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Family of Hall man, attorney outraged at $83,000 bond for murder suspect
Mitchell Smallwood
Provided by Virgil Smallwood

The family of a Hall County man killed in June said they have been shocked that the suspect has been allowed to be released on an $83,000 bond and has had an ankle monitor removed. 

Attorney Matt Parrish is working for the family of Mitchell Smallwood, 41, who was killed June 30.  

“We just need the public to know what’s going on, because it is shocking,” Parrish said. “Really, really shocking.” 

The White County Sheriff’s Office said they responded to a 911 call June 30 to Happy Hollow Road in Cleveland regarding a shooting. Smallwood was found dead at the scene by deputies. 

Rita Sanders-Luse, 66, was charged with murder. 

The Sheriff’s Office and the Georgia Bureau of Investigation are investigating. 

Mitchell Smallwood was dating someone who had a family connection to Sanders and had met Sanders several times, Mitchell’s brother Virgil Smallwood said. 

Virgil Smallwood said they felt like they weren’t getting the full information on how the case was advancing through the courts. 

“At that point, we decided that we needed someone that advocates for the family so that we could try to get some information and try to have someone on our side that has the legal knowledge of what we can and cannot do or should be informed on,” he said. 

Mitchell Smallwood was the baby brother, the youngest of nine children, Virgil Smallwood said. He called his brother a friendly but reserved person. 

“He always kept his feelings to himself because he didn’t want to feel like he put his burdens on other people,” Virgil Smallwood said. “He always wanted to make sure that other people around him were smiling and having a good day.” 

According to White County records seen through an online database, Sanders was given an $83,000 property bond Aug. 7. 

Public defender Samuel Wood, who is representing Sanders, did not respond to a request for comment from The Times Friday. 

According to Wood’s motion for modifying the bond filed Sept. 9, Sanders was out of custody on the bond since Aug. 10 and had an ankle monitor. 

“When bond was granted after a hearing, the court initially ruled that Ms. Sanders would not be subject to an electronic monitoring requirement; however, the court reversed this ruling during the hearing, stating that after 30 days of monitoring, Ms. Sanders could request review and modification of that specific bond condition,” according to Wood’s motion. 

A bond order signed Thursday, Sept. 24, stated Sanders shall have “no social media presence” and allowed the ankle monitor to be removed. 

“It seems like they are bending over backwards to accommodate her,” Parrish said.