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Newton County resident sentenced to life for 2011 murder

COVINGTON -- A Newton County man was sentenced to life without parole for the 2011 murder of a Covington man.

The week-long trial for Chad Ashley Allen, 35, wrapped up with a guilty verdict Friday in Walton County Superior Court in connection with the murder. Originally, he and three other Newton County men were charged in Newton County, but it was later determined that Walton County was the proper venue.

Allen was charged with malice murder, felony murder, kidnapping, aggravated assault, possession of a firearm during commission of a felony, possession of a firearm by a convicted felon and concealing the death of another.

Earlier this year, Sam Dumas Dawkins, 48; Robert Vincent Lambert, 38; and Michael Scott West, 35, all entered pleas in Walton County Superior Court.

Originally, the three were charged with malice murder, felony murder, kidnapping, aggravated assault, possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony, possession of a firearm by a convicted felon and concealing the death of another; Dawkins also originally was charged with possession of methamphetamine with intent to distribute and theft by receiving stolen property.

Lambert entered a plea for conspiracy to commit murder and concealing the death of another; he was sentenced to 20 years to serve 10.

Dawkins entered a plea to trafficking methamphetamine, concealing the death of another, possession of a firearm by a convicted felon and theft by receiving; he also received a sentence of 20 years to serve 10.

West pleaded guilty to four counts of making false statements in a matter within a political subdivision and also received a sentence of 20 years to serve 10.

The body of Robert Andrew "Drew" Nichols, 38, who most recently lived in Covington, was found in the woods off Clegg Farm Road in Social Circle by a deer hunter in October 2011. Walton County authorities began the death investigation and later authorities determined that Nichols was killed in Newton County, on Dawkins' property, and then dumped in Walton County, according to initial reports from the NCSO. West later recanted his story that Dawkins was involved in the murder, but he was still held in connection with the incident.