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Little is changed from 2001 murder scene
Deputies still seek clues in slaying of Robert A-rab Aaron
Hall County Sheriff’s Office detective Lt. Gerald Couch talks about the area of an old house where Robert Stanley Aaron, known as A-rab, was found beaten nine years ago. Aaron died soon after from the beating injuries. - photo by Tom Reed

About this series

This is part of a weekly series on unsolved murders in Hall County. Anyone with information should call Lieutenant Gerald Couch at the Hall County Sheriff’s Office, Criminal Investigations Division at 770-531-6879 or e-mail him at

The murder happened nine years ago, but crime scene tape is still stuck to the fence around the property, now overgrown with weeds.

Around 6 p.m. Aug. 4, 2001, a friend found Robert Stanley Aaron — known around Gainesville as “A-rab” — severely beaten inside his residence at 3150 Gaines Mill Road.

Hall County Sheriff’s deputies arrived at the scene and found Aaron, 46, still alive. He was transported to the Northeast Georgia Medical Center, where he soon died.

“He lived here a good while,” said Lt. Gerald Couch, a Criminal Investigations Division detective who was on the scene that day. “People would come by unannounced and drop in to drink beer or smoke marijuana, which is what occurred the day of the assault.”

A relative and the relative’s friends visited him around 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. that day, and another friend discovered him beaten unconscious at 5:30 p.m. before calling police.

“A-rab was very well known and often hosted unplanned gatherings of friends and acquaintances at his residence,” Couch said. “He lived alone, didn’t have public utilities, a phone or a bathroom. He poured concrete and was between small jobs.”

Investigators processed the scene and were unable to determine a motive for the assault, but robbery is suspected.

“The crime scene revealed A-rab was assaulted inside of the residence, right inside the door, and there were no signs of forced entry,” Couch said. “We interviewed friends, family and acquaintances. We tried to learn of all the people he would come by, but those things are difficult to pin down when it comes to drugs and alcohol.”

Couch said the scene looks different now, with overgrown shrubs and a burned-down mobile home, but the inside of the house is littered with Aaron’s old possessions — a cushioned chair in one corner, a bicycle twisted in another and empty beer cans and soda bottles scattered across the floor. The roof is caving in on one side, but the small living room looks like it was abandoned months ago, not years.

“He had minimal possessions,” Couch said, looking around the room. Chicken coops and barn storage still are intact on the property, next to the house.

The early to mid-1990s was a violent time in Gainesville’s history. There were eight murders in 1995, and nine murders the previous year. In recent years, Gainesville and Hall County have averaged two or three murders a year.

“We tried to speak to every known acquaintance, but every lead came to a dead end,” Couch said. “After years and years, people talk, and someone may have more information. I think somebody knows and just needs to step forward.”

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