Two people are dead following a domestic dispute that culminated in a murder-suicide Tuesday night, Oct. 1, on Clara Lee Drive in Rossville, police say.
According to Catoosa County Sheriff Gary Sisk, the incident stemmed from a history of domestic issues between 51-year old Sharon Kathleen "Kitty" Kell and 51-year-old David Bryan White, which led to White fatally shooting Kell in her driveway before turning the gun on himself.
Sisk said Wednesday afternoon (Oct. 2) that the couple's turbulent history included protective orders from the court system and that White had been out of jail on bond.
"The victim and offender had a history of domestic issues with three court orders of protection dating back to at least September 2018," Sisk said.
Kell first filed for a protective order against White a year ago on Sept. 20, 2018, but filed for dismissal of the order less than a month later.
The second order lasted from Jan. 7 until Feb. 6 this year, and the most recent one was filed Aug. 27. White was arrested on warrants for terroristic threats and second-degree damage to property on Sept. 9, but was
subsequently released from jail on bond the same day.
After being out of jail for the past 23 days, White wound up taking Kell's life and then his own.
According to the incident report, Cpl. Coby Cunningham and a deputy in training were dispatched to Kell's residence at 191 Clara Lee Drive just before 5 p.m. Tuesday afternoon due to a TPO (Temporary Protective Order) violation with dispatch advising that the offender possibly had a gun.
As the patrol car approached the residence, Cpl. Cunningham says he saw White standing over Kell in the driveway firing his gun at her body, reports show.
Shortly thereafter, backup officers arrived and ultimately found both the victim and the shooter dead.
"Additional officers arrived and approached the victim and found a female and male lying in the driveway deceased with gunshot wounds to their heads," Cpl. Cunningham stated in his report.
Additional records show that White moved out of the couple's residence in August after a fight that lead to the aforementioned third TPO.
During that Aug. 26 incident, witnesses at the home told deputies White destroyed property in the home while intoxicated and made threats to kill Kell.
"He was packing his belongings into his truck and began making threats to kill her, stating he was going to slit her throat, and when she comes home he was going to 'end her'," a witness told Deputy Aaron Thomas.
Prior to that incident, Kell called police on White for false imprisonment after he allegedly held a gun to her head four different times and wouldn't let her leave on the night of Jan. 5.
In that incident, Kell claimed White threatened to kill her and shoot police if they showed up, reports show. Kell was eventually able to sneak away the following morning and notify police of the situation.
"This is the cycle of family violence that a number of families in our community go through that we need to continue to bring awareness to and offer assistance for every chance we get," Sisk said. "No one ever really knows what the victim goes through daily. It won't bring this mother, sister, daughter back, but this is an issue that needs constant discussion, awareness, and action. Our thoughts and prayers are with the family."
Adam Cook is a general assignment reporter and covers the Walker-Catoosa County area. He has been a reporter since 2009.
"This is the cycle of family violence that a number of families in our community go through that we need to continue to bring awareness to and offer assistance for every chance we get. No one ever really knows what the victim goes through daily. It won't bring this mother, sister, daughter back, but this is an issue that needs constant discussion, awareness, and action. Our thoughts and prayers are with the family."
Sheriff Gary Sisk
According to the Catoosa County Sheriff's Office, the couple's turbulent history included three orders of protective filed by the victim, Sharon Kathleen "Kitty" Kell. The latest was served on Sept. 8.
Here are the past incidents:
• Sept. 20, 2018 – Filed for family violence ex parte protective order
• Sept. 21, 2018 – Ex parte order served
• Oct. 17, 2018 – Filed for dismissal of ex parte order and dismissed
• Jan. 5, 2019 – Family violence report
• Jan. 7, 2019 –Filed for family violence protective order
• Feb. 6, 2019 – Filed for dismissal of ex parte order and dismissed
• Aug. 26, 2019 – Family violence report
• Aug. 27, 2019 – Filed for family violence protective order
• Aug. 27, 2019 – Warrants obtained for terroristic threats, criminal damage to property
• Sept. 8, 2019 – Arrested for warrants and served ex parte
• Sept. 8, 2019 – Bonded out of jail
• Oct. 1, 2019 – Murdersuicide
Healthy Foundations, the nonprofit group that was seeking a zoning change — from agricultural to special use — for a piece of Catoosa County property it was interested in as a location for a substance abuse rehabilitation center, withdrew its application on Sept. 19, before it even reached the zoning board hearing stage of the process.
"Some people think we did it because of the town hall meetings we held," says Healthy Foundations co-founder DeLaine Hunter, "but that was not the case. A handful of people were upset at those meetings, but most people have been supportive."
Hunter says the decision to withdraw the zoning request resulted from some confusion about a state law that would have dragged out the rezoning process. She said there was also a problem with an easement the group would need.
An applicable segment of Georgia code states that a substance abuse facility that is residential in nature must hold a public hearing and run a notice in the lo-
cal newspaper at least six months before the rezoning issue is heard by the county Board of Commissioners. "We were unaware of that requirement," says Hunter, "and had to decide if we should move forward from there and be at a standstill for six months or if we should use that time to take a closer look at all our options."
Hunter says that Healthy Foundations is far more than a detox and rehab center. "We are a family restoration program, a program to help veterans, a workforce hub that will teach job skills. We're looking at the possibility of splitting our programs up. We could start the restoration and job skills part of the program first. We could possibly have two different locations for Healthy Foundations. Our steering committee is considering all the options."
Hunter says that in spite of the town hall meetings where the uproar became serious enough that Sheriff Gary Sisk had to intervene, some good came from the meetings, too. "At the second meeting, we had asked people to submit questions on index cards. We didn't get to answer those questions at the meeting, but there were some good ones we'll be answering on our web site. We also got some very encouraging cards saying people were praying for our success."
In addition to the Healthy Foundations steering committee, Hunter says there is an advisory team working on developing programs the facility will offer, and a grass roots team working to inform the public and correct misconceptions.
Hunter says she is not yet sure what Healthy Foundations' next step will be.
"We have not ruled out the original piece of property. A lot of people want this to happen in Catoosa County. We have addiction problems just like everywhere else in the country. In the end, we'll locate where God wants us to be. I feel Catoosa County is the right place and so do a lot of other people. We're not just trying to get people off drugs — we're teaching them and helping them become productive citizens, reuniting them with their families and restoring families to healthy relationships. We're working to make our community healthier socially, economically and spiritually."
Tamara Wolk is a reporter for The Catoosa County News in Ringgold, Ga., and Walker County Messenger in LaFayette, Ga.
"In the end, we'll locate where God wants us to be. I feel Catoosa County is the right place and so do a lot of other people. we're not just trying to get people off drugs — we're teaching them and helping them become productive citizens, reuniting them with their families and restoring families to healthy relationships. we're working to make our community healthier socially, economically and spiritually.
Healthy Foundations co-founder DeLaine Hunter
Only six counties out of the 159 in Georgia will use the state's new voting machines for the 2019 election.
Not only was Catoosa County chosen as one of those six, on Monday, Sept. 30, it became the first to unveil the machines in a public demonstration.
On hand for the demonstration at Freedom Center in Ringgold was a crowd of elected officials, candidates for office, involved citizens and representatives from the state elections office.
Catoosa County Elections Director Tonya Moore introduced Georgia State Elections Director Chris Harvey, who said that Catoosa seemed the perfect place for the public introduction. "Tonya," he said, "does one heck of a job."
Harvey went on to talk about the exemplary work Moore and her staff do, about their attention to detail, their integrity and about the overall friendliness of Catoosa that makes him want to abandon Atlanta and move here.
Moore, Harvey, and Catoosa Elections official Rebekah Cason shared the background of the new voting system, took questions from the audience, gave a live demonstration of voting, then let audience members practice for themselves.
Here are some takeaways from the public demonstration and tryout:
• Catoosa, Carroll, Bartow, Paulding, Decatur and Lowndes counties were chosen to use the new voting machines for the 2019 elections.
• The rest of the state will have the new voting machines by March 2020, in time for 2020 elections.
• There will be 30,000 new voting machines across the state.
• When citizens show up to vote, they will place their picture ID (example: driver's license) on a small screen monitored by poll workers, confirm the information on the screen and sign their name on the screen. They will then be given a card to insert in their voting machine to activate their ballot.
• Poll workers will be prepared to deal with ID that cannot be scanned (e.g., Passport).
• Each voting machine consists of a tablet-style screen and a printer. Voters will make their selections on a touch screen, much
like they have for years. A printer will produce a paper copy of the ballot. The voter will take that printed ballot and place it into a scanner that will record the votes and keep the ballot.
• Catoosa County will have 187 tablet screens, 187 printers and 19 scanners.
• Tonya Moore says she has ordered 50,000 sheets of the cardstock paper used in the machines.
• The total cost for the new voting system in Georgia has been $150,000,000.
• No part of any machine involved in voting is or will be connected to the internet.
• Many opportunities are built into the system to remind and allow voters to check and change their votes, including checking over their paper ballot, having it canceled and getting a new ballot if they change their mind before placing their ballot in the scanner.
• Once a paper ballot is inserted into the scanner, the vote is final.
• A variety of accommodations are available for those who might have trouble seeing or otherwise using voting machines.
• Poll workers are being trained to help voters at every step of the process.
• The recording of ballots will be audited every two hours during the election to make sure numbers of ballots cast and recorded are consistent.
• Voters may not take pictures of the voting machines (pictures were allowed for the public introduction because no actual voting was taking place; the ballots were mock ballots).
• Absentee ballots will be entered into a scanner by election officials.
• A trailer containing six voting machines is making a tour of the state, setting up at public events, to demonstrate how the new machines work.
Catoosa Elections is currently taking a voting machine to public meetings and events to demonstrate how it works. "We're going to civic groups, seniors groups, on TV, to the Fall Festival and to the Chamber's Business Expo, among other places," said Moore.
Moore said her staff has been working diligently to answer people's questions and train poll workers. "I wouldn't be able to do this without the excellent staff I have," she told the audience.
FOR MORE INFORMATION
To learn more about voting in Catoosa County, visit https://www.catoosa.com/elections or call 706-935-3990.