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Jury hung in case of road rage
Incident claimed life of 1999 NFHS grad
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Forsyth County News

After three days of jury deliberation, a criminal case of road rage that resulted in the death of an Iraq war veteran from Forsyth County has ended in mistrial.

Jack Robert Snook, 24, was shot to death in April 2005, reportedly after an early-morning traffic dispute at the corner of Linden Avenue and West Peachtree Street in Atlanta.

Charles Anthony Key, now 27, was later arrested at his home in northern Fulton County and charged with murder.

The trial began last week in Fulton County Superior Court.

The jury was not able to reach a verdict Tuesday on voluntary manslaughter and aggravated assault charges.

Key's attorney, Dennis Scheib, said afterward that his client asserted from the beginning that he didn't do anything wrong.

"The jury evidently couldn't reach a verdict," Scheib said. "They came back 9-3 on the manslaughter, not guilty, and 6-6 on the other.

"From the very beginning, we knew it would be a very difficult case for the state to prove."

Assistant Fulton County District Attorney Eleanor Ross said it would be up to District Attorney Paul Howard whether to retry the case.

Ross said Howard met with Snook's family before the trial ended to let them know that attorneys would be talking with the jury to get feedback before any decision on a retrial is made.

Attempts to reach members of Snook's family have not been successful.

Witnesses told police in 2005 that Snook was a passenger in a vehicle that morning when it pulled up next to a pickup truck driven by Key near the Radisson Hotel.

According to police reports, the two men argued. Then Snook got out of the car and confronted Key, who shot Snook in the face. Key then fled in his truck.

Scheib said Key was defending himself when the shooting occurred and that it's "an unfortunate situation for everybody."

"A young man died, a young man may be retried," Scheib said. "He's got to live with he killed somebody. That's not what he intended at all."

Scheib said Key would not likely accept a plea deal.

"Unless they give us something that my client can live with, I don't know if that's what will happen," Scheib said.

Snook graduated in 1999 from North Forsyth High School, where he played running back and free safety on the Raiders football team.

Last year, the school named a leadership and character award in his honor. Recipients of the award, which is presented to one football player each year, wear Snook's number, 40.

Snook served in the U.S. Marine Corps from January 2001 until February 2005. He was survived by his father, Jack "Gunny" Snook and mother Patricia Snook of Cumming, wife Cara Snook and a young daughter.