Cobb County District Attorney Vic Reynolds announces that a man and a woman will each spend 15 years in prison for causing the 2013 death of a father from Florida.
Gharri Nicholas Lawson, 34, of Jacksonville, Fla., was a guest at a home shared by Danielle Matzkow Darby and Terry Louis Thomas II on March 18, 2014, when he died of a drug overdose. Ms. Darby and Mr. Thomas initially called 911 and said they couldn’t wake him, then told responding Cobb Police officers that Mr. Lawson had taken some pills.
But phone records and other evidence showed they immediately called a pawn shop after the police left the home on Elberta Drive, which is near Canton Road, then pawned the victim’s jewelry soon thereafter.
Later, while the two were initially in custody on theft charges related to the pawned jewelry, four other jail inmates reported that the defendants had said they intentionally gave Mr. Lawson drugs in order to steal from him. Toxicology reports on the victim ultimately confirmed he died of a lethal dose of heroin.
“They told police that Mr. Lawson had only been taking pills,” Deputy Chief ADA Jesse Evans said. “The toxicology report showed that to be false and confirmed what inmates had revealed. That, coupled with the pawning of the jewelry, showed this was a homicide, not a mere overdose.”
In emotional victim testimony, Mr. Lawson’s mother told the court her son was a friend to everyone he met, and he doted on his wife and three young children.
After accepting the guilty pleas, Cobb Superior Court Judge Adele Grubbs then sentenced each defendant to 15 years to serve in prison.
Marietta attorney J.M. Raffauf represented Ms. Darby. Charles Engelberger, also of Marietta, represented Mr. Thomas.