By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Man serving life in fatal shooting at CVS in Gainesville deserves new trial, defense attorney says
05042021 BENNETT 5.jpg
DeMarvin Bennett appears in court Monday, May 3, 2021, for sentencing before Superior Court Judge Kathlene Gosselin following his trial conviction Friday, April 30. - photo by Scott Rogers

An East Point man is seeking a new trial from his 2019 murder case at the Park Hill Drive CVS in Gainesville, according to court documents.

DeMarvin Ladale Bennett was sentenced in May 2021 by Hall County Superior Court Judge Kathlene Gosselin to life in prison with the chance of parole from the Feb. 7, 2019 shooting of Jack Hough. Hough, 73, was waiting in his car while his wife went in to the pharmacy.

Bennett was convicted of killing Hough in an attempted robbery.

Bennett and attorney Ralph Villani filed a motion for new trial Jan. 23.

In the motion, Villani claims the prosecution caused “great and enormous prejudice” in its closing statement by “begging the jury to exercise their duty to bring justice” and that “they have a duty to finish the job of the state and find (Bennett) guilty.”

The motion also claimed the judge should have declared a mistrial because of the prosecution’s leading questions and should not have allowed the 911 call to be played.

Bennett faces a second murder charge in a South Georgia prison stabbing.

Months after being sentenced in Hall County, the Georgia Department of Corrections said Bennett was the suspect in fatally stabbing Augusta State Medical Prison inmate Ali Tanner. 

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

Tanner had been sentenced to life without parole in 2015 in a Bibb County felony murder case, corrections officials said. 

Bennett was indicted in February 2022 in Columbia County on charges of malice murder, felony murder and possession of a knife during the commission of a felony in the Tanner case.

The Columbia Judicial Circuit prosecutors filed a notice of its intent to seek recidivist punishment for Bennett if convicted. Upon a second conviction for a serious violent felony, Georgia law states the person “shall be sentenced to imprisonment for life without parole.”

Because of the pending nature of the case, Northeastern Judicial Circuit District Attorney Lee Darragh declined to comment.

The Georgia Public Defender Council declined to comment on behalf of Bennett’s attorney in the Columbia County case.

Villani did not return multiple emails seeking comment.

The hearing on the motion for new trial is set for 2 p.m. March 31 before Gosselin.