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Convicted murderer of Gainesville businessman now suspected in stabbing death of inmate
DeMarvin Bennett

Update: DeMarvin Bennett is charged with murder in a prison slaying.

Previous story: A man convicted in April of murdering Gainesville businessman Jack Hough is a suspect in the stabbing death of an Augusta State Medical prison inmate, the Georgia Department of Corrections confirmed Thursday, July 8.

Columbia County Coroner Vernon W. Collins said the inmate, Ali Tanner, was stabbed in the neck "with a sharp object and didn't make it to the infirmary in time, and bled out.”

Demarvin Bennett “is a suspect in the incident,” spokeswoman Joan Heath said in a July 8 email to The Times. “The investigation is ongoing and there are no additional details at this time.”

Bennett of East Point was convicted April 30 of malice murder and other counts in the Feb. 7, 2019, shooting of Hough at the CVS Pharmacy on Park Hill Drive. 

Tanner was sentenced to life without parole in 2015 in a Bibb County felony murder case, Heath said. The department’s Office of Professional Standards is investigating his death.

The Times has left multiple messages this week with the district attorney’s office in Richmond County, which covers Augusta, but those messages have not been returned.

Defense attorney Matt Leipold, who represented Bennett during the Hall County murder trial along with co-counsel Larry Duttweiler, said a motion for a new trial has been filed.

Bennett was sentenced on May 3 to life with the possibility of parole. Bennett will have to serve at least 30 years before being considered.

Grand juries in Hall County have still returned indictments against Bennett even after his sentencing in the murder case, including one May 19 alleging aggravated assault on a peace officer.

In that case, Bennett was accused of trying to throw a Hall County Jail deputy off the top level of an inmate pod onto the concrete floor one story below, according to court documents. He was also accused of trying to grab the deputy’s Taser.

“He will be a different person” at least 30 years from now, Superior Court Judge Kathlene Gosselin said at Bennett’s sentencing. “Whether he’s a better person or a worse person, I don’t know and I won’t know. I won’t be around to know about that.”

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