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Athens Clarke County Cast: The Legal Battles Surrounding the Tragic Death of Laken Riley

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Welcome to another episode of the Athens-Clarke County Cast, one of Feedspot’s Top 20 Georgia News Podcasts. I’m Melissa Carter, here to bring you the latest updates and in-depth coverage of top stories in Athens-Clarke County, brought to you by Drake Realty.

** Top Stories: **

1. Legal Developments in the Laken Riley Case:

The suspect in the fatal beating of University of Georgia student Laken Riley has entered a not guilty plea. Twenty-six-year-old Jose Ibarra appeared in Athens-Clarke County Superior Court facing charges including malice murder and aggravated assault. As a Venezuelan immigrant living in Athens illegally, Ibarra's case has drawn significant national attention. A status hearing is scheduled for August.

In a related update, the Western Judicial District Attorney’s Office has announced it will not seek the death penalty for Ibarra. District Attorney Deborah Gonzalez emphasized that justice and the victim’s family remain the priority.

2. Recall Effort Against Mayor Kelly Girtz:

James DePaola, who is leading a recall effort against Athens-Clarke County Mayor Kelly Girtz and other officials, has filed a legal response to Girtz’s petition to dismiss the recall. DePaola contends that Girtz missed the deadline to challenge the recall effort. The recall proceedings have been suspended pending a court decision.

Join us as we unpack these legal battles and discuss what they mean for the community and the quest for justice. 

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