Cherokee County DA leaves post to become Superior Court judge

Credit: Ben Gray

Credit: Ben Gray

After serving for more than 10 years as the Cherokee County District Attorney, Shannon Wallace was sworn in Monday as a Superior Court judge in the Blue Ridge judicial circuit.

Wallace was elected in 2012 as the county’s first female district attorney and began serving the following January. Family, friends and colleagues watched as she was sworn in by Gov. Brian Kemp.

Before being elected DA, Wallace was the chief assistant district attorney for former DA Garry Moss. She previously worked as a prosecutor in middle Georgia and received both her undergraduate and law degrees at the University of Georgia.

Credit: Cherokee County Sheriff's Office

Credit: Cherokee County Sheriff's Office

In 2021, Wallace said she had planned to seek the death penalty against the man accused of killing four people in Woodstock massage parlor. Robert Aaron Long then drove to Atlanta, where he killed four others, according to investigators.

But the victims’ families and survivors did not want to endure the pain of a lengthy death-penalty trial and the appeals that would follow, Wallace said. In July 2021, about four months after the shooting spree, Long pleaded guilty in Cherokee County and was ordered to spend the rest of his life in prison. His case remains open in Fulton County.

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“They have been clear and united in their message: Justice and closure are needed now,” Wallace said after the plea deal. “Today, justice was served and the defendant pled guilty to all of the charges in the indictment and was sentenced to four consecutive life sentences without the possibility of parole. He was also sentenced to an additional 35 years to be served in confinement.

“Today, the families of those individuals who were viciously murdered and the victims who were shot and placed in fear, received justice,” Wallace said. “Today, these victims are left knowing that this defendant will spend the rest of his natural life behind bars. Today, our community will begin to heal from these unspeakable acts of violence.”

Susan Treadaway will serve as acting DA until Kemp appoints a replacement to complete Wallace’s current term, which runs through 2024. Treadaway joined the Cherokee district attorney’s office in 2019 after serving 11 years with the Cobb County district attorney’s office.