Suspect in businessman’s death tried to throw deputy over balcony, sheriff says

The man has earned 10 new charges since being booked into the jail last year.
The man has earned 10 new charges since being booked into the jail last year.

Credit: AJC File

Credit: AJC File

A man accused of fatally shooting a prominent businessman last year is facing new charges after authorities said he tried to take a deputy’s Taser and throw him over a railing while in custody at the Hall County Jail.

DeMarvin Ladele Bennett has been charged with two counts of obstruction of an officer and one count of attempted removal of a weapon from a public official in connection with an Aug. 27 jail fight, Hall sheriff’s spokesman Derreck Booth said Thursday.

Bennett, 25, of East Point, has been in custody without bond since his arrest in the Feb. 7, 2019, death of Jack Hough. The 73-year-old businessman and philanthropist, who developed and operated food courts in malls and airports nationally, was sitting inside his parked car around 8 p.m. while his wife went into the CVS on Park Hill Drive in Gainesville. Authorities said that’s when Bennett tried to rob him, causing a struggle that ended with Hough being shot in the chest.

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According to Booth, Bennett has had numerous run-ins with deputies, racking up 10 new charges since he was first booked into jail.

The most recent fight happened in the inmate pod where Bennett was being housed. Two jail deputies who were serving lunch let Bennett leave his cell to get juice, Booth said.

When Bennett had the drink, he refused to return to his cell and threw the juice on the ground, according to officials. The deputies grabbed his arms and tried to lead him back to his cell, but he took a “fighting stance,” Booth said.

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Bennett then lunged at one of the deputies, picked him up and carried him toward the top railing, according to the sheriff’s office. Another inmate helped the deputy pull him to the ground, but Bennett continued to fight, Booth said.

“While on the floor, Bennett attempted to gain control of the deputy’s department-issued Taser in an effort to disarm him,” he said. Another deputy pepper-sprayed him.

“Bennett stopped resisting, but as the second deputy was placing handcuffs on him, he locked one of her legs between his in an attempt to immobilize her,” Booth said. “She delivered a fist strike to Bennett and commanded him to release her, which he did.”

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No one was injured during the incident.

Previous jail scuffles have earned Bennett a slew of obstruction and interference charges.

In March 2019, authorities said he spat at an officer in an attempt to “transmit hepatitis,” which gained him a count of reckless conduct by an HIV-infected person.

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Three months later, Bennett broke a sprinkler head on a sprinkler system and then spat in an officer’s face, according to the sheriff’s office. The June 21 incident led to charges of interference with government property and obstruction.

In August 2019, he grabbed onto a deputy’s legs and refused to let go. And in March of this year, Bennett “offered to do violence” when a deputy asked him to go back into his cell, Booth said.

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