The lawyer representing a Cumming, GA homeowner who hosted a sleepover where a Black woman died in November has released a statement.
Tamla Horsford, 40, died on November 4, 2018 while attending a "football moms" sleepover with 7 women at a home in Forsyth County, a predominantly white area notorious for its racist past.
Horsford's body was discovered in the front yard by the homeowner's aunt who arrived at the house at 7:30 a.m. Horsford was severely beaten about the head and face.
No one called 911 to report her death until 2 hours later.
Three men also attended the all-women's sleepover that night. One of the men, Jose Barrera, was terminated from his job as a probation officer for using his work terminal to access classified documents about the Horsford investigation in which he was a witness.
By coincidence, his girlfriend is the owner of the home where Horsford died.
Horsford is survived by her husband Leander, five sons ranging in age from 4-14, and a stepdaughter Akieshma.
In a press release on Feb. 15, attorney Eric Tatum, who represents the homeowner, objected to Mrs. Horsford's friends and family referring to her death as "murder" on social media.
Tatum complained that the partygoers and their families received death threats on social media. "The threats need to stop," he wrote.
He said everyone who was present in his client's home that night has cooperated completely with law enforcement officers.
Tatum noted that Horsford's cause of death was ruled "an accidental fall from a residential deck" and her death certificate listed "acute ethanol intoxication" as a contributing factor.
Additionally, the Benzodiazepine Xanax was found in her bloodstream.
But Horsford's family insists she was not taking Xanax or any other anxiety medicine.
Friends note that a fall of 8 feet would not have caused the serious injuries to Horsford's head and face.
Tatum concluded his statement by asking "for the community and media to please respect the privacy and safety of our client and others who were at the party."
Thatstea.com posted an image that shows Horsford on the final night of her life. She is wearing pajamas and grinning from ear to ear on a sectional sofa between 6 of the 7 women who attended the sleepover. The other women's faces are obscured with emojis to protect their identities. There are no men in the photo.
Until this past weekend, an Internet search of Horsford's name returned only links to her obituaries and a GoFundMe page. But her supporters are demanding justice for Horsford under the Twitter hashtag #TamlaHorsford and in postings on Instagram and Facebook.
Atlanta radio personality Ryan Cameron plans to discuss Horsford's case during his show on Majic 107.5 (weekdays 2-6 pm).
And Reddit.com users are asking what happened to Horsford.
"I could easily see this crime being racially motivated," wrote one Reddit user. And a resident of Forsyth County writes, "There's no real way to tell at this point if this was racially motivated, but it sure does seem likely given the social climate around here."
ICYMI: County employee fired for accessing police reports into a death he witnessed. pic.twitter.com/kgRJWcV9QZ
— Mike Petchenik (@MPetchenikWSB) February 11, 2019