Investigators say marital discord could have sparked shooting

Investigators say they believe a University of Georgia marketing professor's wife planned to divorce him - and that the discord may be the motive that drove him to shoot and kill her and two other people outside Athens Community Theater.

 

An FBI investigator said that statements by friends and family members indicate that 47-year-old Marie Bruce. a former Augustan, may have been about to file papers for a divorce.

Police say Ms. Bruce's husband, 57-year-old George Zinkhan III, burst in on a reunion party for Athens' Town & Gown Players shortly after noon last Saturday, argued with his wife, got two handguns and fatally shot her, Tom Tanner, 40, and Ben Teague, 63, all members of the theater troupe.

Some who knew Mr. Zinkhan through UGA's Terry College of Business also apparently knew the couple's relationship was in trouble.

Earlier this week, UGA marketing professor Warren French said he had no clue that anything was troubling his colleague, Zinkhan.

"I now find out that two people knew of problems, an adjunct (professor) and a Ph.D. student," Mr. French said Friday.

Mr. Zinkhan asked the student to hold his mail for him over the summer, Mr. French said.

"I find that strange," he said. "My shock is that he would tell some problems to his students, but not to his peers."

Still, some of Ms. Bruce's friends in the Town & Gown Players say they had no inkling of domestic strife.

Investigators, among others, have speculated that Mr. Zinkhan killed the recently divorced Mr. Tanner out of jealousy.

"It appears as though George may have made that assumption (that Mr. Tanner and Ms. Bruce were romantically involved). Obviously, he didn't know Tom. That was not the case," said Marisa Castengara, a member of the Town & Gown Theater group and a friend to both.

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