The four men accused of beating to death an ex-Marine and single father will spend the next 20 years in prison after agreeing to a deal approved Wednesday morning by a Cobb County judge.
Zach Gamble, 34, was repeatedly punched in the face and kicked by the men — one of whom, Tarell Winston Secrest, 37, of Marietta, had been a friend — while lying on the ground in the parking lot of a Cobb apartment complex in March 2012. Gamble was discovered about 40 minutes later lying unconscious by a taxi driver who had accidentally run over his leg. He died in the hospital two weeks later after his family removed him from life support.
Prosecutor Michael Carlson described the beating as “severe, brutal and ultimately lethal.”
Secrest and the other defendants — Arthur Lynell Batchelor, 38, of Acworth; Jason Scott Hill, 36, of Marietta; and Sean DGene Hall, 39, of Atlanta — agreed to plead guilty to voluntary manslaughter and aggravated battery and were sentenced to 30 years in prison with 20 to serve. Malice murder charges were dropped due to questions about legal provocation, the degree of culpability of each defendant and the lack of eyewitness testimony, Carlson said.
The victim’s friends and family, who kept the case in the public eye, packed the courtroom Wednesday morning. Gamble, who survived two tours in Iraq as a Marine corporal and squad leader, left behind a 7-year-old son.