Cobb District Attorney Vic Reynolds said for his office to accept the plea deals, all four men had to except responsibility for the death of Gamble, a 34-year-old Acworth man who had served two tours of duty in Iraq. He had a 7-year-old son at the time of his death.
Cobb Superior Court Judge A. Gregory Poole sentenced Sean Hall, 40, of Mableton, Jason Hill, 36, of Woodstock, Tarell Secrest, 37, of Marietta and Arthur Batchelor, 38, of Acworth to 20 years in prison for voluntary manslaughter and aggravated battery.
Reynolds said the four men received the maximum time with an additional 10 years of probation.
“It was the toughest sentence possible, so we are very satisfied with it,” Reynolds said.
During the nearly three-hour hearing, Deputy Chief Assistant District Attorney Michael Scott Carlson told the court in the early morning of March 25, 2012, the defendants used their hands, fists and feet to beat and stomp Gamble.
Gamble underwent brain surgery and was on life support, then died two weeks later on April 8, 2012. A medical examiner’s report revealed Gamble suffered from three skull fractures and had cocaine in his system.
All four defendants were arrested several weeks after the attack, and held at the Cobb jail without bond.
The story of Gamble’s life
According to the investigation by the Cobb County Police Department, the birthday party celebration at Secrest’s Concord Chase apartment, at 2935 Old Concord Road just west of South Cobb Drive, turned deadly.
Detective John Dawes with Cobb Police Department, who testified May 18, 2012, at a probable-cause hearing, did not speak at Wednesday’s meeting.
Dawes previously stated Gamble was asked to leave just after 5 a.m. after telling war stories about seeing women and children killed while serving in Iraq.
Gamble sent Secrest a text message shortly after being kicked out that said, “Piece of s---.” That prompted the four defendants to go down to the parking lot to confront Gamble, Dawes stated.
Gamble was found unresponsive by a cab driver just before 6:15 a.m. He was taken to WellStar Kennestone Hospital to undergo surgery that night.
Reynolds said because there were no eye witnesses to the “melee” in the parking lot, the prosecution would have a hard time establishing who was most to blame.
“And the last thing we wanted this family to go through was up to four trials. …They have been through enough hell,” Reynolds said.
Ten of Gamble’s relatives addressed the court Wednesday morning during the emotional hearing, including his mother, Tina Robbins, who sobbed while recounting the day her son was taken off life support.
“There are no words to describe watching your child die right in front of your eyes,” Robbins said. “He had a presence that would light up a room.”
Reynolds said the sentence is never enough time for a family who has lost a loved one forever.
But, Reynolds said he hopes the plea deal helps repair the lives touched by Gamble, even if they will never be whole again.