Melody Farris pleaded not guilty Wednesday to charges related to the 2018 murder of her husband, attorney Gary Farris at their estate in Free Home.

Farris is accused of killing her husband and burning his body on their 10-acre Cherokee County property. She is charged with malice murder, felony murder, aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, concealing a death and false statements to police.

Though bond was set at $250,000 in November, Farris was still in custody at the Cherokee County jail Wednesday afternoon.

Superior Court Judge David Cannon set the bond with the following conditions: Farris must give up her passport, she is required to wear an ankle monitor and adhere to a curfew, she is to stay with her daughter in Hall County and she is not allowed to contact any witnesses.

On July 5, 2018, Cherokee Sheriff’s deputies responded to 2155 Purcell Lane in the Free Home community after human remains were located on the property. The remains, which were burned extensively, were later identified as Gary Farris, 58, an attorney who owned the property and lived there with his wife, Melody Farris.

In analyzing crime scene evidence, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation determined that Gary Farris was killed by gunshot wound and listed his manner of death as homicide. Arrest warrants in the case state Farris was shot more than once.

In earlier hearings in the case, 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.

An indictment dated Jan. 13 formally charges Farris with shooting her husband with a gun and hiding the evidence. According to the indictment, she also lied to police about an extramarital affair with Rusty Barton, which she told authorities had ended a year prior, though Barton later told investigators they were still in a relationship at the time.

Michael Ray, Farris’ attorney, said he is in the review and discovery process for the case, and expects it may be about six months before the case goes to trial. His firm, Grisham and Poole, is conducting its own investigation into the death.

Shannon is a reporter covering education, city governments, crime, features, religion and other local news. She is a graduate of Young Harris College and currently lives in unincorporated Woodstock.

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