The State v. Kalen McFadden
Attorney Christopher B. Cahill of Perrotta, Lamb, and Johnson, LLC.
Charges: Malice Murder, Felony Murder, etc.
Jury verdict: Not Guilty.
On a cold, misty night in January 2016, just outside of Conyers Georgia, Kalen McFadden was attacked in an attempted robbery by some of his schoolmates; he shot and killed one of them in self-defense as he ran away. Because the schoolmates set him up as a part of an apparent marijuana deal, Mr. McFadden was charged with malice murder, felony murder, aggravated assault, possession with intent to distribute marijuana, attempted distribution of marijuana, possession of a firearm in the commission of a felony, tampering with evidence, and two other charges of felony drug possession. None of the surviving robbers were charged with any crimes related to the robbery and shooting.
Attorney Christopher Cahill represented Mr. McFadden. Negotiations reached a head when the District Attorney refused to recognize Mr. McFadden’s act of self-defense and demanded that he plea to manslaughter and a 25 year sentence. Mr. Cahill filed motions to assert Mr. McFadden’s right to self-defense, which was denied by the Judge. Mr. Cahill filed motions to suppress significant evidence that was illegally acquired by the Rockdale County Sheriff’s Office to support a number of the charges; those charges were promptly dropped in response to the motions.
The case went before a jury in Rockdale County during the week of January 28, with Senior DA Richard Read and Assistant DA Damion Overstreet representing the State and Mr. Cahill representing Mr. McFadden. The State’s witnesses stated that the “victim” in the case had setup the robbery and was heavily intoxicated on Xanax when he attacked Mr. McFadden, and that his co-conspirators were not arrested or charged with any crimes in association with the setup, robbery, and shooting, despite overwhelming evidence of their crimes.
Mr. McFadden then testified that he received a strange call to sell a small amount of marijuana to a friend of a friend. Upon meeting the person it was clear that there was something dangerously wrong. After a few, short points of conversation, Mr. McFadden was ready to leave. As he walked away without completing the sale, the “victim” attacked him with a gun drawn. Mr. McFadden fired blindly at his attacker but he kept coming. They fought for Mr. McFadden’s gun and his property as the altercation proceeded around the robbers’ vehicle. Ultimately the attacker stumbled and fell, allowing Mr. McFadden to escape.
Mr. Cahill made closing arguments for Mr. McFadden’s acquittal and SDA Read made arguments for his conviction on all counts. The jury deliberated for a day and a half before coming to a verdict. The jury found Mr. McFadden Not Guilty of Murder, Felony Murder, and Aggravated Assault – all of the charges related to the shooting. The jury did find Mr. McFadden guilty of attempting to distribute marijuana and possessing a firearm while committing a felony. The remaining charges were dropped.
Mr. McFadden will be sentenced by the Judge appropriate for the crimes that he committed – selling marijuana while carrying a gun. Ultimately though, the Jury found him Not Guilty and not responsible for the death of his attacker. This shows that when all else fails, when the arm of the State is bent against persecuting the wrongfully accused, Justice can still count on a good lawyer and a fair jury.