‘He’s dead. They robbed him,’ friends say at west Macon crime scene

Friends of a west Macon man found his body just inside his open carport door before noon Monday.

The women ran next door to alert a neighbor, who called 911 shortly after the discovery.

“He’s dead. They robbed him,” the women said as they left the crime scene after talking to investigators.

Bibb County homicide investigators were called after EMS and Macon-Bibb firefighters confirmed that the man, Michael Baxley, 53, was dead.

Coroner Leon Jones said Baxley had been dead for several hours.

Foul play was evident.

“Well, there’s blood everywhere,” Jones said shortly after arriving on the U-shaped street not far from Mercer University and Log Cabin drives. “Any time there’s blood, you’ve got to expand the investigation.”

By the time Bibb sheriff’s public affairs Lt. Randy Gonzalez arrived, investigators had confirmed that Baxley was the county’s 26th homicide victim and the first since three people were killed on Halloween, less than a week before.

The original call of a “person down” went out at 11:45 a.m.

Gonzalez later issued a release saying Baxley had at least one gunshot wound.

“There appeared to be an open door on the side,” Gonzalez said. “There was blood in the house and around the deceased.”

Investigators initially examined the body before branching out in the one-story brick house to look for clues and determine if anything had been taken, as his friends said.

“We’ll do further investigation inside the home and take a look around the house to see what they can find,” Gonzalez said.

Sheriff’s deputies also will see if they’ve have been called to the house before.

Once the crime scene tape went up, neighbors from down the street came to ask what had happened.

After learning that a man was dead, they tried to recall whether they’d heard any gunshots.

“You heard a gunshot last night, didn’t you?” one asked.

“No, that was the night before,” another answered.

Neighbors living closest to Baxley have been on Pharr Avenue for more than two decades.

The sound of gunfire is becoming more common, they said of the once quiet neighborhood.

None of them really knew Baxley, who moved in a couple of years ago, they said.

According to Bibb County tax records, he had owned the house since March 2015.

His body will be taken to the GBI Crime Lab for an autopsy.

Anyone who knows anything about the case is urged to call for an investigator at 478-751-7500 or Macon Regional Crimestoppers at 877-68-CRIME.

Liz Fabian: 478-744-4303, @liz_lines