COBB COUNTY, Ga. - A man pleaded guilty Tuesday in what prosecutors call the tortuous murder of a Marietta store manager.
Prosecutors were surprised, saying the killer, Patrick Graham, has never cooperated or shown remorse. In court, he muttered few words when he made his plea. It keeps him off death row but will send him to prison for the rest of his life.
Graham admitted to robbing the Marietta GameStop store in 2007 and accosting store manager Matthew Cherry, a 21-year-old Kennesaw State student, at gunpoint. Cherry, a co-worker and the co-worker's father were forced into a back room.
Graham later brought Cherry back out to clean out the cash register, and even though he cooperated, Graham beat him and tightly wrapped duct tape around his head.
“The medical examiner's conclusion was the victim was beaten and bound and was suffocated, and this was a slow and tortuous death, lasting at a minimum a minute and a half, but potentially minutes before he passed from the duct tape being placed around his head and neck,” Cobb County Assistant District Attorney Jesse Evans said.
Graham kept his head bowed and eyes closed as the prosecutor told the judge in detail what had happened that night. The case so affected the Marietta Police Department that many who worked on the case came to see the final chapter closed.
But for Matthew Cherry's family and the other victims, it was too painful to come to court and re-live that night.
“As he summarized what had happened that day, it all came flooding back, but I just hope that brings some closure to the families,” Detective Jonnie Moeller said.