Four south Cobb teenagers are in custody in connection with the beating death of a 36-year-old Mableton man on Mableton Parkway early Sunday morning.
The incident initially was reported by police as a hit-and-run death over the weekend, but the narrative changed drastically Tuesday after the arrests of four teenagers on murder charges.
Jekari Oshay Strozier, 19; Antonio Shantwan Pass, 18; and Johnathan Donald Anthony, 18; all from Mableton, are in the Cobb County jail without bonds on charges of felony murder, aggravated assault and violation of the Georgia Street Gang Act.
The fourth suspect, 18-year-old Kemonta Bonds of Mableton, turned himself in to police Tuesday afternoon.
They have been accused in the beating death of Joshua Heath Chellew, 36, of Mableton and all but Bonds were arrested Monday afternoon by Cobb County investigators.
According to the warrant, the four teenagers are accused of starting a fight with Chellew at a Chevron gas station in the 6200 block of Mableton Parkway near Community Drive at about 1:20 a.m. Sunday. They repeatedly punched and kicked him, according to police.
While attempting to escape, Chellew backed into the center five-lane highway and was pushed to the ground and knocked unconscious, the warrant states.
They then walked away from Chellew, “leaving him helpless,” and he was eventually hit by a car, the warrant states.
Witnesses on the scene told police that “at no time did (the four teenagers) attempt to aid (Chellew), or to stop the approaching vehicle,” according to the warrant.
Sgt. Dana Pierce with Cobb Police said they don’t expect to file charges against the driver of the red car that hit Chellew. He reportedly turned himself in, and his name is being withheld by police.
The warrant also indicates that the four men are accused of street gang violence because they belong to the “Re-Up” gang, according to the Cobb Anti-Gang E Unit, and have been arrested in the past in connection with gang-related crimes.
A 19-year-old female witness, who asked not to be identified, said she was sitting in the car waiting on Chellew to get something from inside the gas station when everything unfolded.
“He was coming outside of the store talking to himself like he always does and one of them asked him what he was talking about,” she said.
She isn’t sure what, if anything, Chellew said to the suspects, but for some reason they jumped him and started punching and kicking him. “I don’t know them and have never seen them before,” she said. “They were hanging out by the gas station, getting gas.”
She didn’t see any weapons used in the beating, but said the entire incident occurred in just under two minutes.
“He was unconscious after he got hit by the car and he was taking his last breath when I got to him,” she said, adding that she thought he was probably dead before he was taken to Grady Memorial Hospital in Atlanta, where he was pronounced dead.
She said Chellew lived less than a mile away on Lone Oak Drive, and she wasn’t aware of him ever being married or having children. They had only been acquaintances for about two months.
“He was a good person, one of them funny, outgoing kind of people,” she said.
She doesn’t think funeral arrangements have been set.
Anyone with information that might assist investigators can call Cobb’s Crimes Against Persons Unit at (770) 499-3945 or Crime Stopper Atlanta at (404) 577-TIPS (8477) or text CRIMES and enter (274637).
Any information provided is confidential, and callers may be eligible for a reward up to $2,000.