Houston & Peach

Arrest made in Warner Robins killing; the victim mentored the accused, warrant says

Scene of ‘possible homicide’ in Warner Robins

Police were dispatched Saturday morning to "a possible homicide" at a residence at Villa North Court, according to a Warner Robins police news release. Crime scene investigators remained on scene late Saturday afternoon with a section of the road
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Police were dispatched Saturday morning to "a possible homicide" at a residence at Villa North Court, according to a Warner Robins police news release. Crime scene investigators remained on scene late Saturday afternoon with a section of the road

A Warner Robins man has been arrested in the fatal shooting of a man who was found dead in his bed Saturday at his home.

Daniel Maurice Thomas, 24, of Warner Robins was booked into the Houston County jail early Tuesday on charges of murder, aggravated assault and burglary, jail records show.

Elliott Mizell, 55, suffered gunshot wounds to the head and neck, according to arrest warrants.

The house on Villa North Court was in disarray, a rear sliding glass door was open and gloves with blood on them were found in the backyard.

Mizell had been mentoring Thomas and allowed him to sleep over on the couch at least once in the past, Thomas' mother told police.

Thomas allegedly called his mother on Mizell's stolen cellphone just after 9 a.m. Saturday and told her that he shot and killed a man with a friend's gun, according to warrants. She did not believe him.

But later, when she heard about the homicide, she checked the number her son had called from with a card that had Mizell's cellphone number on it. The numbers were the same. She called police.

Daniel Maurice Thomas.JPG
Daniel Maurice Thomas

Thomas also called his sister in Texas at 2 a.m. Saturday from Mizell's home phone and later, just after 9 a.m. Saturday, from Mizell's cellphone, according to warrants. Thomas allegedly told his sister that he shot and killed a man.

Police were already on scene at 117 Villa North Court when the calls were made from Mizell's cellphone. Police were sent to the home at 8:49 a.m.

Police had AT&T run a location ping, which showed Mizell's cellphone at 9:30 a.m. about 1,000 feet behind the Ramada Inn on Watson Boulevard, less than three miles from Mizell's home.

Thomas was taken into custody at his Hidden Creek Circle residence at 10:09 p.m. Monday by Warner Robins police detectives and members of the U.S. Marshals Southeast Regional Fugitive Task Force, according to a Warner Robins police news release.

Thomas was booked into the Houston County jail about 1 a.m. Tuesday.

Mizell was a member of the Fort Valley State University Warner Robins Area Alumni Chapter, FVSU Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity chapter and St. Peter AME Church in Fort Valley.

Mizell led efforts to help the homeless in Fort Valley and to encourage youths to seek higher education, some of Mizell's fraternity brothers said.

Elliott Mizell.jpg
Elliott Mizell Special to The Telegraph

Ahmad Thorpe was refereeing a basketball game in Dublin on Saturday when he got a message that Mizell had been killed.

“I had to sit down for an entire quarter,” Thorpe said. “I just would not have imagined it. He wouldn’t hurt a fly. I still don’t understand why someone would want to hurt him.”

He said Mizell had overcome health issues in recent years.

Mizell was a "godly man," said another fraternity brother, Andrew Felton.

He and Mizell had been talking and emailing about charitable activities in the days before Mizell's death.

Felton said he also has trouble understanding why someone would harm Mizell.

“It was very heartbreaking,” Felton said. “I was floored, completely floored.”

Mizell’s sister, Elouise Brown, said he was retired from Robins Air Force Base and was single.

He was scheduled to walk a friend, whose father was deceased, down the aisle at her wedding Saturday afternoon.

Brown, who has lost three other brothers through natural causes, said Mizell's death has been hard to accept.

“It’s devastating for us to lose him that way,” she said.

When Mizell decided to get involved in something, he dedicated himself to it, Brown said.

Becky Purser: (478) 256-9559, @BecPurser

Wayne Crenshaw: (478) 256-9725, @WayneCrenshaw1

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