Monday, Mar. 13, 2023–7:18 p.m.
-John Bailey, Rome News-Tribune-
A judge denied bond for a 21-year-old Rome man accused of shooting and killing his father’s girlfriend while attempting to break up a domestic dispute at a home on Shadowbrook Drive in early March.
During a bond hearing Monday, the courtroom of Floyd County Superior Court Judge Bryan Johnson was filled with supporters of Ellis Geoffery Marrs as well as Iris Dail Edwards, who he is accused of killing.
Marrs’ attorney, Jeremy Salter, presented the judge with a sheaf of letters in support of his client and told the judge Marrs would have a place to live, as well as a job if his bond allows it, upon release. Several people also testified on his behalf during the hearing.
“I think he has a strong belief in his own innocence and I think he wants to prove that,” David Cauthen, who is in a long-term relationship with Marrs’ mother, testified during the bond hearing.
Another sheaf of letters was presented to the judge speaking to Edwards’ character. Her friends described Edwards, who went by Dail, as a musical, carefree, and magnetic person who was a trained opera singer and outspoken gun control advocate.
The incident involved a series of arguments late March 4 to early March 5 between Edwards and Marrs’ father, Jason Marrs. At the time of the incident, Ellis Marrs, his girlfriend Cadence Parker and his father lived in the home on Shadowbrook Drive. Jason Marrs and Edwards were dating but she lived in Woodstock, Assistant District Attorney Emily Harsen told the court.
Prosecutors said the two had been drinking and fighting for an extended period of time at the home beginning late on March 4. Just before 1 a.m. on March 5, Marrs grabbed a gun and went to the backyard where his father and Edwards were.
“He tried to interject himself in the argument,” Harsen said. The prosecutor continued, saying Edwards told Ellis Marrs to get out of the situation. In response, he fired a shot into the air as a warning and then shot her in the chest.
Ellis Marrs’ girlfriend, Cadence Parker, called 911. In that call, Harsen said, Parker was asked if anyone was performing CPR, to which she replied, “No, they won’t let me.”
But there’s more to the story, Salter told the court. The attorney described an extended verbal argument, exacerbated by alcohol consumption, as Jason Marrs attempted to end the relationship with Edwards.
This wasn’t an isolated fight,” he said.
At one point Edwards had left to go home but was too intoxicated to drive and had come back, seeking to get back in the Shadowbrook Drive home, Salter told the court. Parker, at one point, let Edwards back in the home and attempted to calm the parties down.
Later, Ellis Marrs, who had not been in the home for much of the day, took a different approach and grabbed a pistol, Salter said. His father, Jason Marrs, had been hiding in the backyard and when Edwards found him the fight began again.
Describing the shooting as a case of self-defense, Salter said that after Ellis Marrs warned Edwards, she came at him, traveling 35 feet and traversing several obstacles to confront him.
“She even commented, ‘Oh, what are you going to do with that?’,” Salter told the court. He said Ellis Marrs shot her in the chest in the chaos.”
Countering an earlier statement regarding whether life-saving measures had been performed on Edwards, Salter said Parker did begin CPR on Edwards. When police arrived, according to a Rome Police Department report, Parker was attempting to medically aid Edwards.
Police reports state that when they arrived, Ellis Marrs identified himself and told the responding officer he had “just shot someone.” The gun had been placed on top of a grill in the backyard with the magazine ejected. Marrs was arrested and is charged with felony murder and possession of a firearm during the commission of a crime.
Judge Johnson stated that he viewed the defendant as a flight risk. The judge cited his age, out-of-state family connections and a potential life sentence without parole, if convicted, as factors when denying bond.
This story is possible because of a news-sharing agreement with the Rome News-Tribune. More information can be found at northwestgeorgianews.com.