Man convicted of helping Cobb woman murder her live-in boyfriend

A man was convicted of murder as a Cobb County jury determined he helped a woman with whom he was romantically involved kill her live-in boyfriend.

The jury found Zackary Mason Franks guilty on each of the five counts he faced in the death of George Anthony Vela, who was shot near the Mableton home he shared with his girlfriend, Yainerys Gil.

Gil and another man, Christopher Michael Gutierrez, were also indicted in the man’s death. Gil was previously sentenced to 25 years behind bars after negotiating a guilty plea in the case.

Vela, 24, was shot by someone in a car parked near his home on Hickory Trail in Mableton on July 22, 2019. He and his family had just returned home from seeing “The Lion King” and found that their home had been burglarized.

Cobb police initially responded to the call around 1 a.m. and left after filing an incident report. However, about 10 minutes after police left, Vela saw a suspicious car parked near the home and went to check out the vehicle. He allegedly found his shoes, clothes and other items inside the car.

Vela confronted the driver, who shot him multiple times. The driver was later identified as Franks. Vela was pronounced dead at the scene.

Gil, 23, told Channel 2 Action News that she held her high school sweetheart in her arms as he took his last breath.

“I just held him, and I already knew,” Gil told the news station.

According to an arrest warrant obtained by Cobb police, Gil conspired with Franks and Gutierrez, both 19, “to have the victim killed and did notify them about the victim’s location throughout the day and night.”

A Cobb police detective testified during the trial that Franks and Gil were romantically involved and that Franks bragged in a text message that he was finally able to use his gun, according to Channel 2.

Motions filed in Superior Court said Vela had confided in a friend that he suspected Gil had been cheating on him. The friend told police Vela “complained that Yainerys Gil had gone to a shooting range with others.”

“George Vela explained to (his friend) that this upset him to the point of not sleeping at the home he shared with Ms. Gil on that particular night,” the filing said.

Vela’s text messages corroborated that he was unhappy with Gil over the firing range visit. When police determined which range the woman had visited, they discovered her name was on the establishment’s log sheet along with Franks and Gutierrez.

“Surveillance video footage combined with the log sheets indicated that the three arrived together,” a pretrial motion said.

Franks was convicted of malice murder, felony murder, aggravated assault, possession of a firearm and burglary. He is due in court for sentencing Jan. 3.