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Trial set Monday in mother's beating death

By Kathy Jefcoats

kjefcoats@news-daily.com

JONESBORO — A Morrow man and woman accused of beating to death her mother in 2011 are set for trial Monday in Clayton County Superior Court.

Latoris Antowyn Grovner, 22, and Kajul Tawice Harvey, 23, face murder and other felonies in the death of Harvey's mother, Alena Marble, 59. Police said the couple killed Marble in an argument over money.

They face life in prison if convicted of murder.

Police said Grovner beat Marble with his fists, a vodka bottle and a pot before knocking her to the floor in June 2011. Police said he wrapped her in blankets and put her in the trunk of her own car to die.

Grovner allegedly told Detective Joanna Southerland he "looked at the clock" after leaving Marble inside the trunk of her Honda Civic across from her Morrow apartment complex.

"He told me it was 8:45 a.m.," said Southerland during the couple's preliminary hearing in 2011. "The video showing him using her card twice to try to get money from the ATM showed the time to be 8:50 and 8:51."

The couple then walked a quarter mile to the Bank of America near Southlake Mall in another attempt to get money, Southerland said.

Police were drawn to the couple about noon June 4, said Southerland, when a witness found Marble's car apparently abandoned at a second complex. Police found blood dripping from the trunk, identified Marble as the car's owner and went to her home. Harvey answered the door.

"She acted very inappropriate," said Southerland. "I was just telling her we found her mother's car and blood coming from the trunk and she never reacted, cried, asked about any of that. She never expressed emotion or asked if her mother was in the car or even if her mother was alive, not one time,"

Armed with a search warrant, police opened the trunk and found Marble's body. At her apartment, police found massive amounts of blood, teeth and blood-covered vodka bottle, cooking pot, latex gloves and clothes, said Southerland. Harvey's eldest of two children, a 4-year-old girl, produced Marble's pocketbook, which was also smeared with blood.

The child also began sharing information with the police, she said.

"She said she was upstairs taking a nap and woke up to the noise of someone stepping on a squeak toy downstairs. Then she heard her grandmother crying," said Southerland. "She went downstairs to see why her nana was crying and laid on her chest, getting blood transfer on her orange shorts."

The child told police Grovner grabbed her by the throat and ordered her back upstairs.

Southerland said Grovner told police he'd been planning to get rid of Marble for weeks, by kidnapping her and taking her to a friend of his who would kill her.

After returning home from the bank, Southerland said the couple enjoyed a steak and potato dinner and made plans to go swimming Saturday afternoon at the apartment complex pool.

They have been held without bond in the Clayton County Jail since their June 2011 arrests.