Arrest made in shooting in Thomson

Gregory Louis Morris: Man has been charged in the shooting death of Pate Morris of Thomson. A bond hearing will likely be held today.

THOMSON --- A man was arrested at an Augusta hospital Thursday and charged with the shooting death of a 79-year-old McDuffie County musician and retired farmer earlier this week.


Gregory Louis Morris, 52, of the 800 block of South Main Street in Maxeys, Ga., was taken into custody at Doctors' Hospital about noon Thursday, said McDuffie County Sheriff's Office Maj. Ronnie Williamson.

Morris is charged with malice murder and possession of a firearm during the commission of a crime -- both felonies. The investigation is ongoing and additional charges could be filed.

He was being held without bond in the McDuffie County Law Enforcement Center in Thomson. A first appearance bond hearing is expected to be held today.

Gregory Morris is accused in the slaying of Pate Morris, whose body was discovered in the driveway of his residence on the 500 block of White Oak Campground Road about 2:30 p.m. Tuesday, Williamson said. Authorities had not determined if the two men are related.

Pate Morris was shot after getting out of his car, according to Michael T. Ayers, the special agent in-charge of the Georgia Bureau of Investigation Region 7 Office in Thomson. An autopsy performed at the GBI Crime Lab in Augusta on Wednesday confirmed he was shot more than once.

Authorities have not said what type of weapon was used or whether it has been recovered.

Gregory Morris was being treated for an unrelated medical condition when he was taken into custody, Ayers said. A 1985 Chevrolet Impala was taken from the parking lot of Doctors' Hospital and impounded.

Williamson said the case was solved as quickly as it was because of the cooperation between agencies, including sheriff's offices in Columbia, Richmond and Oglethorpe counties.

"We also received overwhelming support from the public," resulting in several leads, he said.

A roadblock was set up in McDuffie County for four hours Wednesday, in part to gain help from the public, authorities said.

Graveside services for Pate Morris are scheduled at 2 p.m. today at Savannah Valley Memorial Gardens in Thomson.

Thomson man, 79, found slain in driveway