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Attorney blasts city after Wadsworth-Clayton cemetery win

City attorney Bobby Melton declined comment last week after the Georgia Court of Appeals issued the latest blow to Barnesville’s plan to relocate over 100 graves from the historic Wadsworth-Clayton cemetery. In a ruling issued June 18, a three-judge panel denied an appeal filed by the city which sought to overturn Judge Tommy Wilson’s July 27, 2018 denial of a grave relocation permit. Judge Amanda Mercier wrote the opinion with justices Anne Elizabeth Barnes and Trent Brown concurring. In the ruling, Judge Mercier wrote the evidence supported Judge Wilson’s denial, no reversible error of law appears and an opinion would have no value for setting future precedents. The city has until Friday to file a motion for reconsideration. Melton declined to say if such a motion would be filed. Mike Ross and Cynthia Wadsworth, direct Wadsworth descendants, have led the fight against the grave relocation. They are represented by attorneys John Strauss and Ed Furr, respectively. Strauss, likewise, declined to comment. Furr, however, did expound on the situation. ’I remain appalled that the city spent so much of everyone’s tax money trying to beat up this good family with wrongful and ill-advised applications of the legal process. Instead of defending this historically significant site, they poured considerable resources and legal talent into the destruction of the county’s heritage. Instead of defending the right of a family to have its kinfolk and ancestors’ burial ground kept sacred and undisturbed, they attacked a family with limited financial resources with a taxpayer-funded law firm aided by the most powerful and famous law firm in Georgia,’ Furr said. Furr hopes the battle is now over. ’The adversaries of this family are talented and well funded but two superior courts and the Court of Appeals have definitely told the City of Barnesville to let the honored dead rest in peace on the brow of that lovely Lamar County hill,’ Furr continued. The battle dates back to July 13, 2017 when the county commission voted 3-2 to grant a grave relocation permit in order to spur industrial growth. Descendants filed for relief in Fulton County superior court, arguing the issue should have gone before a Lamar superior court judge, and they prevailed. That led to arguments before Judge Wilson and his ultimate denial of the permit which has now been upheld.

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