Melody Farris knew her arrest was imminent. Identified by police early on as the prime suspect in her husband’s gruesome killing, the 59-year-old mother of four would wait nearly a year before Cherokee County deputies contacted her attorney to arrange her surrender.
Farris was extradited from Tullahoma, Tenn., where she was visiting an acquaintance, back to Canton. At 4 a.m. Thursday she was booked into the Cherokee jail. On Friday, she’ll make her first appearance before a magistrate judge, charged with malice murder, aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and concealing the death of another.
Though she will not enter a plea until her arraignment, Farris maintains her innocence, according to one of her lawyers, Manny Arora. But the majority of her children don’t believe their mother, oldest son Chris Farris told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution in an exclusive interview.
“Our father was the best person in the world,” Chris Farris said late Thursday. He disputed a claim by one of his mother’s attorneys that Melody Farris’ family was standing behind her. “We are shaken.”
“This is very embarrassing for our family,” he continued.
Arora said Melody Harris has been fully cooperative with authorities.
“We were told by law enforcement we were suspected from the start of the investigation,” he said. “Thus, evidence being sufficient or otherwise, we knew she would eventually be arrested.”
Detectives zeroed in on Melody Farris soon after remains of her 58-year-old husband, Gary Farris, were discovered by their adult son last July on the couple’s 10-acre spread in Free Home (on the market since August for $1.295 million). Gary Farris was an attorney for the regional law firm Burr and Forman and the founder of its Atlanta office.
The couple had been having marital problems, Cherokee Sheriff’s Office Capt. Jay Baker said, without elaborating. They still lived together, he said, just as they had for most of their lives.
Defense co-counsel Scott Poole said he thinks the claims of marital discord are overstated.
“I’d be very surprised if the evidence showed those marital problems involved anything out of the ordinary,” he said.
So what could possibly cause such a sinister turn in their relationship? Deputies haven’t discussed a motive but they insist they uncovered compelling physical evidence linking Melody Harris to her husband’s death.
“Detectives recovered evidence indicating Ms. Farris shot and killed her husband inside their home and then tried to dispose of his body and evidence by burning it on their Purcell Lane property,” Baker said.
But police said the investigation was slowed due to the charred state of Gary Farris’ remains, where they found a .38-caliber bullet — the first indication a shooting had occurred. The GBI Crime Lab just recently completed analyzing evidence at the scene and confirmed Farris died of a gunshot wound.
The gun that fired the bullet has not been located.
Poole said the prosecution has been very secretive about the case and, as a result, he knows little about the evidence against his client.
Melody Farris herself remains something of a mystery. One neighbor told Channel 2 Action News, “No one really seemed to know her.”
That’s almost certain to change in the coming weeks and months. Farris’ life, and marriage, will become an open book, assuming there’s no plea deal that would circumvent a trial.
Farris is dealing with that eventuality best she can, Poole said.
“It’s one thing to be a suspect,” he said. “It’s quite another to be taken from your home and locked up in jail.”
The defense has requested a bond hearing, though no date has been set. In the meantime, Melody Farris will remain in Cherokee’s Adult Detention Center.
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