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Gainesville woman accused of killing elderly fiance, living with body set for trial later this month
Tabitha Zeldia Wood
Tabitha Zeldia Wood

A Gainesville woman accused of killing her 82-year-old fiance and then living with the body for months is set to stand trial later this month.

Tabitha Zeldia Wood, 46, faces murder charges for the April 2022 death of Leroy Franklin Kramer Jr. 

Hall County Sheriff’s Office deputies went June 7 to Kramer’s Candler Road residence for a wellness check.

Wood told deputies Kramer died in the first week of April and that she was living in the home with Kramer’s body since then, according to the Sheriff’s Office. 

The case is set for trial on March 13.

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Leroy Kramer Jr. was found dead at his Candler Road home by Hall County deputies. A Gainesville woman, Tabitha Zeldia Wood, 45, was charged with with felony murder, aggravated assault and concealing the death of her 82-year-old fiance, telling law enforcement in June, 2022 she had lived with the body since April, according to authorities. - photo by Scott Rogers

A Hall County grand jury returned a new indictment for Wood Feb. 15 that added a charge of malice murder, claiming Kramer died from a traumatic injury to his neck and chest.

Defense attorney Rob McNeill expressed frustration about the new indictment being filed roughly a month before the trial was set to start, as it affects the trial strategy.

Felony murder in Georgia is charged when a person is accused of killing someone while committing a felony. 

In the new indictment, Wood faces two felony murder counts predicated on charges of aggravated assault against a person 65 years of age and older and exploitation of an elder person.

Malice murder is defined as killing another person “unlawfully and with malice aforethought, either express or implied.”

Express malice is considered an intentional, unlawful act to take another person’s life which can be proven. Implied malice is when there is “no considerable provocation” and the circumstances show “an abandoned and malignant heart,” according to Georgia law.

Citing the proximity to the prospective trial, Northeastern Judicial Circuit District Attorney Lee Darragh declined to comment regarding the new indictment.

Wood was also charged with concealing the death of another and financial transaction card theft.

The previous indictment alleged Wood injured Kramer with a lamp, but that phrase was not included in the new indictment. Instead, the wording states Wood assaulted Kramer “with an object unknown to the grand jury.”

The prosecution played a portion of the body camera footage from the deputy performing the wellness check during a Wednesday, March 1, hearing before Superior Court Judge Lindsay Burton.

The footage shows Wood mentioning that she was scared about making a report and that the couple had an argument, but saying she was not in the right frame of mind to discuss what happened when questioned by the deputy.

McNeill did not return requests for comment following the hearing.