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Testimony turns to guns, crime scene in Jack Hough slaying
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DeMarvin Bennett sits in Hall County Superior Court Tuesday, April 27, 2021, with attorney Matt Leipold during day one of his murder trial after being indicted on charges including malice murder, criminal attempt to commit robbery and aggravated assault with a deadly weapon against a person 65 years of age or older in the Feb. 7, 2019, shooting of Jack Hough at the CVS on Park Hill Drive. - photo by Scott Rogers

Testimony from a Gainesville Police investigator spanning two days along with that of other law enforcement witnesses details the crime scene examination and the guns found during the Jack Hough murder investigation.

DeMarvin Bennett was indicted in February 2019 by a Hall County grand jury on charges including malice murder, four counts of felony murder, criminal attempt to commit robbery and aggravated assault with a deadly weapon against a person 65 years of age or older in the Feb. 7, 2019, shooting of Jack Hough at the CVS on Park Hill Drive.

Gainesville Police investigator Brad Raper testified Tuesday afternoon and returned to the stand Wednesday, April 28.

Authorities said they believe Bennett approached Jack Hough while Hough was in his car.

Assistant District Attorney Kelley Robertson asked about the victim’s gun, a black Remington .380 handgun, found in the car’s side door pocket and how visible the gun was from outside of the car.

"It was barely visible with the door open much less with the door closed," Raper said.

Raper said Hough had a valid concealed carry license.

Other trial coverage in death of Jack Hough

To know Jack was to know that everything came down to safety, whether it was trying to convince her to get a safer car or creating an escape plan if someone broke into their home, Gail Hough testified Tuesday, April 27.

“He told me what I should do if there was an intruder," Hough testified. "My safety was extremely important to him, and I will say that that night, I can’t help but believe that he knew I was coming back in a very short time and he was scared.”

As the night turned to day on Feb. 8, 2019, Raper said police knew they were looking for a tall, slender Black man who was wearing a mask and dark clothing.

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Jack Hough

“I’ve been a police officer for a long time, and prior to COVID, seeing someone in a mask got your attention,” Raper said. “It would, especially in very warm weather, … bring attention to you that it’s not the norm to wear a mask in that particular timeframe.”

Raper detailed the state of the car following the shooting while looking at the prosecution’s exhibits. Blood was scattered from the top of the door down, which looked like Hough had put his hand on the door handle to open it, Raper said.

Investigators initially believed the palm prints found on the window were two different hands, but upon further examination it was two left hands which Raper described as a grab and a repositioning.

Assistant District Attorney Kelley Robertson said Tuesday there would be “somewhat of a contradiction in the evidence about the gun that was used to kill Jack Hough.”

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From left, Lt. Tommy McElroy, Investigator Brad Raper and Chief Jay Parrish gather near the entrance of the Park Hill Drive CVS Pharmacy Feb. 7. Police were called to investigate the shooting death of Jack Hough. - photo by Nick Watson

Robertson said some of the evidence points to the gun being one owned by Jack Hough for self defense, which would have been used against him while trying to protect himself.

Other evidence, Robertson said, leads them to believe it is a gun brought by Bennett.

“Either way, the evidence will show that DeMarvin Bennett was in control of that gun and that he made the decision to fire it not once, but twice into Jack’s chest and to kill Jack Hough,” Robertson said.

A silver-and-black Accu-Tek .380 handgun was found in a storm drain at the Ridgecrest Apartments, which is less than a mile from the CVS.

Vanna Kelley of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives said she made test fires with Hough’s Remington handgun and compared it to the bullet from the autopsy. Kelley said she eliminated the Remington as the gun in the case.

“At the time, I informed the agent that it’s possible that even though the cartridge case was not fired in the Remington that perhaps one time it had been cycled through the Remington without being fired and then loaded into a second gun,” Kelley said.

Kelley later tested the Accu-Tek handgun and compared it to the evidence, concluding that the bullets were fired from that gun.

The court closed shop at 5:15 p.m. Wednesday, and the jurors are expected to return at 9 a.m. Thursday, April 29.

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