State seeks death penalty, life sentences in College Park slayings

Relative: 'I would like them to look us in the face and apologize'

It was a routine status hearing, but relatives of two College Park roommates killed execution-style made a point to show up in court Monday.

"I wanted them to see us sitting there and realize that you took somebody that had family who loved and cared for her," said Tia Hill, first cousin of one of the victims, 34-year-old Karida Winkler. "These people need to know that these were very important people in our lives."

Winkler and 28-year-old Lanaetria Renee Butler -- good friends who worked at Waffle House -- were each shot once in the head last July. One was found in the kitchen and the other in the dining room of their Godby Road apartment.

Police arrested four men for murder. Fulton County prosecutors are seeking the death penalty against the alleged shooter, Christopher Lorenzo Varner, 24, and life without parole for 19-year-olds Boubacar Traore, Anthony Lenois Wilder and Carnell Owens III.

Varner will be tried separately. The trials won't begin for at least a few months.

All four men are being held without bond.

Police said the women were killed during a robbery. Traore was arrested in the same apartment complex where the women lived, but police declined to say whether he knew them.

Hill said her cousin and Butler "were friendly, they spoke to everybody. They didn't know [any of the defendants] on a personal level."

Hill was accompanied by Winkler's sister, who declined to be interviewed, and a friend. Hill said her cousin had multiple jobs and often worked 18 hours a day.

"She was just a wonderful, sweet, hard-working person," Hill said. "When I saw her, I pretty much had to go to one of her jobs because that's where she always was."

Winkler and Butler both were mothers. Their children live with other family members.

Hill said she wants justice, plus an apology.

"I know that sounds real simple, but I would like them to look us in the face and apologize," Hill said. "It's not going to bring her back, but it would make me feel like at least you have remorse for what you did."