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Officials still waiting on lab results in McDuffie shooting, dragging death

Friday, Nov. 4, 2011 2:35 PM
Last updated 8:39 PM
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It might be summer before a grand jury will get the case of two McDuffie County suspects charged in the shooting and dragging death of a Gibson, Ga., woman in September.

After more than a month, District Attorney Dennis Sanders said the case is still in its early stages.

Sanders, the district attorney of six counties in the Toombs Judicial Circuit, said results have not returned from the crime labs. Both Atlanta and Augusta facilities are processing the evidence.

“It’s going to be awhile because the crime labs are suffering financially,” he said. “It may be several months yet before we get results back.”

Autopsy results are still out, too.

Sanders attributed the delay to backlogs and the condition of the body when it was recovered.

Authorities found the body of Jennifer Kitchens Wells, 36, on Sept. 21 on the side of Happy Valley Road in Warren County. Evidence suggested Wells was shot several times at Happy Valley Store on Wrens Highway in McDuffie County and then dragged to the location where she was found.

Her former husband, Ricky Charles Wells, 43, and his aunt by marriage, Tina Ann Wells, 40, are being held at the McDuffie County Law Enforcement Center on murder charges.

“The good news is we got a lot (of evidence), but the bad news is it’s going to take awhile,” Sanders said.

At this time investigators are still unsure of a motive, but Sanders said he hopes the returned evidence will lead them to answers.

The next grand jury hearing for the Toombs Judicial Circuit is in December, but Sanders said it seems unlikely the case will be ready to go at that point.

A special grand jury hearing in February is questionable, and June now looks more likely.

“Certainly I don’t think there’s any question that we can get them in June,” Sanders said.

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Little Lamb
Little Lamb 11/04/11 - 04:07 pm
Here's just a thought: go

Here's just a thought: go ahead and convene the grand jury now and indict him on what you have now and start the trial clock ticking. Then as the lab results come in, just pile more counts on piece by piece.

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