Cobb magistrate judge finds no probable cause for aggravated stalking charge against Iowa man

Doorway to magistrate court, the court which conducts eviction hearings

by Caleb Groves

During a hearing Wednesday a Cobb County magistrate judge was unable to find probable cause for a homeless man born in Iowa to be charged with aggravated stalking of a Roswell woman, although there are other charges likely against the man.

A protective order had been issued against the man, stating he cannot be within 500 yards of a Roswell woman, her residence or her family for 12 months. The order was placed on August 15, 2023.

The man was found inside a vacant mansion near the woman’s residence.

Cobb County Police Officer Aaron White’s Testimony

On Aug. 22, 2023, police were notified of a burglary in a vacant mansion. Officers found evidence of the man’s utilization of the mansion’s air, electricity and water, White said. Police believe the man even had the basement movie theater thermostat set at 51 degrees Fahrenheit.

Officers have found trespassers occupying the vacant mansion in the past, White said.

Inside the mansion’s master closet, White found a considerable amount of psilocybin mushrooms, a scale, and ammunition for a 40-caliber Smith & Wesson handgun. Alongside these items, White found probation paperwork from Story, Iowa, with the man’s name. In another bag, White found condoms, lube and sexual enhancement pills, which are items a rapist might use.

The man was arrested on September 11, 2023 and booked into the Cobb County Adult Detention Center.

The man’s car had been spotted in the area 15 to 20 times and the family was extremely concerned for their safety, White said. Coinciding with the case, the man had been shipping packages to the woman’s residence.

Magistrate Judge Michael McLaughlin’s Decision

After hearing the testimony of White and looking over the facts of the case, McLaughlin questioned whether or not what the man did was considered to be aggravated stalking.

The totality of the circumstances could make him a criminal, and he will likely face other charges.

However, McLaughlin’s decision is that it didn’t meet the criteria for aggravated stalking “if the victim was unaware of his presence.”

There cannot be emotional distress if the victim is unaware of his presence. There are other charges possible. However, aggravated stalking is not one of them, McLaughlin said.

McLaughlin dismissed the case.

Caleb Groves is a Journalism student at Kennesaw State University, where he is a junior.

Originally from Minnesota, Caleb moved to Georgia with his family, where he now lives in Woodstock with his Father, Stepmom and numerous pets.

When he is not in writing, in class or coaching rock climbing, he spends his time listening to music and rock climbing both indoors and out