Cobb County

Victims’ families, community members urging parole board to keep Cobb serial killer in prison

MARIETTA, Ga. — Dozens gathered in Marietta Square on Thursday to honor the lives of four victims killed 30 years ago.

Ronald Freeman started his killing spree on January 1992. He’s eligible for parole in February 2023.

Amanda Planchard organized the vigil. She hopes it sends a clear message to the Georgia State Board of Pardons and Paroles.

Planchard met exclusively with Channel 2′s Chris Jose before the vigil.

“I wouldn’t want to say anything to Ronald Freeman. I wouldn’t waste my breath on him,” said Planchard. “We’re still hurting. This community is still impacted. Deny him parole.”

Amanda Planchard’s brother, Chet Planchard, was a 16-year-old student-athlete at Wheeler High School. Freeman killed him inside a Burger King on Powers Ferry Road.


“He (Freeman) ordered some food, handed over two dollars, and when my brother opened the register to make change, he shot him and grabbed the money without any demand,” said Planchard. “It was clear that he went robbing places with the intent to kill. I think that makes it different. And I think that makes him inappropriate for parole.”

Freeman also killed Rakesh Patel, Al-Tariq Shaheed and Terri Waddell.

Waddell was murdered in front of her 4-year-old daughter while she worked at a convenience store.

“I understand that people can be rehabilitated and get released from prison after serving their time, but I don’t understand how we could do that for an inmate like this. For a case like this. It just doesn’t make sense,” said Planchard. “Unfortunately, the life without parole law that Georgia created didn’t occur until 1993. Which was after this had occurred.”

Freeman’s parole was denied in 2015.

A spokesman for the state board of pardons and paroles told Jose it must provide ‘meaningful consideration’ for life sentenced inmates at least every eight years. The spokesman said protests for and against parole are considered.

Planchard is urging the community to write letters to the parole board. She provided additional background in a Facebook post.