2 to be held without bond in Augusta homicide case; second victim is presumed dead

Two men suspected of killing a man whose body was found in a Peach Orchard Road shed are also suspected of killing a second man, District Attorney Natalie Paine said Friday.

 

At the conclusion of a bond hearing in Richmond County Superior Court, Senior Judge J. David Roper denied bond for William J. Krepps, 23, and Vaughn A. Verdi, 23, who now only face one charge of murder.

The men are suspected of killing Chad V. Garner, 27, whose bullet-riddled body was found June 11. Garner, who had been stripped to his underwear, was shot several times, including twice to the back of his head, Paine said. The shed is on property owned by Krepps’ family.

Investigators believe Garner was likely killed between 11 p.m. June 8 and 4 a.m. June 9, Paine said. The last person Garner was seen with was his friend, Preston Overton, 28, who was reported missing in Burke County.

The vehicle Overton was driving when last seen was recovered on Tybee Island, Ga., on June 10. The vehicle had been washed down with bleach, Paine said.

Overton is presumed dead, Paine said. Investigators are still looking for his body.

A witness told investigators that Krepps and Verdi intended to meet with Garner and that Krepps had borrowed a weapon, Paine said. Later, Krepps asked the witness to burn the clothes he had been wearing, Paine said. Garner’s and Overton’s clothing was found bloody and with bullet holes in a burning pile at Verdi’s home, she said.

That pile of burned clothing was in a common area of Verdi’s mother’s property and could have been disposed of by Krepps, said Verdi’s attorney, Robert Homlar. Verdi is a witness, not a participant in the crime, Homlar said.

Paine responded that Verdi’s statements are inconsistent, at minimum; Verdi knew Krepps killed someone; and instead of going to the police Verdi stayed with Krepps for a methamphetamine-infused weekend.

Defense attorney George Davis asked the judge for a reasonable bond in a case that still has a lot of unknowns. It’s likely to take a long time to figure out what happened, Davis said.

Roper denied bond, finding that Krepps and Verdi could pose a threat to the community, commit additional crimes, obstruct the investigation and flee.

Krepps was sentenced in February to 10 years for kidnapping. He had served nearly three years in jail while awaiting trial in connection with accusations of choking and binding a woman who said she was forced to have sex with another man. Verdi was prosecuted in Juvenile Court for first-degree arson, and he has adult convictions for theft and entering an automobile with intent to commit a crime, Paine said.

Reach Sandy Hodson at (706) 823-3226 or sandy.hodson@augustachronicle.com.

 

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