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Judge rejects self-defense claim
Jury could decide tree branch slaying case unless appeal is heard
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A man accused of killing his half-brother with a tree branch will face trial in September unless the Georgia Supreme Court agrees to hear an appeal that he acted in self-defense.

Hall County Superior Court Judge Kathlene Gosselin denied a defense motion seeking immunity from prosecution for William Gable after hearing testimony in several days of pretrial hearings earlier this year.

Gable, 26, is charged with murder in the death of 36-year-old Steven Paul Brookshire.

Authorities say the two men were in a confrontation outside a home on Ledan Extension when Gable struck Brookshire in the back or neck with a slender cherry wood branch. Brookshire died 36 hours after the injury.

In her ruling, Gosselin recounted some of the evidence presented during the court hearings.

Gable said Brookshire had a disagreement and violent encounter with their mother prior to being hit. Gable said Brookshire was drunk and violent when he was prevented from entering a neighbor’s home.

In an interview with a Hall County Sheriff’s investigator, Gable never said his half-brother had any weapons or tried to assault him.

“Several times during the interview the defendant repeats that he struck Mr. Brookshire because of the prior assault on his mother, clearly an act of revenge or retribution,” Gosselin wrote.

The judge found that Gable was not justified in using any force in defense of himself or a neighbor, and that he had not shown he was entitled to immunity from prosecution for defending a home.

Gable’s attorneys have appealed the judge’s ruling to the Supreme Court of Georgia, which has not yet indicated if it will hear the case.

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