COVINGTON - A 28-year-old Newton County man has been arrested in Birmingham, Ala., and charged with the Saturday morning slaying of his roommate in the Trelawney subdivision.
According to Newton County Sheriff Joe Nichols and Vernon Kennan, director of the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, the suspect, Abel Torres, had taken a taxi to a bus station in Atlanta where he got on a bus headed for California. Authorities learned the bus would stop in Birmingham and notified Alabama authorities, who made the arrest.
According to GBI spokesman John Bankhead, sometime around 4:50 a.m. Saturday, two Hispanic men flagged down a trooper with the Georgia State Patrol, who was writing a ticket on Interstate 20, and advised the trooper "there was a problem" at their residence.
The trooper contacted the Newton County Sheriff's Office, who interviewed the two men. Investigators went to the home, located at 170 Trelawney Circle in the Trelawney subdivision off of Brown Bridge Road, found the front door open and discovered the body inside.
"They left and called the GBI and obtained search warrants for the home," Bankhead said during a press conference Saturday afternoon in front of the house.
Jeanette Deleda, vice president of the Trelawney Homeowners Association, said four Hispanic men were living in the home, which was used as rental property. She said the neighborhood had been concerned for some time because of ongoing "suspicious comings and goings" at the home.
Bankhead declined to reveal the method of the homicide other than to say it was obviously a homicide. An autopsy is to be performed today, he said.
The identification of the victim, who was from California, is being withheld, pending notification of his family.
The 29-year-old victim and Torres, who is also from California, have lived in Newton County for only a few months, authorities said.
Anyone with more information about this incident is asked to call the NCSO at 678-625-1406 or the GBI at 800-597-8477 (TIPS). Tips can also be given to the NCSO anonymously by calling 678-625-5007 or through their Web site at www.newtonsheriffga.org and by clicking on "anonymous tip line." Those who want a response from NCSO personnel should leave contact information.
This is the sixth murder for 2008 in Newton County.
A suspect is under arrest in the most recent murder of Gary Lamar Jones, whose mother found him dead at his Benedict Drive home on March 30. The suspect, Rodney Young, 40, of 71 Giles St., Bridgeton, N.J., has been charged with one count of murder, one count of malice murder and one count of burglary in connection with the slaying of the Red Lobster restaurant employee and former prison guard with the Georgia Department of Corrections. He remains incarcerated in New Jersey pending extradition.
Authorities have not made an arrest in the double homicide that occurred at 695 Freeman Drive in late January, however. The bodies of a man and a woman were discovered dead inside the home after an employer became concerned when one of the victims did not show up for work.
News Editor Aimee Jones contributed to this story.
The Associate Press contributed to this story.
Barbara Knowles can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.