Coffee County - Robert Smith defeated his brother-in-law, Carlton Evans to become sheriff in 2000. But even before Smith took office, Carlton Evans died of a gunshot wound as agents closed in to arrest him on drug charges. More than five years later, Carlton Evans family still insists he did not kill himself.
You don't believe your brother committed suicide. "With the evidence that my family witnessed that day and the evidence that we have gathered since that day, we firmly believe that Carlton Evans did not die the way they stated," says Faye Paulk, Carlton Evans' sister.
She says, "They [investigators] state he died as a suicide and we totally reject that."
Rather, the family believes when federal agents surrounded the home on October 3rd, something else took place in the woods. They say two gunshots were fired, one of them killing Carlton Evans. Paulk says, "We believe the evidence we have will stand in any court to prove that he did not commit suicide."
Evidence they've been collecting since the day he died, but they say they haven't been able to have their day in court because of Sheriff Rob Smith. Paulk says, "We're looking forward to the day that he is out of office and we hopefully can get a Sheriff that will help us and support us, so we can move forward and one day my brother will have the justice he deserves."
And until that day, they'll keep looking for answers into Carlton Evans' death. Faye Paulk says, "We're asking anybody that has info that can help us to come forward." So the family can move forward themselves.
A wrongful death suit filed by the family against the GBI is still pending. A federal civil rights suit filed against the state of Georgia was settled for $5,000, most of which went to attorney's fees.