Charron said his policy as district attorney was to be immediately notified by police whenever a homicide occurred in Cobb County.
“Depending on if they needed me out at a scene or not, I was willing to go out to the scene,” said Charron, who served as district attorney from 1977 to 1998.
“Because of some of the real unusual factual situations of this particular case, I was asked to come out to the scene the moment they discovered little India Roberts’ body in the brushes,” Charron said.
Roberts, a 15-year-old, was on her way to the bus stop bound for Campbell High School when she was abducted by Wellons, taken to his girlfriend’s apartment, raped, strangled to death and dumped in the woods, Charron said.
“This was like three days after school had started in Cobb County, and we had a young, high school girl abducted on her way to the school bus stop. So you can imagine the concern of the community once this got out,” Charron said.
Charron said Roberts didn’t go quietly.
“She put up a terrific fight,” he said. “There were tremendous defensive wounds on her, there was scratches and bruises on him. She was beaten around the head. She was cut on the face. This was a tremendous struggle and a very brutal rape.”
Charron, who is now administrator of the Cobb Superior Court, believes there is no question that Wellons is guilty of her murder.
“There’s no evidence to support, nor (was) there any defense put up that he was not involved in the case,” he said. “I feel justice will be served. That’s an understatement.”
After hearing testimony from Wellons’ family members Monday, as well as from Charron and current Cobb District Attorney Vic Reynolds, the Georgia Board of Pardons and Paroles denied clemency for Wellons.
One of the remarks Roberts’ mother made to the board was that her daughter was murdered in 1989, Charron said.
“She said, ‘You know, I thought maybe one year, two years. I didn’t know the system. But (25) years since it happened is just unbelievable.’ And you know, my feeling is the same,” Charron said.
“Not only in this case, but in any of these other cases that I was involved with or any that would come along is that no justice is served either to the victims or to the citizens of the community or to the defendant and his family for cases to take that long for justice to be meted out.”
Charron said he understands the need to provide all the legal protections ensured by the Constitution for anyone accused of a crime.
“But this is ... bordering on the ludicrous for everybody’s sake for a case to last this length of time,” he said.
Last Friday, he and Reynolds visited with India Roberts’ mother and her family, who no longer live in Cobb.
“They were very supportive of the death penalty from the standpoint of they want justice served,” Charron said.
“(India Roberts’ mother is) a lovely lady. She’s remarried and they had a child since India’s death, but they want closure and they want justice done. So it’s been a long ordeal for them and it was wonderful seeing them again, but they want closure and they want this carried out.”
Reynolds also believes justice will be served if the execution goes as planned tonight for 59-year-old Wellons.
“This is obviously a very, very solemn, sobering occasion, and death penalties are reserved for the most heinous of crimes, and this certainly fits the bill,” Reynolds said. “It’s a crime where the death penalty was properly sought, a Cobb County jury returned a death penalty and it’s way past time for it to be carried out.”
Reynolds will accompany Charron to witness the execution.
“It’s going to be a tough day, but I figure if I’m going to look at a jury and ask them for the death penalty, I at least ought to know what it’s about,” Reynolds said.
Atlanta attorney Mary “Beth” Wells, who represents Wellons, declined to comment for this article.