Correction: Murder victim James C. Gray's first name was erroneously listed as John. The Chronicle regrets the error.
An Augusta man who took part in a series of murders, including that of a child in Taliaferro County, will remain in prison, the State Board of Pardons and Paroles has decided.
Nathan Brown, 50, who is serving life in prison for the 1976 murder of 11-year-old Bonnie Bulloch, won't be considered again for possible release until 2012.
"Thank God," Bonnie's mother, Hazel Phillips, said Tuesday when told of the board's decision. She has lobbied for 31 years to keep Mr. Brown and Judson Ruffin in prison.
"I'm just so thankful they won't let him out," Mrs. Phillips said.
A third man, Jose High, was also convicted. He was executed in 2001 for Bonnie's murder.
The three men walked into a Crawfordville gas station where Bonnie was visiting his stepfather, Henry Phillips, that night. They robbed Mr. Phillips and kidnapped him and Bonnie.
On a deserted country road, the killers made Mr. Phillips and Bonnie lie down on the road. Both were shot in the head.
Mrs. Phillips said she believes God played a part in keeping her husband alive. Although wounded, he walked more than a mile to find help, and he provided information that led to the arrest of Mr. High, Mr. Brown and Mr. Ruffin.
The men were also connected with the Aug. 20, 1976, slayings of Willean Hall, 36, and Leroy Linwood, 30, and the murder two days later of James C. Gray, 54.
A fourth man, Alphonso Morgan, was tried and convicted in Richmond County of Mr. Gray's murder. He is serving a life sentence.
Reach Sandy Hodson at (706) 823-3226 or firstname.lastname@example.org.