Three guilty, one acquitted in 2013 Mableton murder trial
by Ricky Leroux
September 04, 2014 04:00 AM | 2911 views | 5 5 comments | 5 5 recommendations | email to a friend | print
36 year-old Joshua Chellew was the victim of a violent attack on Mableton Parkway on Sunday, June 30. Chellew was allegedly beaten and pushed into traffic by four alleged gang members.
36 year-old Joshua Chellew was the victim of a violent attack on Mableton Parkway on Sunday, June 30. Chellew was allegedly beaten and pushed into traffic by four alleged gang members.
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MARIETTA — After five days of deliberation, a Cobb jury found three of the four young men charged in the death of a Mableton man guilty of felony murder.

The fourth was acquitted on all counts.

The defendants were arrested after police said they attacked 36-year-old Joshua Chellew, beating him until he was unconscious and leaving him in a busy, five-lane road, where he was eventually struck by a car and killed on June 30, 2013.

Surrounded by more than a dozen Cobb Sheriff’s Deputies, the four defendants were silent and stoic Wednesday while Cobb Superior Court Judge Adele Grubbs read the jury’s verdict. However, once the court was adjourned and the deputies began putting handcuffs on the defendants, the courtroom became a scene of chaos.

One of the defendants repeatedly yelled he didn’t do anything and had to be restrained by the deputies before being led out of the courtroom. Some of those in the courtroom’s gallery shouted support for the defendants as they left.

In the fracas, it was hard to tell which of the defendants was yelling because they were surrounded by deputies.

Johnathan Anthony, 19, Antonio Pass, 20, and Jekari Strozier, 21, all of Mableton, will receive mandatory life sentences because they were convicted of murder, according to Jesse Evans, the deputy chief assistant to the Cobb district attorney, who tried the case on behalf of the state.

The fourth defendant, Kemonta Bonds, 22, was found not guilty on all counts and will be released.

Evans said he respects the jury’s decision.

“We’re pleased that the jury convicted the three most culpable defendants of murder,” he said. “As to the other defendant, while we had hoped for a different result, we recognize that he was probably the least culpable of the four. And I have to respect the jury’s verdict as to him, as does the victim’s family.”

The four men were each charged with malice murder, six counts of felony murder, one count of aggravated assault, one count of aggravated battery and four counts of violating the Georgia Criminal Street Gang, Terrorism and Prevention Act in the death of Chellew.

On that night, the defendants were gathered at a Chevron gas station on Mableton Parkway near Veterans Memorial Parkway. According to a release from the District Attorney’s office, Chellew arrived at the gas station at about 1 a.m. and held up a blue bandana in front of the defendants.

The convicted men took offense to Chellew’s actions because they are allegedly members of the “Re-Up” gang, which wears red, the release states. The convicted men attacked Chellew and chased him into Mableton Parkway, where they beat him until he was rendered unconscious. Chellew was left in the street, where he was later struck by a vehicle and killed.

During his closing argument, Bonds’ attorney, Thomas Griner, argued his client did not participate in the beating and said the state could not prove beyond a reasonable doubt Bonds did anything wrong. Bonds’ presence at the scene of the crime did not necessarily show Bonds committed a crime, Griner said.

A date has not yet been set for the sentencing hearing, but attorneys for both the state and the defendants requested two weeks to prepare.

Because the judge can choose to combine the sentences associated with some of the lesser crimes, Evans said the DA’s office needs time to do some research before he comments on what the state will seek in terms of sentencing.

“First thing that we need to do is look at, legally, which counts are going to merge into each other,” he said. “So, we have to look at the law first.”

Anthony, Pass and Strozier face a maximum sentence of life in prison without parole, according to the release from the DA’s office.

Evans said Grubbs will have the option of whether or not to give the defendants the possibility of parole.

The convicted men will have a chance to appeal the jury’s verdict, however.

“For all murder cases in Georgia where there’s a conviction on murder, there’s an automatic right to appeal to the Supreme Court of Georgia,” Evans said.

First, the defendants’ attorneys must file a request for a new trial. These requests are typically denied, Evans said, and it is this request which will be appealed to the state’s high court.

The justices can decide not to hear the case, which is essentially a denial of the request, or hear the case and make a decision.

Comments
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anonymous
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September 04, 2014
Three more dangers off the street, in my humble opinion.
Jmedia
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September 04, 2014
Anyone, who murder or kill someone may not make front line news. A life taken is sad no matter who does it. What I can tell you is that was a human being who deserved to live. Those who took his life are in for a rude of awakening, they will relive taking that man's life from him. I think we got it now, race of a person don't matter to me; all I see is a human being who God created him or her. All human being regardless of race deserve justice at the hands of those who committed crime against them. As we leave race out of the situation we ourselves become better human beings. Mr. Honest Abe, you may not agree with me; however, all of those station you have name telecast for ratings, I do think they select the stories they want to carry on their stations. I too did not hear a lot about this sad case; I still feel this young man deserves to live and while he has died, justice has come to those who committed it. All deaths no matter who committed them do not make the news, if they did news will continue on into days on days because so much crimes against one and other are committed so very often. I see your point; I hear what you are saying; no President Obama didn't say what you said, if you want to have blames; blames the stations you mentioned and don't sink any lower because they did not broadcast anything about this matter. I wish you well!
Southern Patriot
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September 05, 2014
Jmedia,

Please learn some basic grammar before you post your next rambling statement.
Honest Abe
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September 04, 2014
From reading this sanitized version by the Marietta Daily Journal one would never suspect this was a hate crime that never was charged. Also, nothing about how the murder victim's family felt about the verdicts or any apologies from the rats that committed this crime. It wasn't even a lead story for today's MDJ. Now, just imagine if the races were reversed it would be a national tragedy and NBC, CBS, ABC, CNN, FBI, DOJ would have been here every day. At least Chairman Obama didn't say these poor boys would be his sons if he had sons. The entire way this story was handled by the media stinks.
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