By Curt Yeomans
Two men are facing life sentences for the 2007 murder of a Lovejoy man, who died while his children lay face down on the floor, during a home invasion, according to a Clayton County assistant district attorney.
Atu Lewis and Jacque Clark were each found guilty of multiple counts stemming from the June 21, 2007 murder of Troy Marine, according to Assistant District Attorney Katie Powers, who worked on the case with Chief Assistant District Attorney Erman Tanjuatco.
Tanjuatco said Clark was found guilty of 25 counts, while Lewis was found guilty of 26 counts stemming from the murder, including several charges of felony murder, aggravated assault, residential burglary, armed robbery, kidnapping, cruelty to children, and possession of a weapon during the commission of a crime.
Clark was found not guilty of malice murder, while Lewis was found guilty of that charge, according to Tanjuatco. Powers said the pair got lengthy jail sentences as a result of their convictions. "They each got two life sentences, with parole, and then they both also got an additional five years," Powers said. She added that the sentences will be served consecutively.
Powers said the case is about Lewis' and Clark's involvement in the June 21, 2007, murder of Troy Marine, a native of the Virgin Islands, who was shot in the stomach during an a home invasion at his house, at 11216 Chelsea Lane, in Lovejoy. Marine was 35 when he died, and he worked as a mechanic, out of his home, according to news reports from the time of the murder.
There are two other people who have been charged in connection with the case, although the police reported only three suspects were present in the house at the time of the murder. Tanjuatco said the remaining two suspects, Marcel Brower and Hilarie Ford, are "awaiting final disposition of their cases."
The chief ADA added that despite the initial reports of three suspects being in the house, interviews with Marine's children, and one of the other suspects pointed to Ford being there as well.
At the time of the murder, Clayton County police said the suspects went to the house because of a $400 bet Marine owed from a pick-up basketball game, the Clayton News Daily reported in a series of stories in June and July of 2007.
The police said the suspects broke a window on the side of Marine's house, entered the home through that window, and found Marine's three children. The children were ages 11, 10, and 5, at the time. The suspects reportedly made the children lay face down on the floor, police said at the time.
Police also said Marine heard noises coming from the downstairs area of his home, and went to check on what was going on. He was standing at the top of the home's staircase, when he was shot in the stomach, by someone standing at the bottom of the staircase, police said. According to the police, Marine then walked back into his bedroom, and died.
"They were going to rob him, and then they shot the father in the course of the robbery," said Powers on Friday.
"We believe Atu Lewis was the trigger man," Tanjuatco later added.
During a preliminary hearing in Clayton County magistrate court in July 2007, a Georgia State Highway Patrol officer testified that he arrested Lewis and Clark on June 28, 2007, when he pulled them over in the eastbound lane on Interstate 16, near Dublin. The officer testified they allegedly had marijuana, and a 16-year-old runaway girl (identified as Ford, by Tanjuatco) in their car when they were pulled over.
During that hearing, Clayton County Police Detective Tom Martin testified that Marine's children had such a hard time dealing with their father's murder that they had to be sent to live with their grandparents in the Virgin Islands.