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Arrests made in murder

COVINGTON -- Four men have been charged in connection with the murder of a Newton County man whose body was found on the outskirts of Social Circle on Sunday afternoon by a deer hunter, according to the Newton County Sheriff's Office.

The dead man has been identified as Robert Andrew "Drew" Nichols, 38, an individual Newton County authorities believe most recently lived in Covington.

Charged with murder in connection with his death are Michael Scott West, 31, Robert Vincent Lambert, 35, Sam Dumas Dawkins, 45, all of Newton County, and Chad Ashley Allen, 31, of Walton County. Mug shots and addresses of the suspects are being withheld by the NCSO.

Further charges may be pending, according to NCSO spokesman Lt. Tyrone Oliver.

Oliver said the men are all at the Newton County Detention Center. West was arrested Monday and the other three suspects were taken into custody Wednesday by the Covington/Newton County SWAT Team.

Nichols' body was found in a wooded area off Clegg Farm Road and Walton County authorities first began investigating the death. Oliver said during the course of the investigation, it was determined that Nichols was killed in Newton County and his body was dumped at the Walton County site.

"At first, Walton County took the lead in the investigation and we assisted them, and now we've taken over the lead and they are assisting us," Oliver said.

No details are being released concerning the murder. Oliver would not give the cause of death or what the motive might have been except to say the investigation so far has not indicated that drugs were a motive.

He said investigators have a time frame of when the murder was committed, but because of weather and other factors, they are still meeting with experts to make exact determinations.

Oliver said additional arrests could follow and asks that anyone with any information regarding this case call the NCSO at 678-625-1400 or tips can be given to the NCSO anonymously at 678-625-5007 or through their Web site at www.newtonsheriffga.org by clicking on "anonymous tips." Those who want a response from NCSO personnel should leave contact information.