He was one of two men involved in a chase that ended in a hit-and-run crash that killed two teens. Now, one of drivers convicted in the 2014 crash says he wasn’t given a fair trial.
Garrett Kyle Anderson of Kennesaw called a locksmith after locking his keys in his car at a Cobb County Walmart on May 25, 2014, according to investigators. Anderson told the locksmith, Tansu Kanlica, to follow him to an ATM so he could get the $175 he owed. But then Anderson appeared to try to get away without paying, according to prosecutors.
During Anderson’s trial, Kanlica testified that Anderson “brake checked” him, and that he swerved left to avoid hitting him, then over-corrected to the right.
Kanlica’s car jumped the curb on Barrett Lakes Boulevard and he hit three teenagers on the sidewalk. Reina As-Salaam and Julianne Hope Ferrell were killed, and Monica Epps suffered a broken leg.
Reina, who attended Tri-Cities High School in East Point, died at the scene of the wreck. Juliana, who attended Sprayberry High School, died from her injuries at WellStar Kennestone Hospital. Monica Epps survived the crash. The three girls were best friends, relatives later testified.
"Garrett Anderson chose to lead the chase," prosecutor Jaret Usher said after Anderson’s conviction. “He engaged in this chase with Mr. Kanlica. They are both responsible.”
But according to a motion filed in Cobb County Superior Court, Anderson was portrayed as a “speeding, reckless and careless driver” during his trial, while the jury was not allowed to hear about Kanlica’s prior arrest history.
“The Court refused to allow the defense to introduce evidence of Kanlica’s prior battery conviction but then, on the other hand, allowed the State to introduce prejudicial propensity evidence of Mr. Anderson’s two prior speeding tickets (one of which he received when he was only 17 years old) and two wholly irrelevant videos posted on Mr. Anderson’s social media page,” Anderson’s motion states.
The State was also allowed to show a video prepared by Cobb police showing an officer traveling at a high rate of speed, according to the motion.
“There was not evidence that anyone was traveling that fast at or before the time of the incident...” the motion states. “As a result, there was no basis to admit a prejudicial video showing a police car traveling at an unrealistic and unsubstantiated speed.”
Anderson was convicted of two counts of vehicular homicide, one count of serious injury and one count of aggressive driving. Anderson was 25 when he was sentenced in 2015 to serve 15 years.
Kanlica was convicted of homicide by vehicle in the first degree, hit-and-run and serious injury by vehicle and sentenced to 20 years. His sentence was later reduced to 10 years, court records show.
Earlier this year, Kanlica filed a motion to shorten his sentence, but it was denied. In June, he filed an appeal.
Anderson is expected to be in court Tuesday at 1:30 p.m. The Cobb District Attorney’s office declined to comment on the motion for a new trial. Anderson’s attorney could not be reached for comment.
In other news:
Support real journalism. Support local journalism. Subscribe to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution today. See offers.
Your subscription to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution funds in-depth reporting and investigations that keep you informed. Thank you for supporting real journalism.