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Cobb man gets life for robbing, strangling grandfather | News

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Cobb man gets life for robbing, strangling grandfather

COBB COUNTY, Ga. -- A Mableton man will spend the rest of his life in prison for murdering his grandfather.

"You're going to die in prison for what you've done," Cobb County Superior Court Judge A. Gregory Poole told Casey Collins before giving him two consecutive life sentences plus 10 years.

A Cobb County jury deliberated less than 30 minutes last Thursday before finding Collins, 32, guilty of strangling his grandfather two years ago. He was convicted of malice murder, felony murder, armed robbery, aggravated assault and concealing a death. His former girlfriend, who was with him when he killed the victim, testified against him.

The murder happened May 2, 2013, at the Kemolay Road home Collins shared with then-girlfriend Sarah Cook. Prosecutors said Collins tried to buy prescription pills from the victim, 78-year-old Edward "Ron" Smith. Smith refused to sell him the drugs, saying Collins had not yet paid for previous purchases.

According to information presented in court, Collins handed Cook a knife and told her to stab Smith. The couple went outside to their carport, where Smith sat in his truck. Cook got into the truck's passenger side seat and stabbed Smith, inflicting what the Cobb County Medical Examiner described as "superficial wounds."

When Smith fought back, Collins, who was standing beside the truck's open driver side door, wrapped a belt around the victim's neck and strangled him.

"This strangulation was so brutal that the belt tore a rip in that man's neck and broke a vertebrate," Cobb County Deputy Chief ADA Michael Scott Carlson said in court. "This was one of the people who gave Casey Collins life, and the defendant chose to bring him death."

"I found the manner of death particularly cruel ... I can't imagine this man dying in any worse form," Judge Poole said during sentencing.

Prosecutors said it took a minimum of two minutes for Smith to die. Once he passed away, Collins and Cook took his wallet and prescription medication, then shoved his body in the back of the truck and covered it with a tarp. They spent the day driving around, getting high and spending Smith's money, all while the victim's body lay in the truck. Collins and Cook then abandoned the vehicle in south Cobb County and took a taxi home.

Smith's family reported him missing three days after the murder. His truck and body were found May 7, 2013. Collins and Cook were linked to the crime after surveillance cameras at a Lithonia Walmart captured images of them driving Smith's truck in the parking lot on the day of the murder.

Cook pleaded guilty in October 2014 to armed robbery and aggravated assault for her part in the crime. She was sentenced to 15 years in prison and 10 years on probation.