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Public Safety

Couple sent to prison for manslaughter


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.


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Attend the Protecting our children seminar this Wednesday

The Neighborhood Safety Commission Community Awareness Committee’s April panel discussion entitled “Protecting Our Children” will be 7 p.m Wednesday, April 15, in the 2nd floor Board of Commissioners meeting room, 100 Cherokee Street. The panel Discussion will be broadcast live on Government Access Channel TV23. Panel members will include:

  • Representative from Safepath Children’s Advocacy Center
  • Representative from Wellspring
  • Cobb Police Det. Adam Payne,
  • Cobb Fire Lt. Shane Roland,
  • Assistant District Attorney Chuck Boring,
  • Sabrina Watson, Cobb DFCS
  • School counselor
  • Kim McCoy, Director Victim Witness Unit Office of the District Attorney, Moderator

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Cobb Police honored with awards

Cobb County Police Department

Cobb County Police recently recognized police officers for outstanding contributions to the county at the police awards recognition ceremony. Individuals who have made Cobb a better and safer place received awards, promotions and certificates during the ceremony at Jennie T. Anderson Theatre.

Officers were recognized for their achievements in fitness, community service, meritorious service, bureau commendations, saving lives and one officer received the Blue Star. Congratulations to all of the honorees!

To learn more visit:


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April 20 rally to kick-off Crime Victims’ Rights Week



April 19-25, 2015 is National Crime Victims’ Rights Week, and Cobb District Attorney Vic Reynolds’ office has planned events that correlate with the theme of Engaging Communities, Empowering Victims.

At noon on April 20, DA Reynolds, along with Cobb Solicitor General Barry Morgan, Jinger Robbins of SafePath Children’s Advocacy Center, and Holly Tuchman of the Northwest Georgia YWCA, will host a community rally and kick-off celebration in Glover Park.

Then on April 23, the DA’s Office will host the first of five classes on domestic violence. Although geared toward law-enforcement officers, the training is open to the public.

“Violence in the home is among the most common types of crime, and it tears at the very foundation of communities,” DA Reynolds said. “We are committed to doing everything possible to end it.”

The Georgia Bureau of Investigation, the Georgia Commission on Family Violence, the Prosecuting Attorneys’ Council of Georgia, the Criminal Justice Coordinating Council and other agencies and groups are also holding events throughout the month of April.

On April 14, there will be a ceremony and open house for crime victims at the Georgia Department of Corrections’ Roberts Chapel, in Forsyth. Victims will be able to provide impact statements to officials, as well as learn about other services and resources available to them. The ceremony starts at 10 a.m., and the open house is from noon to 4 p.m.

On April 15, the Neighborhood Safety Commission will present “Protecting Our Children,” a community awareness panel, at 7 p.m. in the Cobb Board of Commissioners’ meeting room. The panel will also be shown on cable channel 23.

On April 17 and April 22, SafePath and the Junior League of Cobb Marietta will provide free Stewards of Children training sessions. This is a nationally recognized, sexual-abuse prevention training program for adults on how to prevent, recognize and react responsibly to child sexual abuse.

And on April 18, the Crime Victims Advocacy Council will host its annual Homicide Memorial Service at 5 p.m. at First Baptist Church of Decatur.

“Victims of crime suffer from financial losses, physical injuries, and emotional trauma. It is our responsibility as citizens to engage our communities in activities that promote victims’ rights and bring awareness of the issues,” said Kim McCoy, director of the Victim Witness Unit in the Cobb DA’s Office. “Crime and victimization impacts not just those individuals violated. The entire community suffers when criminal acts are perpetrated against our citizens. Through the work of agencies like the Victim Witness Units, SafePath, and the YWCA, communities are informed of these issues and victims are empowered to have a voice in their own healing and in the criminal justice process.”

For more information on any of the events, contact McCoy at 770-528-3042 or

National Crime Victims’ Rights Week was started in the 1980s under President Ronald Reagan. April is also Sexual Assault Awareness Month and Child Abuse Prevention Month.

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New charging station to help save taxpayer funds

Cobb County officials will unveil a new electric vehicle charging station in Marietta as part of its commitment to saving taxpayer dollars and preserving the environment.

Officials will open the Level 3 DC Fast Charger during a ceremony 10 a.m., Wednesday, April 8, at Powder Springs Station, 1150 Powder Springs St. The $30,000 charger, which will work with any electric car which supports a DC/faster charger plug, has been donated to the county by Nissan of North America.

Cobb County Government will use the charger for its growing fleet of electric vehicles. The public will also be able to use the charger with a pay service through

The county recently added 16 new electric Nissan LEAFs to its vehicle fleet, which will result in less taxpayer dollars spent on fuel. The leased vehicles are spread among various county departments, including the Tax Assessor’s Office, Risk Management, Juvenile Court, Senior Services and Fleet Management.

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East Cobb County Fire and Emergency Services Honored at Annual Awards Ceremony


Fire Fighters from Station No. 14 (Mountain View): Engineer Mike Cunningham, Firefighter Russell Brown, Lieutenant Edward Townsend, Engineer Jeremy DeJames, Firefighter Jared Barnhill and Engineer Robert Wilbur


On February 26, personnel from East Cobb’s Fire and Emergency Department were honored guests at
the annual awards, promotions and recognition dinner produced by the East Cobb Business Association. Held at the Olde Towne Athletic Club, the dinner was East Cobb’s way of saying “thanks” to our first responder heroes.

To continue the celebration, the next day sheet cakes were delivered to the six fire stations located in East Cobb.

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County continues environmentally-responsible initiatives

Cobb County continues its efforts to save money and the environment through green technology. Fleet Management staff recently purchased two alternate fuel vehicles for the Cobb Police Department. The “ZERO” motorcycles were purchased from WOW Motorcycles in Cobb. These motorcycles are completely electric and will replace the police department’s two gas-powered 2004 dirt bikes.

“My vision for Cobb County Fleet is to continue to deploy more green technologies that demonstrate our commitment to environmental responsibility and sustainability,” Al Curtis, Fleet Management director, said.

The motorcycles will be used for high visibility patrol on the county’s 12.8-mile portion of the Silver Comet Trail and at high profile events such as the North Georgia State Fair, the Yaarab Shrine Circus and the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life. Their hybrid on/off road design allows them to also be used in all county parks. The motorcycles electric and silent operation allow for zero-emission patrols without disturbing noise or fumes.

Cobb County PENS begins collaboration with

Computer is a social network site that is set up as a private network for the neighbors in your neighborhood to talk online and share posts with the community. A neighborhood “lead” sets it up on the website. Once the boundary map is set up the lead invites residents in the neighborhood to join the site. Once you personally are signed up, you may share as much or as little about yourself as you wish. Then, similar to other social networking sites, you may receive notifications on your mobile device and/or to your email. This can be a relief for that person in your HOA who is responsible for sending out emails on everything from garage sales to lost pets. All of that information may be shared right on Nextdoor.

More details regarding the privacy, safety and guidelines for can be found at this link.

PENS was started in 2006 when the supervision at Cobb Police Pct 4 realized a need to communicate with the public and let them know to close their garage doors and lock their vehicles at their residences overnight to prevent a rash of car break ins. We knew that the subdivision and home owner associations of East Cobb had set up email groups within their communities. PENS was set up to link into that existing email network to communicate with the citizens of East Cobb in the hopes to enhance crime prevention and safety. Similar to how we linked in to the existing network of email groups, PENS has recently joined, which was also an existing communication network in Cobb County.

We are broadening and enhancing our networking capability with PENS in coordination with is a tool for us to effectively share information on crime prevention and safety, public events, and emergency notifications. You can expect to receive local crime and safety updates from the Cobb County Police on Nextdoor. Please be assured that your website remains private. Cobb County Police and its officers will NOT be able to see any of the content on your website except for the direct replies to our posts. facilitates a virtual neighborhood watch. For example, is a burglary or other crime occurs in your neighborhood and there is important information regarding the suspects that would benefit the safety of the surrounding community, any neighbor on would have the ability to share the pertinent information under the category crime and safety. You are able to choose to share it only in your neighborhood or expand out to adjacent neighborhoods. This information is available as soon as you post it and neighbors may receive it as a notification on their mobile devices. Now everyone knows about the incident soon after it happens and they may ensure the safety and security of their homes and family.
Armed with the knowledge of any provided suspect information, people can CALL 911 if the suspects are seen again.

Please note: Any emergencies or reports of current suspicious activities need to go through our 911 dispatch. will not be constantly monitored.

You will be able to send a direct message to us to clarify any inconsistencies and receive an official update from Cobb County Police. We will be located under “City Agencies” on the left column. “Cobb County Police CIU Precinct4” will be the name for your Pct 4 East Cobb Precinct. You will also receive posts from our public information office at headquarters. Their Nextdoor name will be “Cobb County Police Department.” also enables us to send a post to a single subdivision or expand to one specific patrol beat area, one entire precinct or out to Cobb County as a whole. It will be immediate information that we can post to the affected area. An example of police notification using is while you may be asleep, Morning Watch Officers catch a group of persons entering autos. They recover property but cannot locate all of the victims, or potential victims. We can then send out a post to that neighborhood with instructions or a lookout. If we had a crime and have a description of the vehicle, we can send out that description to enable you to call 911 if you see it.

The Precinct 4 PENS monthly bulletin will also be posted on in addition to being sent out to our PENS email group.

There are currently 5,801 residents on in the Pct 4 “East Cobb Precinct.”
We look forward to connecting to our community using this additional resource to augment the PCT 4 PENSPolice EmailNotification System.

(Source: Cobb County PENS)

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In-depth emergency preparedness training available

The Community Emergency Response Team program trains people to be better prepared to respond to emergency situations in their communities. When emergencies happen, CERT members can give critical support to first responders, provide immediate assistance to victims, and organize spontaneous volunteers at a disaster site. CERT members can also help with non-emergency projects that improve the safety of the community.

Initial CERT training will be held in April at the Cobb County Emergency Operations Center, 140 North Marietta Parkway, Marietta. The class will meet from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. for three Saturdaysessions. The session dates are April 4, 11 and 18. Students must attend all sessions listed in order to complete the program. Participants must be at least 16 years old. If you would like to register, please contact Kimberly Schneider at or at 770-499-4567.

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Jury quickly convicts man in 12-hour rape, assault

Cobb County Police Department

Cobb County District Attorney Vic Reynolds announces that a Marietta man has been convicted of rape and other charges related to a prolonged attack against a woman he had dated.

A Cobb jury on Thursday took about an hour to convict David Martin, 55, of all charges, including rape, aggravated sodomy, false imprisonment, aggravated assault and possession of a firearm during commission of a felony.

About 11 a.m. on Oct. 15, 2013, the victim went to Mr. Martin’s Timberly Drive home to visit. Later, after an argument, he refused to let her leave. Over the next 12 hours, the defendant dragged the victim by the hair, bound her wrists and ankles with zip ties, tied a rope around her neck, threatened her with a handgun and forced her to have sex with him, and also shaved her head. When he finally let her go, he put her cut hair in a bag and gave it to her as a souvenir.

She fled “with her head shaved, her dignity taken from her, her body violated in the worst way,” said ADA Chuck Boring, who prosecuted the case with ADA Courtney Veal. “She had been tied up like an animal — and treated worse.”

Mr. Martin later wrote to the victim from jail, asking her forgiveness.

Before imposing sentence, Cobb Superior Court Judge Reuben M. Green said, “This was one of the worst rape cases I’ve heard.”

“Over the course of those 12 hours, you tortured another human being,” Judge Green said. “I hear a lot of ugly things and I cannot think of much worse.”

Judge Green then sentenced Mr. Martin to life in prison, plus the mandatory five years on the firearms charge.

Marietta lawyer Charles Engelberger III represented the defendant, who has been in custody since shortly after the attack.

Cobb Police investigated this case. The trial began Monday with jury selection.


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