Attorney for man accused of abusing stepson declares innocence - CBS46 News

Attorney for man accused of abusing stepson declares client's innocence

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ATLANTA (CBS ATLANTA) -

The allegations against a Paulding County man accused of locking his teenager in a room for four years are shocking.

The Paulding County District Attorney's Office and the Sheriff's Department said Paul Comer locked his stepson, Mitch, 18, in a room for years, kept him from going to school since the eighth grade and subjected him to brutal punishment.

Paul Comer's lawyer, Scott Smith, said his client is not guilty.

"My client is innocent," Smith said.

CBS Atlanta News asked Smith if he committed the acts of which he is accused.

Smith responded, "We're doing our own independent investigation and we need to look into all the facts before we can make a comment on it."

Authorities said Paul Comer and his wife Sheila Comer subjected Mitch to horrific punishment, fed him very little and kept him locked in a room at their home in Dallas, cut off from the outside world for years.

"Our desire is to try the case in courtroom as opposed to trying the case in the media," Smith said.

Investigators said the family moved from state-to-state dozens, of times over past two decades, but for now the teen's parents are staying put at the Paulding County Jail.

CBS Atlanta News asked Smith if the family was trying to hide something.  

Smith responded, "The answer is no. They're not trying to hide anything. As for being transient, I do not have an answer for you."

After years of abuse, Paul Comer did something no loving parent would ever do, authorities said.  He drove Mitch to Jackson, MS, and put him on a bus to Los Angeles with $200 in his pocket and a list of homeless shelters, investigators said.

Smith said the picture authorities have painted of his client doesn't tell the whole story.

"There's a lot of information out there that appears to be inaccurate," Smith said. 

When asked what the inaccuracies are, Smith answered, "I don't want to get into the details at this time."

CBS Atlanta News has also learned that the Cherokee County Sheriff's Department investigated the Comer family for accusations of abuse in 2009.

A spokesman said they closed the case because the allegations were "unfounded."

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