By Kathy Jefcoats
JONESBORO — A Morrow man convicted in the brutal beating death of his mother’s girlfriend could face 23 years in prison when he is sentenced in Clayton County Superior Court Monday.
Clayton County District Attorney Tracy Graham-Lawson said she is reviewing case law that could allow prosecutors to seek life in prison for Latoris Grovner. Grovner was convicted of voluntary manslaughter Jan. 18 in the 2011 death of Alena Marble.
Grovner beat Marble with a vodka bottle and metal saucepan before wrapping her in three blankets and putting her in the trunk of her own car to die in the June heat. Within minutes, he was at a Bank of America, trying to access her money through the ATM.
Jurors refused to discuss the verdict with news reporters.
Marble’s daughter, Kajul Harvey, is being held in the Clayton County Jail, awaiting her own day in court.
Grovner’s defense attorney, David White, said Jan. 18 Marble brought the violence on herself. Witnesses during the trial testified that Marble was terrified of Harvey and Grovner. After the verdict came down, White said that Marble should have removed herself from the situation.
“In talking to all of these people, she said she was afraid of them,” said White. “She knew she was playing with fire, she’d known for quite a while she was playing with fire.”
White also said Grovner was obsessed with Harvey aborting their first child together — allegedly at Marble’s urging — and was eager to have their second child. Harvey had two children of her own but Grovner was looking forward to having his own, said White.
“I think messing with the defendant’s kids is never a good recipe,” he said.
Assistant District Attorney Katie Powers argued for a murder conviction and said she was surprised by the verdict.
“The evidence was clear and appropriate for malice murder, especially since he planned it and had an alternate plan if that one failed,” she said. “Plus, the brutal nature of the crime shows it was clearly not a crime of passion.”