Man charged with murder in 1987 Warner Robins shooting

alopez@macon.comJune 3, 2014 

WARNER ROBINS -- In 2011, Houston County District Attorney George Hartwig received a call from the father of a man who died in a 1987 shooting at a local bar.

“He wanted to know if anybody was ever going to get prosecuted in the death of his son,” Hartwig said.

On Tuesday, Hartwig presented charges against Willie Lewis Winters in the case of Stephen Jones, who was shot to death in a local bar 27 years ago. Winters, who is already serving a life sentence for a Crawford County slaying, is charged with one count of malice murder and one count of felony murder in Jones’ death.

On Jan. 10, 1987, Winters allegedly shot Jones -- who was in the U.S. Air Force and was stationed at Robins Air Force Base at the time -- at the Duck’s Breath Saloon in Warner Robins.

“We have been in touch with the family of Airman Jones,” Hartwig said. “They are very pleased.”

Hartwig declined to provide details about what prompted his office to present charges against Winters, but he said Winters’ name had been tied to Jones’ killing since very early on. The case likely will not go to trial before spring 2015, Hartwig said.

In the earlier murder case, Winters was convicted of killing a Crawford County man in 2004. He is incarcerated at Central State Prison in Macon, according to the Georgia Department of Corrections. Crawford County sheriff’s deputies found a working methamphetamine lab inside the victim’s residence, which they suspected at the time had something to do with the killing.

Police Chief Brett Evans joined Hartwig at the Warner Robins Law Enforcement Center on Tuesday afternoon in announcing the new charges against Winters.

Hartwig gave credit to the Warner Robins Police Department for its work on the case. Evans, in turn, acknowledged the work of former and current detectives, including Detective Carder Gravitt and former Detectives James Yoho and Andy Chratian, who are both deceased.

Information from Telegraph archives was used in this report. To contact writer Andres David Lopez, call 478-256-9751.

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