District Attorney Vic Reynolds, who started on the job last week, said Thursday he is still contemplating whether or not to pursue the death penalty when John Kristofak goes to trial.
“We haven’t decided yet,” Reynolds said. “It’s still in the early stages, but we’ll have a decision made, I imagine, within the next two weeks.”
Kristofak is charged with felony murder and aggravated assault in connection to the Dec. 22 stabbing death of Donna Kristofak, 48, in the garage of her home in the 3900 block of Tall Pine Drive in east Cobb near Walton High School.
On Thursday morning, Superior Court Judge Adele Grubbs postponed a probation revocation hearing related to John Kristofak’s earlier domestic violence conviction.
John Kristofak’s court appointed lawyer, Mitch Durham of Marietta, told Grubbs that he had just been assigned to the case Jan. 4. He said he wanted to have the defendant, who sat in court shackled and wearing a red jumpsuit and newly grown beard, undergo a psychological evaluation, which could have an impact on the probation hearing as well.
“You need to prepare for these things. He’s facing severe penalties, and there’s a lot of things we have to look at,” Durham said after the hearing was continued.
Grubbs rescheduled the hearing for 9 a.m. on Feb. 20.
Reynolds said he had expected the hearing to be pushed back.
“It wasn’t a surprise at all,” he said. “It was pretty common. We anticipated that. We’ll be ready whenever the date is.”
On Oct.13, Grubbs sentenced John Kristofak to four years and five months probation and seven months in jail, most of which he had already served, as part of a plea agreement that left him convicted of aggravated stalking and family violence simple battery resulting from a March incident involving Donna Kristofak. John Kristofak was also permanently banned from having contact with Donna Kristofak.
Reynolds said he didn’t want to second-guess the plea agreement that allowed John Kristofak to go free weeks after his conviction. Former District Attorney Pat Head was still in office at the time.
“It’s hard to look in hindsight,” Reynolds said. “I think the parties probably did what they thought was appropriate at that time.”
In October, Donna Kristofak had begged the judge not to release her ex-husband, fearing that a court order would not keep her safe.
Reynolds said he was anticipating that the murder case would be assigned to Grubbs, as well.
“But that’s a decision made by the clerk’s office, not by the DA,” he said.
Also Thursday, police south of Atlanta announced that John Kristofak, 58, will face a charge in Fayetteville for a robbery there while he was on the run from law enforcement.
Fayetteville Police said John Kristofak had been charged in the robbery of a drug store there during the five-day manhunt that led up to his Dec. 27 arrest.
Fayetteville Detective Mike Whitlow said in a news release that on Dec. 26, Kristofak walked into a Rite Aid store at 800 N. Glynn St. and presented a note at the pharmacy stating he had a gun and he wanted the prescription drug Adderall, which is used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and narcolepsy.
Police said John Kristofak then fled the store and was last seen on surveillance video driving a smaller model dark pickup. Fayetteville police said they learned of evidence found with Kristofak when he was arrested early the next morning at a Motel 6 in Union City, 11 miles north of Fayetteville.
John Kristofak faces a charge of robbery by intimidation in Fayette County.