MARIETTA, Ga. -- A 35-year-old Stockbridge man will spend the rest of his life in prison after he was convicted by a Cobb County jury Monday morning in the vicious stabbing death of a 46-year-old Marietta bakery owner in early 2014.
According to Cobb County District Attorney Vic Reynolds, the victim, Jerry Moore was half-owner of a failing bakery who wanted out of the business.
Reynolds said that Moore's business partner and ex-roommate, Ross Byrne, had been a business mentor to 35-year-old Johnathan Wheeler of Stockbridge, a felon who spent 10 years in state prison for multiple crimes, including an armed robbery with a knife.
According to evidence presented in court, late in the evening of January 25, 2014, Wheeler drove to Moore's east Cobb home on Gracewood Drive and used a key to enter. When he found Moore inside the house, he savagely stabbed him some 32 times, including several times in the back.
"This was a relentless, sustained, malicious attack by a cold-blooded killer," Chief ADA Jesse Evans told jurors during closing statements. "The Defendant pursued, out of greed and out of malice. No human being should ever have this inflicted on them."
After the stabbing, Wheeler left Moore's home and drove to Byrne's home.
A short time later, according to Reynolds, Wheeler confessed the murder to his cousin, with whom he was having a sexual relationship. The next day, he and his cousin returned to Moore's house, where they cleaned the scene and stole some of Moore's belongings.
Reynolds says Wheeler confessed to two others, his brother and stepfather, both of whom testified during the trial.
The jury convicted Wheeler on all counts, including malice murder, felony murder, aggravated assault, armed robbery and first-degree burglary.
On Monday afternoon, Cobb Superior Court Judge Mary Staley Clark sentenced Wheeler to two consecutive life terms in prison without parole.