Police: Witness dated suspect in toilet seat slaying

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A woman who witnessed a man beat another man to death in Northeast Athens this weekend was once romantically involved with the alleged killer, according to authorities.

The woman, who told police the man kidnapped and raped her after the murder, has been held without bail at the Clarke County Jail because there were unrelated warrants for her arrest, police said.

She is a convicted child molester who failed to register with the local sheriff's office after she relocated from Hull to Athens, and court documents show she failed to appear in court in connection with a February aggravated assault arrest.

Police have not publicly released the woman's name, and the Athens Banner-Herald is withholding her identity because she may be a rape victim.

Meanwhile, authorities in Clarke and Madison counties are trying to sort out what happened Sunday morning at Garden Apartments on Spring Court off North Avenue.

Athens-Clarke police say William Thomas Valentine Jr. of Colbert used a toilet seat lid to bludgeon to death 51-year-old Alfred Lorenzo Harris in the victim's apartment while the woman watched.

Police will not say if they know why Valentine killed Harris.

Neighbors said Harris referred to the woman as his girlfriend, but police said she was basically homeless and lived in various places.

Neighbors did not know Valentine, but they noticed him hanging out several days before Harris was killed, visiting the victim's apartment and walking around the complex with the woman who lived with Harris.

Neighbors said she recently returned to Harris' apartment after he kicked her out for stealing from him.

Evelyn Tarpkins, who lives three doors down from Harris, heard a commotion as she lay in bed early Sunday.

"All of a sudden, this woman was screaming, and I thought, 'Oh Lord, something is happening because she is screaming so bad.' "

No one called police about the noise, and Harris' body was found about noon Sunday, when a friend stopped by with food.

On Tuesday, tenants at Garden Apartments spoke kindly of their slain neighbor, who went by the nickname "Shorty," and recalled how he enjoyed riding his bicycle and walking his Chihuahua.

Harris does not have family in the area, neighbors said, and animal control officers took custody of his dog.

A woman who cleaned his apartment once a week approached his door Monday morning when Tarpkins broke the news to her.

"I said to her, 'Don't knock on that door, honey. Shorty's gone,' " Tarpkins said.

After the attack, police said Valentine forced the woman to go with him to Hull, then left her there while he went to a home in Colbert and burned his bloody clothes. Police arrested Valentine on Monday afternoon at his brother's home in Oglethorpe County and charged him with murder.

Investigators with the Madison County Sheriff's Office who are investigating the reported rape learned that the woman once was involved with the accused murderer.

"There was a previous sexual relationship between the (rape) victim and Valentine," said Lt. Jimmy Patton, chief investigator for the Madison County Sheriff's Office.

Investigators collected evidence from the woman and are waiting for test results from the State Crime Lab, he said. They interviewed Valentine and the woman, and will consider their previous relationship, Patton said.

"We have to take that factor into account," he said.

The woman also has a history of deceit; she's been arrested in Clarke County at least twice for giving police a fake name, according to court records.

She was released from state prison in 2002, after serving five years for child molestation, burglary and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.

A Clarke County judge signed a bench warrant for her arrest in August, after she failed to show up in court to answer to charges she tried to stab a woman in Athens.

Valentine, 40, has a record of convictions in Clarke County dating to at least 2000, for crimes ranging from burglary and drugs to assault.

He served different prison terms, once for shooting at two men in Athens, according to the Department of Corrections.

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johnston.cliff
2
Points
johnston.cliff 10/13/10 - 10:54 am
0
0
What do you get when you

What do you get when you cross the subsidy culture with the homeless culture?
A long, simisalacious article with little meaning beyond a glimpse at the underbelly of society.
The welfare programs are as responsible for this article as any one thing.
Nothing relating to this article will change.
The cultures will continue and these type of articles will continue.

Ushouldnthave
0
Points
Ushouldnthave 10/13/10 - 11:19 am
0
0
When toilet seat lids are

When toilet seat lids are outlawed.....

Lonewuf
5
Points
Lonewuf 10/13/10 - 11:47 am
0
0
Where did the toilet seat lid

Where did the toilet seat lid come from? .... Was it still attached to the toilet? That's just not something you see laying around someones home..... so was the victim beaten while his face was in the toilet? Very strange, very strange indeed......

mable8
4
Points
mable8 10/13/10 - 12:42 pm
0
0
johnston.cliff: "The welfare

johnston.cliff: "The welfare programs are as responsible for this article as any one thing." Why do you always blame welfare programs for the ills of society? You probably have done a few wrong things in your lifetime, but was never caught--so guess that makes you a mastermind in judging others. Nowhere in the article does it say that any of the participants were welfare recipients. I think you are disgusting for portraying all welfare recipients as the worst society has to offer--there are plenty of the wealthier citizens who do far worse than these two blokes; the only difference is that the $$ keeps the wealthy out of the limelight and, consequently, public condemnation. As for the two perpetrators, they should both receive a death penalty. And the neighbor, my question to you is: Why didn't you call the police when you heard the screaming? Did you sleep well after making your decision? I hope not.

PUPPYMOMMA
1389
Points
PUPPYMOMMA 10/13/10 - 01:18 pm
0
0
It 's bad enough to be

It 's bad enough to be labeled a murderer, but to be labeled as the "Toilet Seat Killer" is over the top.

corgimom
48510
Points
corgimom 10/13/10 - 01:40 pm
0
0
The toilet seat probably came

The toilet seat probably came from a pile of junk that was sitting in the yard.

Most people do not plan to murder someone with a toilet seat.

wafflehead
0
Points
wafflehead 10/13/10 - 02:10 pm
0
0
Great. After the government

Great. After the government gets through with this, I will have to show i.d. and register my toilet seat. I wonder if felons will be allowed to buy them?

pommom38
1497
Points
pommom38 10/13/10 - 02:52 pm
0
0
How are the *homeless*

How are the *homeless* suppose to update their status with the sex offender list? They don't HAVE an address.. Just something i've wondered. Like the previous incident where the man lived under a bridge.
How thoughtful (not) of the neighbors to talk so kindly of the victim, yet hearing all the screaming and noise, no one bothered to call the cops.
May the man rest in peace.

No_Longer_Amazed
5149
Points
No_Longer_Amazed 10/13/10 - 04:02 pm
0
0
These parts of the report say

These parts of the report say it all!

"All of a sudden, this woman was screaming, and I thought, 'Oh Lord, something is happening because she is screaming so bad.' "

"No one called police about the noise..."

overburdened_taxpayer
117
Points
overburdened_taxpayer 10/13/10 - 04:13 pm
0
0
Yup, they're going to start

Yup, they're going to start registering toilet seats and each one will come with a serial number. Maybe the next sensless death by toilet seat will have the serial number impressed in the victim's forehead for easy identification.

johnston.cliff
2
Points
johnston.cliff 10/13/10 - 04:55 pm
0
0
mable 8, If I type very

mable 8, If I type very slowly will you be willing to consider that people who subsist on the underbelly of society are the ones that find themselves in a situation where one beats the other to death, with a toilet seat, while arguing over a homeless woman they're both using? Do you think that a program that discourages personal responsibility may influence this type of lifestyle? Do you think that a program that discourages personal accountability may influence this type of situation?
How about a program that provides a crash pad in a complex full of "provided crash" pads?
Which positive attribute expressed in this incident do you credit to the gift of the government subsidy program?
I'm not sure what most of your rambling was about, but my post was about the influence exerted on people that leads them to act like this.
Why does this deduction upset you so?

ArmedandLegal
0
Points
ArmedandLegal 10/13/10 - 07:05 pm
0
0
When you outlaw toliet seats,

When you outlaw toliet seats, only outlaws will have them!

humbleopinion
1
Points
humbleopinion 10/13/10 - 08:03 pm
0
0
How many people in subsidized

How many people in subsidized housing have someone come in once a week to clean for them? Are WE the taxpayers paying for this service too? We're now paying for their cellphones so why not their cleaning services......

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