HAZLEHURST — A jury Friday returned not guilty verdicts in the malice murder and felony murder trial of Kelly Rashad Williams, who was accused of murdering two men and dumping their bodies in a well in December 2014.
Williams was charged with two counts of felony murder and two counts of malice murder, as well as two counts of armed robbery in connection with the deaths of Lonnie Patterson, 46, of Laurel Hill, N.C., and Randy Hobbs, 55, of Laurel Hill, N.C., said John R. Thigpen Sr., defense attorney for Williams.
Evidence the two men had been shot point-blank in the back of their heads and thrown into the well, Thigpen said.
Summations were given Friday morning by the prosecution and the defense and the case was turned over to the jury with directions from Judge E.M. Wilkes.
The jury also found Williams not guilty of conspiracy to violate the Georgia Controlled Substances Act.
The jury deliberated about an hour before returning the verdict just before 1 p.m. Friday. He was found not guilty.
He was, however, found “guilty” of two counts of concealing the death of another person and was sentenced by Judge Wilkes to eight years in prison on that verdict.
The bodies were located in a well off U.S. 221 about five miles northeast of Hazlehurst in mid-December 2014.
Jeff Davis Sheriff Preston Bohannon said a car Hobbs and Patterson had occupied was found abandoned Dec. 10, 2014 on a dirt road in Tattnall County.
Bohannon said Williams and a woman had lived in a residence on Kermit Carter Road that was next door to the location where the bodies were pulled from the well. Williams and the woman moved about two weeks after the deaths, the sheriff said.
A jury was chosen Monday and trial started Tuesday in Jeff Davis Superior Court and ran through Friday morning with the verdict returned at mid-day Friday.
Assistant District Attorney Jan Kennedy prosecuted the case for the state.
A second man, Robert Johnson, is also charged in the murders.
Thigpen said Johnson testified against Williams in court this week. No trial date has been set for Johnson.