Cobb man facing death penalty in stepdaughter’s death appears in court

The first death penalty case Cobb County’s district attorney has ever sought hit a road bump Monday.

Following an hour delay to tell her client the news, the defense attorney representing Dafareya Hunter tearfully told a judge that — after two years — she could no longer represent Hunter because of an illness in her family.

That presents a hiccup, as a new attorney will need to be brought up to speed in the capital punishment case.

Hunter allegedly raped his 14-year-old stepdaughter, stabbed her and then torched their Marietta home to hide evidence. And for those accusations, he faces the death penalty.

District Attorney Vic Reynolds is seeking the state’s most serious punishment. His first since being elected in 2012.


READCobb has more people on death row than any other county in Georgia


Credit: JASON GETZ/SPECIAL TO THE AJC

Credit: JASON GETZ/SPECIAL TO THE AJC

Reynolds was present in court Monday alongside prosecutor Jesse Evans.

Jerilyn Bell, a member of Hunter's defense team from the section of the Georgia Public Defender Council that represents people facing the death penalty, told the judge that she didn't know when a new attorney would be assigned to the case.

The teen's body was found in a bedroom of the charred Shadowridge Drive home July 23, 2016.

Hunter’s stepson was able to escape the fire through a window.

Hunter was arrested a month later in Broward County, Florida.

No new court date was decided Monday, but Cobb Superior Judge S. Lark Ingram asked that one be set before the end of the year.


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