Botched drug deal leads to shooting death

COVINGTON - Two teens have been arrested and charged with felony murder by Covington authorities after they were allegedly involved in the shooting of a man following a drug deal gone awry at the Magnolia Heights apartment complex on Ga. Highway 36 on Monday afternoon.

Authorities said the suspects, Cecil Freeman Allen, 18, of 290 Overlook Drive, and Julian Antun Holloway, 18, of 8157 Woodland Ave., were attempting to purchase marijuana from 20-year-old Ashley O'bryant Vinson, of 275 Hunter Trace, when a disagreement occurred.

Vinson was subsequently shot in the head at close range with a .40 caliber handgun. Authorities said it was still unclear exactly who the gunman was. The murder weapon has been recovered.

According to Capt. Craig Treadwell of the Covington Police Department, officers responded to a call of shots fired at the apartment complex shortly after 3 p.m., but upon arriving at the scene, no victim was found.

A responding officer was subsequently able to trace a number from where one of the 911 calls was made from, which then led authorities to Holloway's residence on Woodland Avenue.

Treadwell said officers went to the home and knocked on the door, but no one answered, even though several people had been seen through the window of an upstairs room.

After placing some phone calls to the residence, officers were eventually able to gain entrance, at which point they found Vinson lying in the backseat of a vehicle in the garage.

Vinson had no vital signs and was pronounced dead by Newton County Assistant Coroner Tommy Davis a short time later.

The suspects, who were in the house at the time, were taken into custody and transported to CPD headquarters where they were questioned along with several witnesses.

"We believe (Vinson) was shot before he left Magnolia Heights," Treadwell said.

He added that police also believe that the suspects were in a panic, which is why they took the victim to Holloway's residence.

In addition to murder, Holloway and Allen have also been charged with possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony and with a violation of the Georgia Controlled Substances Act.

Treadwell said he doesn't anticipate any more arrests in the case, but indicated more charges could be pending against the suspects should additional information about the case come to light.

Covington Chief of Police Stacey Cotton praised the work of the responding officers, who were able to quickly find the victim and apprehend the suspects.

"The patrol officers went above and beyond ... figuring out where this incident occurred," he said.

Among those patrol officers mentioned for their work on the case were Julie Cole-English, Oscar Rogers, Donald Jones, Lt. Mike Bruno and Sgt. John Seabolt.

Cotton was also complimentary of the department's use of technology, particularly the laptops officers were issued last summer, which aided responding officers tremendously.

"This is the first time (the laptops) really paid off for us," Cotton said.

The chief wanted to remind residents living in the area where the incident took place that they should have nothing further to worry about in relation to the incident.

"This was again, an isolated, unfortunate incident," he said.

Joel Griffin can be reached at joel.griffin@newtoncitizen.com.