3 arrested after hunters find Ft. Stewart soldier's body

Motive, details of slaying remain mystery to police

Thursday, Nov. 17, 2011 5:59 AM
Last updated 6:03 AM
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Three arrests have been made in the Tuesday slaying of a Fort Stewart soldier, said Deputy William Terrell of the Camden County Sheriff’s Office.

Spc. Jeffrey Cole Eicher, 23, of Fort Stewart, Aaron James Paxton, 36, of St. Marys, and Timothy Dale Pennington, 39, of Kingsland, were arrested Tuesday night and Wednesday morning on murder charges in the death of Spc. James A. Willis, 25, Terrell said.

Willis was a member of the 3rd Infantry Division at Fort Stewart, where the U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command is working with other agencies  investigating his death.

Eicher is assigned to the 2nd Brigade Combat Team of the 3rd Infantry Division, the Army said.

Two hunters emerging from woods beside Union Carbide Road at Harriet’s Bluff about 10:30 a.m. Tuesday saw Willis’ body lying 20 feet off the road near an entrance to Cabin Bluff.

Investigators are still trying to determine a motive in the slaying and also awaiting a cause of death from a Georgia Bureau of Investigation crime lab.

The Sheriff’s Office, GBI, the Army, Kingsland Police Department and Liberty County Sheriff’s Office worked on the crime overnight and arrests were made, officials said.

Investigators theorized Tuesday that there was some local connection for someone to drive nine miles off Interstate 95 to either kill Willis or dump his body in the remote area.

Although Bayer CropScience has a plant farther down the road from where Willis’ body was found, traffic is typically light, Terrell said. The dead-end road is the only access to the area.

terry.dickson@jacksonville.com, (912) 264-0405

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Riverman1
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Riverman1 11/17/11 - 07:52 am
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Weird. I wonder what the

Weird. I wonder what the story will turn out to be?

augusta citizen
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augusta citizen 11/17/11 - 09:06 am
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How terrible, prayers to the

How terrible, prayers to the family.

stillamazed
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stillamazed 11/17/11 - 09:07 am
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Who knows Riverman, it is sad

Who knows Riverman, it is sad the way a life can be taken and discarded so easily. I hope they find out what happened and I pray for the soldiers family.

burninater
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burninater 11/17/11 - 10:24 am
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Many cases of violence in the

Many cases of violence in the military have had a single common thread. I won't speculate further until more information comes out. My thoughts are with the family.

Brad Owens
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Brad Owens 11/17/11 - 11:19 am
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Sounds like a drug deal gone

Sounds like a drug deal gone bad or something to do with a spouse or lover.

burninater
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burninater 11/17/11 - 11:50 am
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Brad, the arrest of 3

Brad, the arrest of 3 individuals would seem to discount the spouse/lover, drug deal is possible. The association of a younger military guy with two older non-military individuals brings to mind past situations of certain ideological groups bringing new young recruits into the fold. Again, pure speculation.

Jane18
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Jane18 11/17/11 - 12:40 pm
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Oh please,

Oh please, burninater...........watch out where you are going with this....................

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