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Accusations filed against three Athens residents for hit-and-run death of UGA student

Hit-and-run victim Knox Whiten

By Joe Johnson

Three people were formally charged recently in connection with the hit-and-run death of a University of Georgia student seven months ago.

The student, 21-year-old Knox Whiten of Toccoa, was walking in a travel lane of the Athens perimeter, with his back against traffic in the early morning hours of March 21, when he was fatally struck from behind by a Chevrolet Cruze driven by 28-year-old Virkerria Lacole Steward, who fled the scene, according to Athens-Clarke County police.

After a weeklong investigation, the police Traffic Unit identified Steward as the driver and charged her with first-degree homicide by vehicle, hit and run, and driving on a suspended license.

A week later Stewart and her mother, 58-year-old Sophia Harris Steward were each charged with false report of a crime, for reporting that the Chevrolet Cruz that struck Whiten had been stolen had actually been torched in Jackson County, in what police said was an attempt to destroy evidence.

Assisting in the cover-up was Sophia Steward’s husband, 48-year-old Roderick Dejuan Marble, according to police.

Virkerria Steward
Sophia Steward
Roderick Marble

Last week, on Oct. 21, the Western Judicial Circuit District Attorney’s Office filed three separate accusations in Superior Court charging Virkerria Steward with first-degree homicide by vehicle, hit and run, driving while license expired, false report of a crime; Sophia Steward with false report of a crime and tampering with evidence; and Marble with tampering with evidence.

All three defendants are free on bonds and are scheduled to be arraigned on Nov. 15.

Arson charges against Marble and his wife are pending in Jackson County.

3,319 views5 comments


Oct 30, 2021

Yeah, I still don't understand why someone would be walking on the highway though. Was he drunk? Having a mental health crisis? I mean, these people didn't handle the situation well, obviously, but I wonder if they would have gotten out of it had they just called 911 when it happened and explained that the person was in the road in the early morning hours.

Replying to

Was she drunk when she hit him and made the decision to leave him and kept going? Were all of them when they came up with the idea to file a fake police report and report the car stolen and then burn the car? Lots of questions and only one person that never gets to answer them.


Awful story. What is a "travel lane"? There isn't anywhere on the Athens Perimeter you should be walking during the day let alone at night. Please explain.

Classic City News
Classic City News
Oct 29, 2021
Replying to

Travel lane where vehicles drive as opposed to the shoulder where pedestrians are more likely to walk

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