COBB COUNTY - Family members poured out their hearts in a Cobb County courtroom Wednesday, as four defendants accused in the murder of a father and former Marine agreed to plead guilty to lesser charges.
The family of Zach Gamble knew the pleas were coming, but it was still a difficult day for them in court.
Channel 2's Ross Cavitt was inside the courtroom where he heard more than pleas in court.
“Your honor, I think these four men deserve the same sentence without parole,” said Gamble’s mother, Tina Robbins.
For Robbins, and a roomful of friends and relatives, the plea deal was not nearly enough.
Their pain, a year and a half after the former marine's beating death, was still raw.
“There's not enough punishment in the world to make up for what they did. This seamless act of violence gave my family and me and life sentence without Zach,” Robbins said.
“My pain never eases, it never goes numb, it can't go numb, because I'm raising the little boy who is a reminder every day of the loss we both suffer now,” said Gamble’s ex-wife Marlee Miller.
“You cowards all jumped him when his back was turned away, Zach was a good man, He went to war for your freedom,” said Gamble’s sister Nickie Gamble.
The testimony left even some of the four defendants in tears. Later, Terrell Sechrest, a long-time friend of Gamble, along with Jason Hill, Sean Hall, and Arthur Batchelor pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter and aggravated assault. Each agreed to spend 20 years in prison, followed by another 10 on probation.
Gamble died after being jumped following a party at a Smyrna apartment complex, left lying in a parking lot for hours before being discovered.
Although his family knew the plea deal was coming and would avoid several long and painful trials, it still leaves them empty.