'Slayer's Statute' Indictments Dismissed Against Defense Lawyers
The Georgia Supreme court dismissed indictments last week against two lawyers who accepted payment from their client.
The trouble was that their defense client, Debra Post, eventually pleaded guilty to murdering her husband but paid them with proceeds from his estate and life insurance policy. And under Georgia’s “Slayer’s Statute,” a murderer can’t profit from his or her victim’s estate.
Valerie C. Cooke and Candace Rader were charged with theft for accepting payments they “knew or should have known was stolen” before Post pleaded guilty, according to the Fulton County Daily Report. The court dismissed the indictments in a one-page order (PDF provided by the Fulton County Daily Report).
Cooke did not respond to a message the Daily Report left for her.
Edward D. Tolley, who represents Rader, said: “This order is consistent with their earlier order and with the law. … There are any number of ways the deceased’s family could have preserved their right to the money, and nobody did anything. Basically, they couldn’t get the money back civilly, so they tried doing it [through the criminal courts].”