Gary DeToma Sr. To Face Death Penalty

From the AJC

Gary DeToma, the Decatur man accused of suffocating one of his young sons and trying to kill the other, was indicted on murder charges Tuesday, and prosecutors said they will seek the death penalty.

…Police have offered no motive, but DeToma and his wife, Melanie, were going through a contentious divorce. His anger toward his wife possibly led to the domestic tragedy, Melanie DeToma’s lawyer told the AJC.

Gary DeToma Jr. Flower Memorial in Harmony Park

Members of the community have gotten together and arranged a flower memorial for Gary DeToma Jr. in Oakhurst’s Harmony Park.  College Heights principal Suzanne Kennedy sent out the details yesterday about how you can participate…

Dear Parents,

In an effort to show support for Melanie DeToma and her family, but at the same time respect their wishes for privacy, a flower memorial in Harmony Park is being arranged by the community. A linden tree will be planted on-site by Trees Atlanta. Hopefully, by Friday afternoon families can begin to gather bouquets and remembrances as a gesture of goodwill for the family.

If you are able and wish to participate, simply place a suitable arrangement among the flowers in Harmony Park beginning on Friday afternoon. Please do not forget about the Gary DeToma Jr. Memorial Fund at Decatur First Bank, which is another way of showing support to the family as they get through this very difficult time.


Suzanne Kennedy

Principal of College Heights

Melanie DeToma’s Note to the Decatur Community

Melanie DeToma submitted this note to DM last night…

To the Decatur community, I want to thank you all for your kind words and prayers during this unspeakable, horrific time for our family. My son, Gary, was a bright, shining light in our lives. He was smart and creative and funny, oh my goodness, he was funny. He had the sweetest little southern accent you ever heard, and he adored his little brother, Will, whom he called Bubba. He just learned to ride his bike without training wheels, and he rode like a fiend.

When Gary was only 3 years old he managed to get his hands on a phillips head screwdriver, and the next thing we knew he had removed most of the striker plates from the door frames in the house. He happily pulled the plates and screws from his pocket and reinstalled them when asked. Smart! He loved, loved, loved tools of all kinds. Just last week he told me in the car that when he’s a big daddy he’s going to be a “tool man”. I asked what that meant, and he said people would bring him their cars to be fixed. I didn’t tell him that my aspirations were more along the lines of fixing cancer or solving the national debt problem. He was just so full of ideas all the time.

His father, for whatever reason, chose to end Gary’s life on Monday. I feel like the light in my soul has been snuffed out. I look at Will and remind myself that I have to forge ahead through this grief somehow, but I don’t know how. I’m trying to get through the days. We all are.

Thank you all for your concern and prayers and food. We will need them even more in the days and weeks to come as we try to shake off this cloak of grief and resume our lives in a new and unwelcome way. We are not discussing the particulars of Gary’s upcoming memorial service, as we are trying to fly under the radar of the media circus surrounding this case. If you happen to have knowledge of the service as to the date and time, please don’t post it on the internet. Remember, there is a criminal trial underway–a murder trial of a stunningly beautiful 5-year-old boy–and none of us wants to give Gary DeToma even a modicum of help with his defense.

As to the candlelight vigil, I will not attend, but I will not object to a show of community support. It’s so nice to live in a place like Decatur where a person can belong and enjoy life.

Per Melanie’s wishes, no details of Gary’s funeral will be posted on this site.  That goes for comments as well.

Gary DeToma Jr. Fund Set Up at Decatur First Bank

UPDATE: The AJC has a new, more detailed story on the case this morning, with more neighbor accounts and mention of DeToma’s Sr.’s court appearance yesterday afternoon.  Articles about the murder of Gary DeToma Jr. have been hovering among the most popular posts all week on the Atlanta paper’s website, so expect them to stay on top of this story for a while.

A few commenters reported yesterday that a fund had been set up at Decatur First Bank for Gary DeToma Jr.  Here are the details…

A fund has been set up to help the family with expenses. Here is the information:

Decatur First Bank

Gary DeToma Jr Fund

The bank is accepting cash and/or checks-checks should be made out to the Gary DeToma Jr. Fund.

Donations can be made at the bank or mailed–The mailing address is 1120 Commerce Dr. Decatur, Ga. 30030 or 720 Commerce Dr. Decatur, Ga. 30030

In related news, the principal of College Heights ECLC sent out an letter to parents yesterday, which mentions the fund and provides a couple new details of the timeline for Gary Jr.’s funeral and the condition of his brother.