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Cellmate charged in death
Men were inmates at Hall County jail
1 John Setchel mug

A Dawsonville man being held on a felony probation violation has been charged with murdering his cellmate at the Hall County jail.

John Darrell Setchel, 24, was charged Monday in the death of 72-year-old Ronald Sailers of Murrayville. A jailer found Sailers dead at 6 a.m. Sunday.

Setchel allegedly slammed Sailers’s head against the concrete floor, killing him, according to warrants.

The Georgia Bureau of Investigation secured an arrest warrant for Setchel after the Hall County Sheriff's Office asked for its assistance in the case.

Setchel was being held at the jail on a Superior Court probation violation for felony obstruction of an officer.

In December 2010, Setchel was allegedly “resisting lawful detention” in the Northeast Georgia Medical Center emergency room, using profanity and hitting a police officer, according to warrants.

According to the Department of Corrections' website, Setchel served six months of a five-year sentence for obstructing a law enforcement officer in 2011 in Hall County. He was released on Feb. 22.

Sailers had been in the jail since Sept. 16 on a Superior Court arrest order stemming from an aggravated assault case.

On Nov. 16, 2013, Sailers allegedly swung his knife and threatened to cut a 57-year-old Murrayville man.

Sailers was set to appear before Superior Court Judge Kathlene Gosselin next Monday for “a hearing on violations of Hall County Superior Court Bond Order,” according to court documents.

"The death of a loved one is always difficult especially when they die at the hands of another," said Hall County Sheriff Gerald Couch in a statement. "The offender in this case has been charged with murder and will face the consequences of his actions."

Hall County Coroner Marion Merck referred questions to Deputy Coroner Robert Rogers, who did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

The sheriff's office is conducting an internal investigation of the incident. Couch said the agency is committed to preventing inmate violence.

"We strive to protect all the residents of Hall County, including our inmate population," he said, "but violence can and does occur anywhere at any time."

An autopsy was performed on Sailers on Tuesday morning by the GBI. Blunt force trauma, said GBI Director of Public Affairs Sherry Lang, was determined to be the cause of death.

DCN Staff Writer Michele Hester contributed to this story.