Cherokee school board member sentenced to jail for lying to police

Credit: Channel 2 Action News

Credit: Channel 2 Action News

Former Cherokee County school board member Kelly Marlow was sentenced to 60 days in jail and 10 years probation Thursday, bringing to a close a bizarre spat with the district’s superintendent.

Marlow and her associates Robert Trim and Barbara Knowles were found guilty of lying to authorities and filing a false police report. They claimed Superintendent Frank Petruzielo tried to run them down with his white SUV after a contentious school board meeting in June. They were arrested in July and charged with making multiple false statements to police.

The three received the same jail time and probation, and were also banned from school board meetings and ordered to stay 500 feet away from Petruzielo. They’re banned from political activities even on a volunteer basis, and they must complete 200 hours of community service and pay a fine. Marlow resigned from the school board Wednesday.

“Justice was served today,” said Petruzielo in a statement. “Their sentencing is no cause for celebration and should not be for our community; but this action, coupled with Ms. Marlow’s resignation, provides some sense of closure for us.”

In the June board meeting, Marlow had clashed with Petruzielo over the board’s budget and procedures. That night, Marlow, political adviser Trim and Cherokee County Republican Party Secretary Knowles told police they were crossing the street in front of the Painted Pig Tavern in Canton when the superintendent’s white BMW swerved toward them, coming so close that Trim had to shove Marlow out of the way.

Video recorded by a camera outside the restaurant debunked their claims.

A judge also ordered the defendants to have no contact with each other. But in another twist, Marlow and Trim disclosed they are engaged to be married. The judge agreed to allow them to see each other for one week so they can marry. Once they make it official, a probation officer may suspend the no-contact order.

A special election will be held to fill Marlow’s term, which expires Dec. 31, 2016, according to school district spokeswoman Barbara Jacoby.