Police: Murder of Mableton man not racially motivated

Police: Murder of Mableton man not racially motivated

Posted: Updated: July 15, 2013 10:30 PM
MABLETON, Ga. -

Police say the murder of a 36-year-old man in Mableton was not racially motivated.

Some blogs and websites have compared the death of Joshua Chellew to Trayvon Martin.

The Cobb County man, who is white, was allegedly beaten by four black teenagers and then shoved into traffic, where he was strike by a vehicle on June 30.

After FOX 5 first covered the story, dozens of people posted on the FOX 5 Facebook page, asking if the murder was a hate crime – a charge police emphatically deny.

"There is no testimonial evidence nor is there any physical evidence to indicate this is racially motivated," said Sgt. Dana Pierce of the Cobb County Police Department.

Police have charged 19-year-old Jekari Strozier and three 18-year-olds: Antonio Pass, Johnathan Anthony and Kemonta Bonds, all of Mableton, in the death.

Police said that none of the attackers had ever met Chellew before the attack at the Mableton gas station.  The suspects are being charged not just with murder but also violation of the Georgia Street Gang Act. According to the arrest warrants, they are members of the "Re-Up" gang.

Anthony had his first appearance last week before a judge.

Chellew's friends say they still can't understand his murder, or the racial debate it has sparked.

"He was a good friend," said Frankie Brooks. "He was a good guy. If anyone gets killed, it should be looked at equally."

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