Former Cherokee County leaders request bond until appeals settled
by Michelle Babcock
July 13, 2014 12:34 AM | 2140 views | 0 0 comments | 9 9 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Three political leaders convicted in April of felonies for making false statements, after they claimed the Cherokee Schools superintendent tried to run them down with his car after a heated board meeting, have asked to stay out of jail while their appeals move forward.

Former school board member Kelly Marlow Trim, husband Robert Trim and associate Barbara Knowles will ask Blue Ridge Judicial Circuit Superior Court Judge Ellen McElyea to grant them bond pending appeals, which would allow them to stay out of jail as their appeals move forward, despite sentences including jail time.

Last month, they all appealed the guilty verdicts handed down by a jury in April, and they are set to appear in court July 25, at 9 a.m., with the request for bond.

But the Cherokee District Attorney’s Office does not support the request, the prosecutor on the case, Chief Assistant District Attorney Rachelle Carnesale, said Friday.

“An appeal bond is sometimes sought after trial so that a defendant can remain out of jail pending appeal, purportedly so they can help with the appeal. We will be opposing an appeal bond in this case,” Carnesale said. “The defendants were given the discretion to decide when, during the course of this first year, they will serve the 60-day incarceration portion of their sentences.”

The three were each sentenced to serve 60 days in jail, with 10 years of probation, community service and fines. They also can have no involvement with politics for the next decade.

The original motion, filed May 9 for bond pending appeal and signed by Robert Trim’s attorney Michael Dupont, states various arguments why Trim should be granted bond pending the appeal.

Since Trim was not convicted of violent or drug-related crimes, nor was he sentenced to five years of incarceration or more, Dupont wrote, citing Georgia Code, “pursuant to said statute, Mr. Trim is not bar-red from being pla-ced on bond pending appeal.”

The situation began in June 2013, when the three told Canton Police that Superintendent of Schools Dr. Frank Petruzielo almost ran them over outside of a tavern in downtown Canton after a heated school board meeting.

They were arrested in July 2013 on charges of making false statements, and all three were found guilty April 26 of multiple felonies for lying to the police.

Kelly Marlow and Robert Trim were married less than a week after their sentencing. The judge, not knowing the two were engaged, initially sentenced them to have no contact with each other.

Marlow’s attorney, Brian Steel, asked the judge to suspend the provision of their sentence for a week so they could wed, as marriage often sways probation officers to allow offenders to be tog-ether, regardless of their sentence.

Marlow Trim, a school board member at the time of the incident and trial, resigned her District 1 seat on the Cherokee County Board of Education following her felony convictions.

Trim, a long-time controversial political player in Cherokee, resigned from his post as a precinct chairman in the local Republican Party after his conviction.

Knowles resigned from her position as secretary for the local Republican Party immediately following the conviction.

As of early June, the Cherokee Sheriff’s Office said none of the defendants had yet served any of their jail time.

Also in June, the defendants filed motions for a new trial, but District Attorney Shannon Wallace said last month “it is rare to have a conviction overturned on appeal in Cherokee County.”

Comments-icon Post a Comment
No Comments Yet
*We welcome your comments on the stories and issues of the day and seek to provide a forum for the community to voice opinions. All comments are subject to moderator approval before being made visible on the website but are not edited. The use of profanity, obscene and vulgar language, hate speech, and racial slurs is strictly prohibited. Advertisements, promotions, and spam will also be rejected. Please read our terms of service for full guides