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Athens couple charged with helping to cover up UGA student's hit-and-run death

Sophia Harris Steward

By Joe Johnson

Two more people were arrested Friday in connection with a hit-and-run collision last month that killed a University of Georgia student, Athens-Clarke County police said.

Sophia Harris Steward, 57, and her husband Roderick Dejuan Marble, 47, both of Rustwood Drive, attempted to cover up the actions of Steward’s daughter, Virkerria Steward, who was previously charged with first-degree homicide by vehicle for the March 21 death of 21-year-old Knox Whiten as the UGA student was walking on the Athens Perimeter near North Chase Street, according to police.

Roderick Dejuan Marble
Virkerria Steward

After Virkerria fled the scene, police said that Marble and Sophia Steward helped her destroy evidence in Jackson County by setting fire to the Chevrolet Cruze that Virkerria was driving when she allegedly struck Whiten.

Sophia Steward and Marble are each charged by Athens-Clarke County police with false report of a crime and felony tampering with evidence, and in Jackson County they both face charges of second-degree arson.

A photo that was posted to Knox Whiten's Facebook page in March 2019

Hit-and-run collisions resulting in death are among the most challenging cases to solve, and ACCPD’s Traffic Unit has significant experience with such investigations. The unit’s members undergo extensive specialized training regarding accident reconstruction, investigations of vehicular homicides, and hit-and-run crashes.

“I appreciate the diligent effort our investigators put into this case, working to bring these three individuals to justice," Athens-Clarke County Police Chief Cleveland Spruill said. “These arrests showcase our Traffic Unit’s experience, training, and skills.”

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