Investigators early Wednesday arrested a couple for robbing and killing two men in a Tunnel Hill mobile home after a party Monday night.
Raven Marie Delaney, 21, and Joshua Paul Rood, 19, of 1412 Keys Road in Tunnel Hill were arraigned Wednesday for the murders of Robert Jefferson Holcomb, 34, and John Dewey Evans, 49, Catoosa Sheriff Phil Summers said.
Bond was expected to be denied for both suspects.
Both victims lived in a mobile home at 1992 Catoosa Parkway (Ga. 2) near Nellie Head Baptist Church in the Tunnel Hill portion of Catoosa.
They died from gunshot wounds early Tuesday morning, Summers said, adding that the murders revolved around money and meth and were “planned executions.”
“Both suspects have made statements, and we felt strongly enough that we had enough evidence to make an arrest in this case,” he said. “It is a complex case because we are dealing with a large number of people, many of which are drug users. We’re basically having to interview and re-interview a lot of people to try and get to the truth in this murder investigation.”
He said Evans was apparently involved in illegal drug sales, but the amount of money and drugs taken from the residence is still undetermined.
Summers said as many as 50 attended the party Monday that lasted into the early morning hours of Tuesday, but it is still too early to say if anyone else was present during the murders or if there will be any future arrests.
Authorities recovered a .38-caliber revolver belonging to one of the victims during an initial interview with the suspects, and a white van taken from the residence was found abandoned in the Keys Road area about three to four miles from the crime scene.
Prior drug arrests
Summers said the suspects have been arrested on drug charges in the past and frequented the residence where the murders occurred. He said both victims also have a history of drugs and violence.
Holcomb was arrested for aggravated assault last May for shooting two men with a .25-caliber handgun at his previous residence at 5214 U.S. 41 in Ringgold, Summer said.
Ronald George Darrah Jr., 36, of Tunnel Hill, and Michael Todd Johnson, 36, of Dalton, claimed Holcomb shot them when they went to his home to collect an unpaid debt, Summers said.
Whitfield County resident Michelle Paulk said she and Holcomb, whom she said was known as the “white drug lord,” were friends for about eight years until she quit using drugs about three years ago.
Paulk speculated Wednesday that Holcomb’s murder was in retaliation for last year’s shooting of Darrah and Johnson, which she said was “over a bad dope deal,” and she thinks one of the suspects is a cousin of Darrah or Johnson.
Authorities have not confirmed this information.
“He (Holcomb) was a drug dealer, and this is just what he got,” Paulk said. “He was a menace to society. This is just two more down the drug pipe.”
Friend found bodies
Officers responded to a 911 call at 6:39 p.m. Tuesday night and found the door of the trailer open and the bodies inside. A friend of one of the victims discovered the bodies and alerted authorities, Summers said.
A team of Catoosa County detectives and Georgia Bureau of Investigation agents was at the scene late Tuesday night searching for clues in the slayings.
The bodies were taken Wednesday morning to the GBI crime lab in Summerville.
One neighbor said vehicles frequented the residence at all hours, and she suspected drugs were being sold from the home. She said she called the Catoosa County Sheriff's Department several times to report the suspicious activity.
Another neighbor said in the seven to eight years Evans lived in the trailer, he has had run-ins with him because Evans was placing truck trailers and abandoned mobile homes on the property. He said teenagers used the trailers “to party” and vandalized them with Satanic symbols and graffiti.
He confirmed that there was a party at Evans’ home on Saturday, but Monday night, when the killings are suspected to have happened, he didn't notice anything unusual.
A third neighbor said she was scared of Evans. She said that four of the families are deaf who live around Evans, which may explain why no one heard gunshots on the night of the killings. She said several deaf families live in the neighborhood because one of the property owners there is deaf and rents to many of his friends.
Summers credits good investigative work as the reason for the quick arrest.
“The first 24-48 hours in a murder investigation are very important,” he said. “It was a major operation that involved a lot of people. I’m very proud of the detectives, and what they did last night. We’ve been very fortunate in the past 13 years — all of the homicides in Catoosa County have been solved.”
Summers said this is the first double murder involving a robbery he can recall since 1974 when two teenagers were killed during a robbery of an Exxon service station on U.S 41 near I-75. Those murders remain unsolved.
A double murder does not really have any different type of prosecutorial approach than an individual murder, said Buzz Franklin, district attorney for the Lookout Mountain Judicial Circuit.
There may be a possibility for the death penalty," Franklin said, but such conclusions cannot be determined until the investigation is complete and all the aspects of the case are reviewed.
Catoosa investigators ask anyone who attended the party on Monday to contact them at (706) 935-2424 with any information they may have about the killings