Photo by Heather Middleton
By Kathy Jefcoats
A woman charged, along with her boyfriend, in the beating and torture of her mother, said nothing during her first appearance Monday afternoon in Clayton County Magistrate Court.
But her family had plenty to say when the hearing ended.
Relatives of Kajul Tawice Harvey, 21, sobbed and declared Harvey's innocence in Friday's death of Alena Marble, 59.
Clayton County police charged Harvey, and her off-and-on boyfriend, Latoris "Tori" Grovner, 21, with Marble's murder. Harvey is reportedly several months pregnant with Grovner's child, and has two other children.
"[Harvey] was forced to do this," said Pamela Davis, one of Marble's granddaughters. "She was so afraid of him, she was afraid if she moved, he'd kill her and the kids."
Marble's body was found early Saturday afternoon inside the trunk of her gray Honda Civic, which was parked inside the Woods of Southlake Apartment Complex, in Morrow. Witnesses reported a strong odor and red liquid emanating from the abandoned car.
Warrants secured by Clayton police detectives allege that Grovner went to Marble's home early Friday morning with the intent to kidnap her. Grovner reportedly told police he had been planning for weeks to "get rid of" Marble. The two argued, and Grovner punched her in the face, police said. When she tried to call 911, Grovner allegedly grabbed a 1-liter glass bottle and hit her more than once in the head. He then used a metal pot to hit her multiple times, said police.
Police said when Marble was helpless and incapable of defense, but still alive and breathing, Grovner allegedly wrapped her up in a blanket and put her inside the Honda's trunk, drove it to the Morrow complex, and walked back to Marble's home on nearby Mt. Zion Road. Police said Grovner, and Harvey, allegedly cleaned up blood, and disposed of the bottle and pot.
The death ends a tumultuous relationship that spanned several years, according to court records. At the time of his arrest for murder, Grovner was out on bond for allegedly stealing Marble's 1995 Ford Aerostar minivan, on May 17.
Two months after Harvey gave birth to the couple's son in 2009, Grovner was arrested for allegedly cutting her with a knife, and beating her. He pleaded as a first offender to the charges, and was sentenced to probation, and was ordered to undergo anger management, and to have no contact with Harvey or her family.
Harvey got a 12-month restraining order, in November 2009, to keep Grovner away from her. Court records show he violated the order March 22, 2010, by going to the home she shared with Marble.
Harvey asked, April 1, 2010, that the order be rescinded. The request was granted April 16. During a May 12 probation-violation hearing, a transcript shows Grovner's defense attorney making an appeal for leniency because Grovner was expecting a child with an unidentified woman.
However, the same woman is quoted in the transcript as telling Clayton Superior Court Judge Matthew Simmons, "I had an abortion." It is unclear if the woman was Harvey. Simmons appears incredulous that Harvey wants to continue to have contact with Grovner after Grovner beat her, cut her hair and stabbed her hand.
"The victim wants you to still be with her," said Simmons. "I don't know why. Why she wants to be with somebody that would do that to her, I have no idea."
Before revoking Grovner's probation and sentencing him to serve six months in jail, the judge made reference to whether the defendant would be able to stay out of trouble once released from jail.
"We'll see if you do that, or not," said Simmons.
In court Monday, Grovner told Magistrate Richard Brown he had no questions about the charges against him. Marble's relatives put the blame for her death squarely on Grovner.
"My mother got several texts from him and he called her, telling her he would kill her," said Yolanda Marble. "He killed my momma."
Veronica Stephens said the victim was her aunt. "She was a free spirit," said Stephens. "She was a wonderful person, I would put her down as a flower. She was loving and very beautiful."
Stephens said the whole family got together the Saturday before Marble's death for Stephens' daughter's graduation. "We were just all at the park, having a good time," she said. "My aunt really enjoyed herself."
Davis said her grandmother was family-oriented. "Her last words were to tell everybody, 'I love them,'" said Davis. "Those were my grandma's last words -- 'I love you' and 'Stick together as a family.'"
Grovner and Harvey are being held without bond in the Clayton County Jail, pending a hearing later this month in Superior Court.