Cobb Assistant District Attorney Marc Cella presented the evidence before Cobb Magistrate Court Judge Frank Cox during a probable cause hearing, which ended with four Cobb men behind bars, waiting to see if they will be prosecuted in Gamble’s death.
Cox ruled that there is enough evidence to keep the four men — Sean DGen Hall, 38, of Mableton; Tarell Winston Secrest, 36, of Marietta; Jason Scott Hill, 35, of Marietta; and Arthur Lynell Batchelor, 37, of Acworth — locked up while he sent the case to a grand jury.
Cox denied bond for all four.
Detective John Dawes with Cobb Police summarized for the court the account of the night of Gamble’s death he pieced together by interviewing the defendants and others with knowledge of the evening.
Dawes said the four men were gathered at the apartment where Secrest was living with his fiancee in Concord Chase Apartments in Smyrna for Secrest’s birthday party, but Gamble was asked to leave just after 5 the morning because he was telling war stories about seeing women and children killed while he was serving in the Middle East.
Dawes said Gamble sent Secrest, who he’s known for about 20 years, a text message shortly after that that said “piece of s---,” after which the four defendants went down to the parking lot and confronted Gamble.
Dawes said he thinks Gamble struck one of the defendants first, and then the four men hit and possibly kicked him repeatedly.
Gamble was found unresponsive in the apartment complex parking lot by a cab driver just before 6:15 a.m. that day. He was taken to WellStar Kennestone Hospital in Marietta, underwent surgery that night and was pronounced dead from blunt force trauma on April 8.
“The manner of death is believed to be homicide, and the cause of death is believed to be associated with blunt force trauma,” Dawes said. “That included (three) skull fractures … The only other injuries I identified were prominent bruising that came up on his left bicep and shoulder and a wide bruise along the back of his right knee.”
He said he never saw any defensive injuries to Gamble’s hands or arms during his visits to the hospital, which would have indicated that he tried to defend himself.
Dawes said that two times during the night of the incident, Secrest, Gamble and Batchelor left the apartment to go buy cocaine in Secrest’s fiancee’s car. While no one apparently saw the three ever using the drug, nor was evidence of it found in the apartment or the vehicle, Dawes said it should show up in the medical examiner’s toxicology report, which hasn’t been released.
Each of the four defendants had their own attorney, whose questions focused on what blows Dawes believes their clients were responsible for.
Batchelor has previously been arrested on charges of reckless driving and possession of marijuana with an intent to distribute, Cox pointed out in denying bond.
A trial date has not been set, but Cobb County Superior Court Judge Dorothy A. Robinson is expected to preside over it.