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Vets death case won't return to court
Fulton prosecutor decides against retrial
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Forsyth County News

Fulton County's district attorney said this week he will not retry a case of road rage that resulted in the death of an Iraq war veteran from Forsyth County.

The case ended Aug. 19 in a mistrial after a Fulton County Superior Court jury failed to reach a verdict against Charles Anthony Key, 27, of Atlanta.

Key was facing voluntary manslaughter and aggravated assault charges in connection with the April 2005 shooting death of 24-year-old Jack Robert Snook.

Jurors split 9-3 on the manslaughter charge and 6-6 on the assault charge.

District Attorney Paul Howard posted a statement on his office's Web site Monday saying he will not try the case again after "lengthy discussions with the victim's family and former members of the jury that heard this case."

"We have also explored every possible angle regarding changing our trial strategy in this matter," Howard said.

"However, after reviewing all aspects of the trial and the facts and circumstances of this incident, we have determined that it is not in the best interest of justice to retry this case."

Snook died during an early-morning traffic dispute at the corner of Linden Avenue and West Peachtree Street in Atlanta. Key was later arrested at his home in northern Fulton County and charged with murder.

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. Snook reportedly got out of the car and confronted Key, who shot Snook in the face. Key then fled in his truck.

Howard said his office first took on the case "because of my strong feelings against citizens unnecessarily taking the law into their own hands."

In the statement, though, he notes that Snook got out of his vehicle and approached Key's truck.

As a result, Howard noted, "We must understand that even law-abiding citizens may differ on the question of culpability in this incident."

Members of Snook's family have declined to comment on the case.

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.

Survivors include: his father, Jack "Gunny" Snook; mother Patricia Snook; brother, Jason Snook; wife, Cara Snook; and a young daughter.