Cherokee County man sentenced to life for murdering his wife, DA says

A 71-year-old Cherokee County man convicted of shooting and killing his wife last summer has been sentenced to life in prison.

Earlier this week, a jury found Charles Terry Collins guilty of malice murder, felony murder, family violence aggravated assault and possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony in the death of his wife, 63-year-old Deborah Sherry Collins.

He was sentenced to life in prison plus an additional five years on Friday.

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In July 2023, officers arrived at the couple’s Canton home where the found Charles Collins with a gun in his hand and his wife dead on the floor of their living room with a knife in her hand.

Charles Collins told detectives that he killed his wife in self-defense after she came at him with a knife. Investigators say there was no blood on the knife, but other things near her body did have blood on them.

To the untrained eye, this crime scene could have appeared to be an open and shut case of self-defense,” said Deputy Chief Assistant District Attorney Rachel Ashe. “They picked up on the obvious signs of staging, indicating the knife was not in Deborah’s hand when she was shot.”


After the shooting, Ashe says he did not try to help Deborah Collins or call 911. Instead, he called his son and told him that he “shot that [expletive].”

During the trial, prosecutors called 15 witnesses to the stand and presented more than 300 pieces of evidence.

The jury deliberated for about three hours before returning a verdict.

“By the conclusion of this trial, it was clear to the jury that this man was acting out of anger when he killed his wife, not fear. He refused to help her and just left her there to die,” said District Attorney Susan K. Treadaway. “This crime has torn this family apart, and it is our hope that this sentence can start to provide healing and closure.”

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