Authorities: Houston double homicide was planned, drug related

bpurser@macon.comAugust 30, 2013 

WARNER ROBINS -- Blood splattered the light green walls of a large room that served as the kitchen, dining and living room-area of the three-story house in the West Quail Run subdivision.

Bullets pierced an adjoining wall. Blood soaked a cushion of the living room couch. The odor of bleach permeated the air.

That’s what the man who came into the Houston County Sheriff’s Office at about 5 a.m. Aug. 19 described to authorities and what responding deputies apparently saw and smelled when arriving at the Chadwick Road residence.

Authorities have declined to name the man, who came into the home that morning, saw the telltale signs of a killing and drove to the sheriff’s office in Warner Robins.

Friday, authorities called the killing a planned “execution-style slaying” and said it was drug related. A fifth person -- Kristen Ann Beuthin, 18, of Loganville -- was arrested for her alleged role in attempting conceal the deaths and tamper with evidence.

Multiple people were at the home the night of Aug. 18 when two men -- later identified as Shaland D. McConnell, 30, and Ruben Guillermo Miranda, 32, of the San Francisco Bay area -- were shot to death between 8 p.m. and midnight, said Houston County sheriff’s Capt. Jon Holland, head of investigations.

Their bodies were found more than six hours later in a deeply wooded area off North Houston Lake Road and the intersections of U.S. 41 and Ga. 49, Holland said.

Earlier that morning, 21-year-old Coleman Lawrence Crouch had answered the door of the Chadwick residence to responding deputies and was taken into custody, Holland said.

Crouch was charged with party to the crime of murder, concealing the deaths and tampering with evidence for allegedly “using cleaning solutions to clean up the crime scene of a murder,” according to arrest warrants.

Jeff Grube, a Warner Robins attorney hired with two other attorneys to represent Crouch, said he has not received any information from investigators or prosecutors, nor have authorities informed him of their theory of the case. As a result, Grube said it’s too early to comment.

Crouch, who told authorities he was a manager of The Pawn Zone in Hawkinsville, lived at the rented residence with 21-year-old Glen Franklin Hill Jr., who declined to comment.

But Hill’s grandparents, who did not want to be named, allowed The Telegraph access to the home and pointed out bleach marks where they believe one of the victims had fallen after he was shot near a doorway of a staircase rising from the ground floor. They said sheriff’s investigators cut out and took with them sections of sheet rock where gunshots penetrated. Investigators also took a cushion that had been saturated with blood, the grandparents said. They said investigators came back later for a shell casing discovered while cleaning behind the TV.

Authorities also recovered a .45-caliber Glock handgun believed to have been used in the slayings as well as a yellow Ford 2004 pickup truck believed to have been used to transport the bodies. Kelley drove the truck that belonged to his family, Holland said. The truck wrecked near the Chadwick Road residence about 12:30 a.m. Aug. 19. A neighbor reported seeing Kelley and Crouch moving the vehicle, which had struck another neighbor’s mailbox.

The grandparents said Hill was doing Crouch a favor by allowing him to share the rent and the home. They said they did not know the others who have been charged in connection to the double homicide.

Thomas Andrew Kelley, who was charged with two counts of murder, listed his home address on U.S. 41 near where the bodies were discovered. Without researching it on a map, Holland said he did not know if the bodies were found on the Kelley family property, which extends on both sides of U.S. 41 and totals nearly 60 acres, according to online property tax records.

A woman answering the door of the Kelley home off U.S. 41 declined to comment. Kelley’s court-appointed attorney, Houston County Public Defender Nick White, could not be reached for comment.

Justice Bernard Evans, 19, of Macon, was also charged with two counts of murder as well as tampering with evidence and concealing the deaths. Amy Patricia Walker, 19, of Macon, whom authorities identified as Evans’ girlfriend, was later charged with tampering with evidence and concealing deaths.

Russell Walker, a Perry attorney hired to represent Evans, declined to discuss the case except to say that Evans was not the shooter. Holland declined to identify the shooter.

Friday, sheriff’s investigators announced the arrest of a fifth person in connection with the slayings. Beuthin was charged with tampering with evidence and concealing the deaths, a news release stated. She was free on a $10,000 bond within 20 minutes of her arrest Friday afternoon. The other four suspects remained in the Houston County jail.

Holland said he expected Kelley, Crouch and Evans would face charges of malice murder, an intentional killing and felony murder, which is when someone dies in the commission of a crime, before a Houston County grand jury. District Attorney George Hartwig declined to comment on the nature of charges that he may take before a grand jury.

Hill’s grandparents said they were getting their car serviced Aug. 19 when the 5 p.m. TV news reported a double homicide on their grandson’s street. They waited at the dealership to hear the rest of the report at 6 p.m.

They realized their grandson lived at the home where the slayings occurred.

“We jumped in the car and came right down here,” the grandfather said.

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