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Defendant Melody Farris stands with defense attorney Michael Ray during her first appearance hearing on charges that she killed her husband in 2018.

A Free Home woman accused of shooting her husband last year and burning his body on a debris pile at their home will have a bond hearing July 16.

Melody Farris, 59, was arrested and charged on June 18 with malice murder, aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and concealing the death of another. The body of Gary Farris, 58, was found badly burned on the couple’s 10-acre property on July 5, 2018.

Her request to be released on bond is scheduled to be heard in Cherokee County Superior Court at 1:30 p.m. July 16 at the Frank C. Mills III Justice Center, 90 North St., Canton.

The bond hearing comes after a preliminary hearing last week in which a Cherokee Sheriff’s Office investigator testified that Melody Farris told a friend that during the time family members believed Gary Farris was missing, that his body was “on the burn pile,” at the property where they lived.

Investigator Daniel Hayes testified that Rusty Barton, who admitted a long-term affair with Melody Farris, revealed that she told him about the location of her husband’s body in a phone conversation.

Barton lives in Tullahoma, Tennessee, where Melody Farris was arrested.

Hayes also testified that blood was found in several areas of the Farris home, and that DNA testing showed that blood found in the basement was Gary Farris’.

In analyzing crime scene evidence, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation determined that Gary Farris was killed by a gunshot wound and listed his manner of death as homicide. Hayes testified at the preliminary hearing that a bullet was recovered from Farris’ rib.

According to Melody Farris’ arrest warrant, Gary Farris was shot more than once. It also indicates authorities believe he was killed on July 3 between noon and 6 p.m.

The couple’s 10-acre property includes a pond, creek, several pastures and an extensive amount of wooded area.

Gary Farris was a partner at the Atlanta-based Burr & Forman law firm, which he founded in 1995, according to the firm’s website. He practiced in Georgia and Alabama, representing banks and other lenders, including Wells Fargo Bank and Regions Bank.

Melody Farris’ attorney Michael Ray has said his firm, Grisham and Poole, will be conducting its own investigation into Gary Farris’ death and others who might be responsible for his homicide.

“We anticipate vigorously contesting these charges,” Ray has said.

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