A Georgia man killed his ex-wife’s attorney in his law office just hours after the couple’s divorce was final and then killed himself, authorities said.
Cartersville Police Lt. M.E. Bettikofer tells The Atlanta Journal-Constitution that 33-year-old Walter Samuel Radford’s divorce was finalized on Wednesday and Radford fatally shot his ex-wife’s attorney about two hours later. Police say 41-year-old lawyer Antonio Benjamin Mari’s body was found in his Cartersville law office. He had been shot multiple times.
Bettikofer says Radford called ex-wife Cindy Radford to tell her he had shot Mari. He says Radford then broke into her home and shot himself. His body was found about 2:40 p.m.
Radford had failed to show up for the final divorce hearing.
While at the courthouse Wednesday morning, Mari told colleagues he had concerns about Radford, attorney Wade Everett said.
Though he didn’t know specifics, Everett said Mari had a “gut feeling” that Radford could harm him. On Thursday, Everett said he and his colleagues discussed security at their office.
“There’s only so much security you can really do,” he said. “You can carry a gun. But unless you’ve got it in your hand and you’re waiting on someone, it’s not going to do you any good.”
Mari’s death shocked the Cartersville community, where he had worked nearly 18 years as a high school history teacher and later an attorney. After teaching for 10 years at Cass High School, Mari graduated from law school and passed the Georgia bar exam in 2009.
Though he represented clients in bankruptcy and domestic cases, Mari wasn’t the typical tough-faced litigator, according to fellow Cartersville attorney Lester Tate.
“He’s just one of the nicest, most easy-going people you could imagine,” Tate said.
Mari is survived by his wife.
Late Wednesday, Cass High School posted a tribute to him on Facebook. And Thursday, the Bartow County School System honored Mari in a post.
“Inspirational, favorite teacher, Georgia Bulldog fan; that’s how Antonio Mari’s former students at Cass High School describe him,” the school system posted. “We share the community’s grief and extend our deepest sympathies to the Mari Family, as well as the BCSS Family.”
Cartersville is about 43 miles northwest of Atlanta.