Details emerge in Warner Robins motel killing

bpurser@macon.comOctober 11, 2013 

WARNER ROBINS -- An eruption of gunfire at a Warner Robins hotel early Thursday resulted in the death of two men and the arrest of a woman on drug trafficking charges.

Kenneth Robert Sharpe, 32, of Jackson, Miss., and Emily Nicole Hooker, 25, of Jefferson, fled the Econo Lodge at 12003 Watson Boulevard in a 2010 Dodge Charger -- leaving 23-year-old Matthew Allen Garner shot dead along a second-floor walkway outside a hotel room, authorities say.

Garner, who had checked into the motel at 11:15 p.m., was shot multiple times in the chest and died instantly. His body was discovered at 12:30 a.m.

About 90 minutes later and 179 miles away, Sharpe was found shot once in the stomach inside the car which Hooker had driven to a Waffle House parking lot in Oxford, Ala., authorities said. A restaurant employee had called 911.

Sharpe, who Warner Robins police had identified as the suspect in the fatal shooting of Garner, died later that morning at 10:15 at the Regional Medical Center in Anniston, Ala., said Peach County Coroner Kerry Rooks.

Meanwhile, Hooker was charged by Oxford police with trafficking methamphetamine and possession of a pistol without a permit. She had not been charged as of late Friday afternoon by Warner Robins police in connection with the shooting.

However, Warner Robins police have placed a hold on Hooker in order for detectives to speak to her and she may face extradition to Houston County, confirmed Warner Robins police Assistant Chief John Wagner.

In a text, Wagner stated that it’s too early into the investigation to determine if Hooker will face charges in relation to the shooting and that police want to talk with her first.

Sharpe’s body, the vehicle and all associated evidence will be brought back to Middle Georgia, according to Wagner. An autopsy is expected next week at a GBI crime lab.

Based on witness accounts, Warner Robins police believe Sharpe and Garner met up at the motel and an ensuing argument escalated into an exchange of gunfire in which both men were shot, Wagner said.

The incident potentially may have been over the drugs that Hooker was arrested for in Alabama and the motive may have been a possible robbery attempt of Garner, authorities said.

Sharpe had a 2003 conviction for possession of a controlled substance out of Lafayette County, Miss., for which he served three years probation, Tara Booth, a spokeswoman for the Mississippi Department of Corrections stated in an email.

Hooker was charged with possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine in June 2011 by the Houston County Sheriff’s Office, with the charge dismissed against her in September 2012, according to Houston County Superior Court records. She was also convicted of financial card fraud in 2006 but received first offender status in which the felony may be removed from her record if she successfully completed probation.

Garner served about two years in prison from March 2009 to June 2011 for 2008 convictions in Houston County of racketeering, possession of marijuana with intent to distribute and possession of Ecstasy with intent to distribute, according to the Georgia Department of Corrections website.

When Garner was 6 years old, his father was murdered and his mother was badly beaten during a brutal drug-related assault.

His parents, Tracy and Mark Garner, were attacked in the kitchen of their Warner Robins apartment the morning of Jan. 27, 1996, by Bobbie Charles Shank of Warner Robins.

Mark Garner had refused to sell him some marijuana because Shank already owed Garner $450, according to testimony at Shank’s trial in Houston County. Shank hit Garner at least seven times in the head with what police believe was his own ax before Shank turned to Garner’s wife, Tracy Garner. In March 2012, the Georgia Supreme Court upheld the conviction of Shank on malice murder and related charges.

The Garner family declined to comment Friday.

The Econo Lodge is located within the city limits of Warner Robins but within Peach County, which is why multiple county agencies are involved. The motel has a Byron address.

Information from Telegraph archives was used in this report. To contact writer Becky Purser, call 256-9559.

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