Marty Newton told police he returned at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday to his home on Post Oak Tritt Road, west of Johnson Ferry Road, and discovered the bodies of his wife and another man. He then called 911, said Cobb Police spokesman Sgt. Dana Pierce.
Police said the two bodies were those of Sherrie Newton, 43, who was struck by multiple gunshots, and Bryan Bunch, 26, who died from one self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head.
Pierce said, based on a preliminary investigation by the medical examiner and police, it is suspected Bunch used a handgun to kill Sherrie Newton and then himself. There was no sign of forced entry, he said.
Sherrie Newton’s best friend, who wanted to be named only as Jennifer, said she rushed over to the home Wednesday night and was there until her friend’s body was removed.
Jennifer said Newton was in her bedroom packing for a business trip to California, when Bunch parked in the driveway, went through the open garage, into the house and up the stairs.
Jennifer said Newton was shot in the back before Bunch took his own life near the bed.
Best friend: suspect was ‘stalker’
Jennifer said the Cobb Police have not told the family how Bunch had access to a gun, but did subpoena Newton’s phone records.
“They are keeping us totally in the dark,” Jennifer said.
Police records show Bunch lived on Fairfield Court, just a few miles south of the Post Oak Tritt Road residence where the bodies were found. Police said he did not have a criminal record.
On Saturday morning, Pierce said because the murder is still an active investigation, the department would not release who the gun was registered to or if Bunch had ever been treated for mental illness.
Early in the week, Pierce said the relationship between Bunch and Newton was not known, and investigators were looking for a “common thread” that links the two.
Jennifer said Newton met Bunch at a gym, and they had minor in-person and phone texting conversations about their mutual love of running.
“They didn’t have a relationship of any type,” Jennifer said.
Jennifer said Bunch asked Newton out on a date, but she declined, saying she was happily married with a son.
“I guess she was nice to him. That was the only fault she had,” Jennifer said. “I don’t think she thought he was a psychopath.”
Jennifer said Newton changed her cellphone number last year and had not have contact with Bunch since that time.
Wife, mother, career woman
Christmas was Newton’s favorite time of year, said Jennifer, who added that the day of the murder, there were presents in the home waiting to be delivered to Toys for Tots.
“She would do anything for anybody,” Jennifer said.
Newton is survived by her husband, Marty, and their 9-year-old son, Cody.
After marrying in 1993, the couple bought less than an acre of land and built a two-story lofted home.
They were expanding their home and liked living surrounded by undeveloped wooded property and not in a subdivision, Jennifer said.
Sherrie Newton worked as an automobile causality insurance claims manager in Smyrna and in the perimeter area, Jennifer said.
Jennifer said Newton was a “go getter,” “very career oriented” and was the primary “breadwinner for the family.”