A Jackson man has pleaded guilty to charges related to running over and killing his uncle during an altercation on Paul Maddox Road nearly three years ago.
Robert Stanley Chromi Jr. was charged with involuntary manslaughter and reckless conduct after killing Jonathan Marbut Aug. 26, 2016. Chromi was indicted in early 2017.
Authorities alleged Chromi was arguing with his uncle in the parking lot of a gas station on Ga. Highway 42 at Paul Maddox Road prior to Marbut’s death. Marbut crossed Ga. 42 on foot, authorities said at the time, and Chromi followed him in the truck onto Paul Maddox Road and the argument reportedly resumed.
Chromi’s attorney, Steven E. Lister, argued in a 2017 hearing that Chromi should be immune from prosecution because he was acting in defense of himself and his vehicle when he pulled away from his uncle, who was threatening him through the open passenger door of his truck. In the hearing before Superior Court Judge Thomas Wilson, Chromi testified that his uncle had been living with him at his Butts County home prior to the incident while trying to overcome struggles with alcohol that led to his estrangement from most of the rest of his family.
Chromi said he came home the afternoon of Aug. 26 and found his uncle had been drinking. Marbut later left the home, prompting Chromi to search for him. Chromi found Marbut at the gas station, where video surveillance recordings played in court showed they engaged in a brief altercation.
When Marbut crossed Ga. 42 on foot, Chromi testified he feared for his uncle’s safety so he followed him. “I didn’t want him to get in trouble and I didn’t want him to get hit,” Chromi said.
During the interaction on Paul Maddox Road, Lister argued, Marbut threatened Chromi and reached through the opened passenger-side door for a pistol Chromi kept on the front of the driver’s seat. Chromi drove off, Lister argued, because he was afraid of his uncle, who Chromi described as erratic while under the influence of alcohol.
According to court documents, Chromi pleaded guilty May 15 to involuntary manslaughter and reckless conduct, and was sentenced as a first offender to spend 30 weekends in jail within 12 months. He was also ordered to forfeit the firearm seized as evidence in the case.