Houston grand jury indicts three in double homicide

bpurser@macon.comOctober 22, 2013 

PERRY -- A Houston County grand jury handed down Tuesday a nine-count indictment against three men accused of an execution-style double homicide this summer.

Coleman Lawrence Crouch, 21, of Warner Robins, Thomas Andrew Kelley, 20, of Byron, and Justice Bernard Evans, 19, of Macon, were indicted on two counts each of malice murder, felony murder and aggravated battery in the slaying of Shaland D. McConnell, 30, and Ruben Guillermo Miranda, 32, of the San Francisco Bay Area.

The three were also indicted on two counts of concealing the death of another and one count of tampering with evidence.

All three are accused in the indictment of fatally shooting McConnell and Miranda in the head Aug. 18 at the Chadwick Road home that Crouch rented, dumping the bodies in a secluded wooded area of Vinson Valley off U.S. 41 and then cleaning up the blood at the Chadwick Road residence.

Two others, Amy Patricia Walker of Macon and Kristen Beuthin of Loganville, were charged with concealing the death of another and tampering with evidence. Their cases have not been before a grand jury yet for consideration for indictment.

Houston County sheriff’s deputies learned of the killings the morning of Aug. 19 when a man walked into the sheriff’s office to report what he’d seen at the Chadwick Road home. Blood splattered the light green walls of the living room area, bullets pierced the walls, blood soaked the living room couch and the odor of bleach permeated the air. Authorities have not disclosed the man’s identity.

Crouch, who answered the door to arriving deputies, was immediately taken into custody. The others were later arrested.

Miranda and McConnell were killed between 8 and midnight Aug. 18, authorities say.

Authorities recovered a .45-caliber Glock handgun they think was used in the slayings as well as a yellow Ford 2004 pickup truck they believe was used to transport the bodies.

Kelley wrecked the truck 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 truck belonged to Kelley’s family.

During a recent court hearing, additional details emerged in the killing.

Russell Walker, a Perry attorney representing Evans, argued that witnesses who place Evans at the crime scene did not implicate him in the killing. Walker also noted that the statements were conflicting.

Based on how the allegations of the crime were laid out to him by authorities, Walker said Crouch was selling drugs and Miranda was his supplier. Crouch owed money to Miranda he couldn’t pay back, Miranda was pressuring him, and Crouch enlisted Kelley to shoot Miranda. Crouch brought Miranda and McCon-nell to the Chadwick Road home. Kelley came in behind the men and shot both.

But District Attorney George Hartwig alleged that Evans was involved in the planning of the killings, was armed with a handgun in case the premeditated murder did not go as planned and helped dump the bodies.

To contact writer Becky Purser, call 256-9559.

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