CARTERSVILLE, Ga. – A prominent local attorney was shot to death Wednesday by the ex-husband of a woman whom the lawyer had represented in a divorce case.
Police found the body of Antonio Mari in his law office around 1:37 pm, when they responded to reports of a shooting from Walter Radford's recently divorced wife. Radford, the woman told police, had called her to say he had killed Mari, while he was fleeing the scene.
A short time later, police found Radford's late model Ford pickup. Radford himself was then found in his ex-wife's residence, which police said had been forcibly entered through the back door. Radford was found dead from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
Radford's divorce had just become final on June 20, the day of Mari's murder.
In a 911 call obtained by 11Alive, you can hear the suspect's ex-wife say Radford called her.
"I just got a divorce from my husband, my ex-husband, who just called me and said he just went and shot my lawyer Antonio Mari and he's going to go kill himself," she told dispatch. "I'm not sure how true that is but I wanted to know if someone could go and check on [Mari]."
Attorney Lester Tate, a friend of Mari and a past president of the State Bar of Georgia, called the murder "one of the saddest in the history of the Bartow County Bar.
"Antonio was a great credit to the legal profession, a former high school teacher, and as fine a human being as anyone could imagine," Tate said on Facebook. "Just a few weeks ago I sat with him in the jury box down in Cobb while we waited for a calendar call and it's hard to imagine his life prematurely snuffed out in such a senseless fashion.
“The practice of law is a high calling and, lest we forget, a sometimes dangerous one," Tate said. "I ask your prayers for the family of this man who worked for justice, for my brothers and sisters at the Bar, and for all of those in our legal community.”