Marietta resident Candida Rychell Summerlin is accused of intentionally running into two deputies in the parking lot of the Cobb County jail on May 31. She was arrested that same day and has remained in the Cobb County jail without bond since then.
According to the indictment, the 33-year-old faces 13 separate charges, including two counts each of attempted malice murder and felony murder, hit-and-run, first-degree criminal damage to property and aggravated assault on a police officer.
She is also accused of aggravated battery, fleeing from police and interference with government property.
The murder charges relate to Summerlin allegedly hitting Cobb County Sheriff’s Office Sgt. Ronnie Kite and Lt. Rebekah Westenberger with her car, breaking the female deputy’s right leg.
Summerlin faces more than 100 years behind bars if found guilty on these charges.
Her attorney, William Boddie, who has offices in Atlanta and Douglasville, said on Thursday that he has filed a motion with Cobb County Superior Court Judge Lark Ingram requesting a change of venue for the Sept. 9 trial.
“It’s a very emotional case and it’s a very sensitive topic and we have to look at the fact that the crime scene is in Cobb County and at the jail and there was a lot of press on that, so we have a lot of issues that the jury pool may be tainted in that case because of the publicity,” Boddie said.
Cobb’s Chief District Attorney Don Geary will be prosecuting the case but had no comment on Boddie’s motion.
The hearing is scheduled for 9 a.m. Tuesday in Ingram’s courtroom.
Background on incident
Westenberger was reportedly hit by Summerlin on May 31 when she went out to the parking lot of the jail, which is located off County Services Road in Marietta, in response to complaints of loud music coming from a car.
According to the warrant, Summerlin was parked in a restricted parking space and Westenberger asked her to park in the public parking lot across the street from the jail, but when the suspect backed up her car, she positioned it in a way that was aimed at the deputy.
“(Summerlin) revved up her engine repeatedly in a threatening manner then rapidly accelerated and purposely ran the car into Lt. Westenberger causing multiple injuries,” the warrant states.
Summerlin allegedly then attempted to drive her car out of the parking lot and when Sgt. Kite tried to flag her down, she then hit him and damaged the curb outside the jail and ran over a street sign trying to leave the scene.
Both deputies were taken by ambulance to WellStar Kennestone Hospital in Marietta. Summerlin only suffered a few minor injuries.
Chief Deputy Milton Beck with the sheriff’s office previously said that Westenberger had surgery on a broken right leg and that Kite was treated and released the same day.
On Friday, Beck said Kite has returned to full duty and is doing well.
“Lt. Westenberger has not returned to duty, but I communicate with her often and she seems to be in good spirits, however it is unknown at this time when she can return to work,” he said.
Police still aren’t sure why Summerlin was at the jail that day but she had been released just a few days earlier on unrelated charges.
Jail records show that Summerlin was arrested May 25 on simply battery and obstruction charges.
Boddie said that during the trial Summerlin’s reasons for being at the jail May 31 will be revealed.