jimmy Berry until running successfully for Cobb’s district attorney in 2012. Political observers believe he could be a strong contender for attorney general should former Cobb County Chairman and current AG Sam Olens decide to run for governor in four years. 

  The assistant district attorneys arguing the case for the DA’s office are Chuck Boring and Jesse Evans.

 Boring is a senior assistant DA, and he is in the Crimes against Children Unit in the Cobb DA’s office. During the most recent hearing, Chuck was seen on TV questioning witnesses. Boring is from Griffin and graduated from Georgia Southern University before getting a law degree at Georgia State. He has been a prosecutor since 2001. 

Evans is the deputy chief assistant DA, and is the Homicide Major Crime prosecutor in Cobb.

He grew up in Acworth and graduated from North Cobb High School. Evans earned undergraduate and law degrees from Mercer University. He’s been in the Cobb DA’s office since 2001 and is a Marietta Rotarian.

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BILL OR BOB? Tuesday night’s District 1 commission debate was built up by some politicos to be an Ali v. Frazier-type event between candidates Bill Byrne and Bob Weatherford.  Even moderator Pete Combs tried to lighten the mood at the beginning of the debate by telling both gentlemen, “They’re microphones, they’re not clubs.” Like most built-up events, they seldom live up to the hype and this debate was no different. Instead, as it should be, a fairly cordial affair between the two candidates focused more on issues and less on cheap barbs.  

Later in the week, AT received this letter from Scott Tucker outlining his position to formally endorse Weatherford. Tucker retired after 31 years of service as a Marietta fire marshal. In his first attempt at public office, Tucker received 19 percent of the votes in a crowded field of candidates, in what was an impressive showing for the first-time office seeker. In his letter to AT, Tucker writes:  

“On May 20th, west Cobb had a choice of 4 very good candidates who, along with me, were running for the District 1 county commission seat. Bill Byrne and Bob Weatherford were chosen by the voters to be in the runoff.

“Before entering the race, I had a meal with each of these men to discuss this election. I had never met Bill before we had lunch in late 2013, and I was very interested in his views and desire for this position. Bill impressed me with his drive and strong opinion of how he saw Cobb County. After leaving lunch that day I felt our goals were similar but my approach at leading and working together was quite different.

“In January of this year, I met Bob Weatherford for the first time as well. Bob was as different as night and day from Bill. At this time Bob was deciding whether to leave his position in Acworth and jump into the race. Bob and I quickly found common ground on police and him growing up in the church, but neither man had exactly my same vision. During the campaign there were many issues debated that I hadn’t discussed with either man, but I found myself falling in line more with Bill on issues while agreeing with Bob on how he communicated. Being an interviewer in my job as well as a youth director at my church, I value the skill that a good communicator has and how beneficial it can be to solving problems.

“For many west Cobb citizens, they just know who they don’t want — not who they do. I find myself conducting a lot of research and prayer before making decisions like this that are so important, so I went to each man again in the last few weeks. Even though I agree with Bill on many views and appreciate his strong stance, I believe that Bob’s desire to listen will be most helpful for citizens. I take this election seriously and want the best for Cobb as a fellow taxpayer who will be represented by one of these men. I, like many people, just want an honest person who will listen and properly represent all the people of west Cobb. I believe that even though I have a slightly different vision than Bob Weatherford, he is a strong person who is willing to consider others views. This is vitally important in a public servant especially during these times of conflict in our political process.

“That is why I will be voting for Bob Weatherford in the runoff election for county commission.”

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 STATE SCHOOL SUPER: Mike Buck of Rome, the leader in the GOP primary election for state school superintendent, received the endorsement of former candidate and Cobb community leader Fitz Johnson.

“Over the course of the campaign, I was able to spend time with Mike and get to know him and his wonderful family. He has tremendous experience managing and motivating employees under his leadership. I believe in his abilities and have no doubt his decisions will be in the best interest of Georgia’s students.

Buck faces Tifton native Richard Woods in the Republican runoff July 22. The winner will face either Democrat Alisha Thomas Morgan or Valerie Wilson in the general election in November.

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EVENTS: Mark and Janice Reardon will host a re-election fundraiser for Secretary of State Brian Kemp at the Clubhouse at Waterford Green on Sunday, July 20 from 5:30 to 7 p.m. with Johnny Isakson as the special guest. For more information, contact haley@votebriankemp.com.

Comments
(4)
Comments-icon Post a Comment
AmericanMale
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July 15, 2014
Scott Tucker is entitled to his vote preference. But I see the same two candidates differently: one guided by firm principles, the other guided by polls and influencers. I'm voting for Bill!
the facts are
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July 13, 2014
When did the communication style ever protect we, the people? Commissioner Goreham has touted for 12 years that she has an 'open door' policy -- how has that equated to fair, equitable representation for ALL of District 1 constituents?

We, the people, in District 1 expect a commissioner to listen, learn, act on what is best for ALL the district and county -- not the special interest groups that continue to run the county. Our desire is for something better and different than what we have had for the last 12 years -- not more of the same.
anonymous
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July 12, 2014
Surely Scott Tucker must be unaware of Weatherford's vote for the TSPLOST and other taxes he now proposes!
Silly logic
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July 12, 2014
let me get this straight, Scott agrees with Bill Byrne on the issues but likes Bob's style of communicating better. If I follow that silly logic correctly, Style is more important than Substance.

Not that this race to the same level, it clearly explains why we elected Obama as president.

Just when I thought I had heard it all...
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