Georgia State law student instrumental in proving man’s innocence dies in crash

ATLANTA — Georgia State’s College of Law announced that one of its students died in a car crash last week.

The college said third-year law student Alex Patafio died in the crash on Thursday.

“Our deepest condolences go out to Alex’s family, friends and colleagues who are grieving her loss,” Georgia State officials said.

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The school said she aspired to be a criminal defense attorney and was one of 34 students participating in local pro bono projects.


Channel 2 Investigative Reporter Mark Winne met Patafio weeks before her death at a law office she worked at as a law clerk while she was pursuing a public interest law & policy certificate.

At the time, Patafio was working to prove the innocence of Arthur Manning, a man accused of armed robbery.

Patafio’s boss at the Arora Law Firm, Manny Arora, said Patafio and fellow law school student Robert Wilson’s work helped to sway the DeKalb County District Attorney’s Office into dropping the charges against Manning, who spent six months in jail.

Patafio and another law student Robert Wilson used cellphone records to show Manning was not at the scene of the crime when it happened.

“You know, we’re very happy that justice was served today,” Patafio said, regarding a case Channel 2 told you about last month as she worked to prove a man’s innocence.

DeKalb Superior Court Judge Shondeanna Morris said she commended Wilson and Patafio in court for their crucial work on the Manning case.

“Arthur Manning’s life will forever be changed and so I was just very heartbroken to hear about the tragedy over this weekend,” Morris said. “She will be missed in our profession.”

Police said Patifio died in a crash with a wrong-way driver Friday night on the Buford Highway Connector. The wrong-way driver was also killed.

“She was just coming back after having dinner with her parents in Roswell and she was just driving home to her place in midtown when the accident happened,” Arora said.

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The Georgia State College of Law community had a moment of silence Monday at noon.

“I think anybody who knows Alex would say that she was just like a bright star and she just had a spirit that was contagious,” fellow student Zoe Siepert said. “She was always fired up about something, some sort of injustice, and I think she was just like a firecracker for lack of a better word.”

DeKalb District Attorney Sherry Boston issued a statement Monday, writing,

“We appreciate her passion and commitment to the pursuit of justice and pray that her work and impact serve as an inspiration to other aspiring attorneys.”