A new murder trial started Monday, two months after a Clayton County judge stopped a previous attempt amid a mistrial.
Kajul “Beauty” Harvey is accused of orchestrating the fatal beating of her mother, Alena Marble, in June 2011.
Harvey, 23, faces murder, kidnapping, aggravated assault, aggravated battery, evidence tampering, concealing a death, burglary, false imprisonment, robbery and financial transaction card theft charges in connection with Marble’s death.
This is the second indictment Harvey is named on for the same death, along with her boyfriend, Latoris Grovner.
A Clayton jury in February convicted Grovner of voluntary manslaughter for pummeling Marble about the head and shoulders, then leaving the 59-year-old to die.
The original indictment charged him with murder, aggravated assault and battery, and felony murder – causing a person’s death during the commission of a felony.
Clayton County Superior Court Judge Matthew O. Simmons allowed the jury the option of finding Grovner guilty of the less serious charge of voluntary manslaughter.
Grovner admitted to police that he beat Marble with his fist, a vodka bottle, and then a saucepan before wrapping her up in blankets and leaving her in the trunk of a car on a 90-degree day – all as part of a plan to, as he told police “get her out of the way.” A jury found Grovner guilty of involuntary manslaughter, and he was sentenced to 30 years in prison.
Both Harvey and Grovner tried unsuccessfully to pull money from Marble’s bank account using her check card after her death, authorities said.
In his taped interview with police, Grovner told investigators that the scheme was Harvey’s idea. Harvey, he said, left the door open to her mother’s home the night of the attack so that he could get into the house.
In the pending case against Harvey, more charges were added, as well as one count of felony murder for each accusation filed against her for a total of 23 counts.
If found guilty, she faces life in jail without the possibility of parole.
Simmons declared a mistrial in April when Harvey’s attorney, Lloyd Matthews, told the jury that Harvey cooperated with police, disobeying the judge’s strict and specific mandate that the jurors not know such information.
“Now the jury’s heard that there is a statement,” Simmons said to attorneys on both sides after dismissing jurors in the ill-fated trial. “Even if the jury hears the defendant testify, there’s no guarantee that that statement comes in. The jury is going to wonder, ‘If she made a statement to the police, why haven’t we heard it?’ The natural inclination of the jury is to say, ‘Well, the police must have done something wrong.’”
A new jury was selected and seated late Monday afternoon, and opening statements from both the prosecution and the defense followed by testimony begins Tuesday at 9 a.m.
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