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University of Georgia Professor George M. Zinkhan III Suspected in Athens Triple Homicide

By Steve Huff in homicide
Saturday, April 25, 2009 at 3:09 pm

UPDATE

MyFoxAtlanta has identified the victims in the shooting today as Tom Tanner, Ben Teague, and Zinkhan's own wife (some reports say ex-wife), family law professor Marie E. Bruce. Bruce was the president of the board for Town and Gown Players.  

Original post

It just isn't every day that a college professor is accused of murder. And it's rarer still when one is accused of a triple homicide.

The following comes from the Atlanta Journal Constitution:

Three people have been killed in a Saturday afternoon in downtown Athens, authorities said.

The shooting happened about 2 p.m. at or near the Athens Community Theatre off Prince Avenue.

[...]

[The] suspect is George M. Zinkhan III, a professor in the Department of Marketing and Distribution.

zinkhan1.jpg
George M. Zinkhan III

Two other were hurt during the incident.

Zinkhan is the Coca-Cola Company Professor in the Department of Marketing and Distribution at the University of Georgia's Terry College of Business.

According to Atlanta NBC affiliate WXIA, the murders took place at the Athens Community Theater behind the historic Taylor-Grady House. The Town and Gown Players had a scheduled performance of Sherlock Holmes: The Final Adventure at the theater tonight. That performance, according to the troupe's website, has been cancelled.

In an interview on CNN, the father of a witness to the shootings stated that George Zinkhan's wife was a member of the board that ran the Town and Gown Players. Zinkhan was at a fundraiser for the theater group [a reunion of former members of the group, according to later reports on the same network] and got into an argument with someone. Zinkhan left but came back later. That was when he allegedly opened fire. 

One report contained a chilling quote from Athens-Clarke Assistant Police Chief Alan Brown, who told the Athens newspaper that Zinkhan "may have had multiple weapons."

According to CNN, Zinkhan is described as "a white male in his mid-50s with a goatee or beard. ... He was last seen wearing a polo shirt, blue shorts, and a backpack. He was last thought to be in a red car in the area of Prince Avenue" in downtown Athens.

Zinkhan once contributed a collection of 16 poems to an online marketing community. The collection was titled, "Marketing as Life" and broken down into 4 sections. Some of the poems seem to no longer be online. One of them was titled "Voluntary Disposal," or "Dead Rat Tomorrow." It read:

"Son, get the shovel.
   There's a dead rat stinking in the backyard."

"Why do we have to now, Dad?
   It was out there yesterday.
   It'll be there tomorrow."

"Let's go now.
   Turn off the TV."

"It's raining, Dad
   And the rat is shrinking.
   It used to be more of a rat."

"More of a rat?"

"Tomorrow, Dad."

"Tomorrow?" 

This post will be updated and revised as information becomes available. 

Additional links:

* A copy of George M. Zinkhan's profile page on UGA's website. I preserved it because Universities are often very quick to take such a thing offline if a student or professor is accused of a violent, high-profile crime.

* George M. Zinkhan's curriculum vitae.

* Zinkhan's page at RatemyProfessor.com. Comments made prior to 4/25/09 range from "quirky but... hysterically funny" to "he demonstrated himself to be cold hearted and just plain nasty when I needed help. Stay away from this man.."

* George Zinkhan was the 2009 winner of the "Terry Outstanding Faculty Award." 

* At one time, Zinkhan owned this domain: j-ams.org. It was, at the time, the Journal for the Academy of Marketing Science. No less than infamous TV pitchman Don LaPre owns the current incarnation of the domain.

* A former student of Zinkhan's gives an interesting thumbnail sketch of the professor in-class in a blog post about the murders.

* Website of murder victim Ben Teague: BenTeague.com.

* Public Facebook group begun today: "STOP (SUSPECT) UGA PROF. GEORGE ZINKHAN TODAY!"

More links from around the web!

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