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May 23, 2013 Issue

Outler convicted of murder, gets life
Museum dedicated to Patsy Jordan
Road check leads to drug bust

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Outler convicted of murder, gets life

By Parish Howard
Editor/Publisher

Two years to the day after Anthony Holmes’ body was found a Jefferson County jury convicted Clifton Leandre Outler of malice murder.

The body of 43-year-old Holmes, of Dublin, was discovered in a creek near Martin Luther King Extension in Wadley on May 16, 2011, after a neighbor reported an unusual vehicle. Holmes had suffered a gunshot to the head, but the coroner’s report gave the likely cause of death as blunt force trauma. Holmes had been reported missing since May 12.

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Outler, who was 22 at the time, was arrested in Dublin the day after the body was found.

The trial began Monday and ended Thursday of last week. Over the course of those four days the jurors listen to Assistant District Attorney Tony May’s witnesses and evidence, including detailed phone records involving two of the victim’s cell phones May says Outler used in days leading up to and after Holmes’ murder. He said that Outler, who had been living with Holmes for a short time and using his car and phone, killed Holmes while robbing him.

“The only person in Jefferson County who had any contact with Mr. Holmes was the man living with him, off him, and that gravy train was about to end,” May said. “Holmes was about to move and he wasn’t taking (Outler) with him.”

Jurors also heard from Outler’s attorney, Brandi Payne, and her witnesses who claimed Outler could not have done it. Outler’s defense was primarily alibi based on the testimony of family members.

Payne suggested that the phone records showed that Holmes himself had traveled to Wadley looking to buy a gun. And she pointed to Antoine Brown, Outler’s brother, who had pictures of drugs and money on his cell phone, the fact that he is a confessed member of the Gangster Disciples and that witnesses claimed Brown had a large sum of money in the days following Holmes’ death.

“The man with the $6,000 is the man who did the killing,” Payne told the jury. “Clifton wasn’t nervous or excitable. He didn’t do anything and he didn’t have anything to hide.”

Payne said the only reason Outler was a suspect was that he ran from police in Dublin, because he lived with Holmes, drove Holmes’ car and used Holmes’ cell phones.

“Anthony Holmes did not kill himself and he didn’t suffer an accident,” May told jurors in his closing argument. “He suffered a brutal, painful…death and every bit of evidence points to that man right there.”

May used phone records to show that both of the victim’s cell phones, phones he said Outler was using, pinged off of certain towers, showing when they came to and from Wadley in the days before and after Holmes’ death.

“Brown did not know a thing in this world about Anthony Holmes until (Outler) called him,” May said.

May told jurors that Outler’s alibi didn’t “hold water,” that those who testified were last-minute witnesses trying to confuse things.

A Jefferson County jury deliberated less than an hour Thursday before convicting Outler of malice murder, armed robbery, two counts of aggravated assault and three counts of possession of a weapon during the commission of a crime. For the murder, Judge Kathy Palmer sentenced him to life without parole. He received another 25 consecutive years for the other charges.

A second man, identified as Jeremy Reid of Dublin, was arrested in October of 2012 and charged in connection with the death of Holmes. At the time, Reid was 23. His trial will be held separately.




Museum dedicated to Patsy Jordan

By Carol McLeod
Staff Writer

To those who knew her, Patsy Todd Jordan was a tireless woman, devoted to her adopted home of Bartow.

She opened her home, Magnolia Mornings, as a bed and breakfast and welcomed visitors from around the world.


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She founded and was the curator of the Bartow Museum.

Jordan’s unexpected death last November left her family and friends bereft.

On Sunday, May 19, amid a light rain, her family and friends gathered for a dedication of the museum in her memory.

Charles Josey provided a brief history of the museum, including Jordan’s efforts to have the town participate in the March to the Sea Heritage Trail, which follows the march Maj. Gen. William Sherman made through Georgia in his plan to capture Savannah during the Civil War.

Josey said Jordan was not a dreamer.

“She was a visionary,” he said. “When we lost Patsy last November, I thought that would be the end of her dream.”

There are 18 volunteers working at the museum; and, the museum is open three days a week.

“That’s incredible for a town this size,” Josey said. He said that on one weekend, which he said was not a typical weekend, visitors to the museum included people from Australia, London and New Zealand.

Hubert Jordan, the town’s current mayor and Jordan’s husband, thanked the town council for helping make her dream come true.

One of Jordan’s sons, Hubert Jordan III, said she graduated from college with a degree in special education and she was able to see the potential in people.

“She passed on a lot of things,” he said. “She had the ability to team build. The museum is not the work of one person.”

He said when he goes to the museum he can hear her voice.

“I hope this museum lasts for years; and, it’s filled with people’s love. And we thank y’all for that,” he said.

Brooks dedicated the museum on behalf of the town and its city council.

“We want to honor her,” she said. “We don’t want to forget.”

Brooks said there is still room for more volunteers. “If her memory stirs your heart,” she said.




Road check leads to drug bust

By Carol McLeod
Staff Writer

Drugs found after a routine road check led to the discovery of a plan to drop the drugs and tobacco off at a DOT office in Washington County for a prisoner on the county’s work detail, Lt. Clark Hiebert said Wednesday, May 8.

A routine road check by the Georgia State Patrol apparently scared the driver of a white sedan into turning around in an attempt to avoid the checkpoint.


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Trooper First Class Hal Wilson with the GSP said last week the agency was conducting a road check on Georgia State Route 24 at mile marker 5 Wednesday, May 8. Wilson said he saw the car turn around about 8:30 p.m. The trooper got in his vehicle and followed the sedan.

“He turned off into the wood,” Wilson said.

“I actually went down there. It was just east of the bridge. He had actually driven down close to the creek there,” he said.

When Wilson arrived, the car was parked with the driver’s side door open. The trooper said when he saw the door open, he thought the driver might have fled; so, he radioed for assistance.

“The passenger opened his door,” Wilson said. “I asked the passenger what they were doing. He said they were trying to figure out how to get to Sandersville. That was his response.”

The trooper said there were three occupants in the vehicle, two in the front seat and one in the rear seat. They were all still in the vehicle.

Wilson said he then approached the driver’s side of the vehicle.

“In plain view, there was an amount of marijuana,” he said.

“It was just a small amount; but, it was in plain view in the vehicle,” Wilson said, adding that constituted probable cause to search the vehicle.

“What I saw was probably about $10’s worth of marijuana in the pocket of the driver’s side door. By the time I had got to that point, another trooper from the road check had arrived,” Wilson said.

The trooper said after he saw the small amount of marijuana, the occupants were removed from the vehicle and handcuffed.

Wilson said they were compliant.

“There was no resistance at all,” he said.

“I saw a tightly wrapped item that looked like a fist sized ball of medical tape. I cut that open just a little bit and found what I suspected to be more marijuana. That just led to locating multiple bags of tobacco. There were a total of two of these bags of marijuana, a third bag of marijuana. At that point in time, I just left everything where it was and called Clark (Hiebert) and brought them to the scene and asked them for assistance,” Wilson said.

Hiebert and Sgt. Barrow Walden, an investigator with the JCSO, came to the traffic stop location and conducted their investigation, the trooper said.

The officers interviewed the suspects and a map and letter were discovered during a search.

Wilson said during the course of the interviews along with the information found it became obvious the marijuana and the tobacco was being transported to another site.

The trooper said although GSP has the capacity to handle these types of cases, their primary focus is the safety of the motoring public.

“We work hand-in-hand with local authorities,” he said.

Hiebert identified the suspects as Tracy Bernard Ellison, 40; Jalen Breonada Walker, 27; and Bennie James Walker Jr., 27. All men are from Sardis.

Each has been charged with possession of marijuana with intent to distribute, which is a felony.

“Other charges may be pending,” Hiebert said.

The investigator said he contacted the Georgia Department of Corrections and they are investigating the allegations the drugs and tobacco were to be dropped off to be picked up by a prisoner.







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