Men Charged with Marine's Murder to Be Indicted by Grand Jury
In a hearing Friday, a Cobb County Magistrate Judge ruled that the men will be held without bond until they are indicted by a grand jury.
A Cobb County Magistrate Judge ruled Friday that the indictment of the four men charged with the murder of Acworth Marine Zach Gamble will go before a grand jury.
Earlier this month Cobb County police arrested Arthur Lynell Batchelor, 37, of Acworth; Tarell Winston Secrest, 36, of Marietta; Jason Scott Hill, 35, of Marietta; and Sean DGene Hall, 38, of Mableton, and charged them with committing felony murder, aggravated assault and aggravated battery against Gamble. The men are still being held without bond.
Gamble, a two-tour Iraq veteran, was found unconscious in the parking lot of Concord Crossing apartments in Smyrna in the early morning hours of March 25. A taxi driver struck his body while backing into a parking space, but Cobb County police determined that the worst of his injuries were not caused by the taxi and suspected he’d been beaten.
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported that at Friday’s hearing a detective testified that Gamble sustained three skull fractures in the beating. Gamble lived for two more weeks in a coma before being taken off life support.
At the hearing a Cobb County police detective’s testimony recreated the events that led to Gamble’s murder. The Marine was attending a birthday party for Secrest, a middle school friend, in Smyrna on March 25.
The detective said it’s known that drugs and alcohol were served at the party saying it’s likely Gamble was intoxicated, but it’s not known if he and the men charged with murder were under the influence of drugs. However, the detective said witnesses confirmed that Gamble left the party twice to buy cocaine.
Late in the course of the all-night party Gamble began recounting war stories from his two tours in Iraq, including the deaths of women and children and an incident where a man’s head was shot off his body. When asked to leave, Gamble grew belligerent and texted his friend a three-word taunt that the AJC said was too inappropriate to reprint.
At this time one of the men confronted Gamble in the parking lot where the Marine threw the first punch, the detective testified. Three other men joined the scuffle. Ultimately Gamble fell to the ground where he was kicked and hit in the face.
A defense attorney asked the detective if there was any way the Marine’s head injuries could have been caused by the taxi, but the detective said there was no evidence to support that. The detective also testified that Secrest didn’t seem surprised when he learned of his friend’s injuries from police.