Macon attorney Althea Buafo loses battle with cancer

Althea Buafo, one of Macon’s leading defense attorneys who was known for her mohawk haircut, died about 3 p.m. this afternoon after a battle with cancer. She was 48.

Buafo had been seriously ill since November 2007. She underwent brain surgery in September 2008, according to a letter she wrote to a judge asking for a Superior Court case to be continued in 2008.

Buafo was born in England in 1961, and she later immigrated to the United States when she was 10 along with her family.

The family lived in Pennsylvania and Ohio before moving to Macon in the early 1980s. Buafo’s father, Charles Buafo, opened a medical practice.

After earning an undergraduate degree from Eckerd College in St. Petersburg, Fla., Buafo returned to Macon, where she attended Mercer University law school. She launched her legal career in 1987.

Her career has been associated with several high-profile cases, including Robert E. Starr’s 1996 trial alleging that he and two other Middle Georgia men had made pipe bombs and conspired to blow up a government building. Starr was sentenced to eight years in federal prison.

In 2004, Buafo represented Macon rapper and performer Sonny Spoon, who was convicted in federal court on several drug charges.

She also represented Tavaris Smith, who was convicted in connection with the 2003 death of his schoolteacher wife. Tiffany Smith was fatally shot as she slept. The conviction later was overturned on appeal and will be retried.