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Thomson man, 79, found slain in driveway

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THOMSON - Local and state authorities are investigating another killing in McDuffie County - the second within two weeks.

The latest victim is 79-year-old Pate Morris, a retired farmer and fiddle player in a local bluegrass band, a family member told reporters Tuesday night.

McDuffie County Coroner Rhusha Mack pronounced Morris dead at the scene. An autopsy was expected to be performed to determine the exact cause of his death at the Georgia Bureau of Investigation Crime Lab in Augusta on Wednesday.

Morris' body was discovered on his driveway, according to Mike Ayers, special agent in charge of the GBI Region 7 Office in Thomson. The body was seen behind a parked car about 2:20 p.m. Tuesday, Ayers said.

Authorities remained tight-lipped about the case, but did confirm that they are working a homicide. It marks the second time in two weeks that a McDuffie County man has been slain. The other case reportedly has been solved.

Ayers, whose office is assisting the McDuffie County Sheriff's Department with the investigation, announced Tuesday night that a reward is being offered for information leading to the arrest and conviction of whoever is responsible for the death of Morris.

The victim lived at 573 Whiteoak Campground Road near the intersection with Stagecoach Road.

"This is a serious, serious homicide investigation," Ayers said. "This one is going to be tough."

Ayers declined to discuss the case in detail, but said he is hopeful the reward money might provide the kind of information needed to solve the case. He refused to say if Morris had been shot to death, stabbed or beaten.

"We don't want to release that sort of information at this time," Ayers said.

A host of GBI agents combed an area around where Morris' Oldsmobile car was left parked in his driveway. The driver-side door had been left open.

GBI Crime Scene Specialist Steve Foster and Pat Morgan, assistant special agent in charge of the local GBI office were seen using a rake to sift through leaves around Morris' mailbox.

Other GBI agents on the scene included Tony Williamson, Woody Boyd and Joe Brown. The sheriff's department was represented by Maj. Ronnie Williamson, Investigator Larry Adaway, Sgt.1st Class Mike Hobbs, Deputy Marc Thompson and Deputy Jared Land.

Anyone with information that might be helpful to authorities is asked to contact the GBI at (706) 595-2575 or the sheriff's department at (706) 595-2040.

Reach Billy W. Hobbs at billy.hobbs@morris.com.

Comments (20) Add comment
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Doyougetitnow
4
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Doyougetitnow 11/17/10 - 06:57 am
0
0
It makes no sense at all for

It makes no sense at all for someone to harm this elderly man. He was well known in counties around here. I heard his name hundreds of times in my years. What a sad day when we wake up to read of criminals who will stop at nothing. My prayers to all his family and friends. GBI, get these guys. You've proved many times you can do it. Mr. Pate Morris will be playing his bluegrass in Heaven.

augusta citizen
9330
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augusta citizen 11/17/10 - 07:26 am
0
0
This is so sad, it reads as

This is so sad, it reads as if he was killed in broad daylight in his own driveway. What is this world coming to? Prayers to his family.

sassy
0
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sassy 11/17/10 - 08:09 am
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My heart aches, Mr. Pate was

My heart aches, Mr. Pate was one of the sweetest persons on earth. He was as humble as anyone ever knew. He worked hard all his life. His family was well thought off and were always the first to help anyone that needed their help and this is the thanks he gets. Society is sick. Yes he is playing beautiful in heaven.

Truth Be Told In Bold
0
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Truth Be Told In Bold 11/17/10 - 08:12 am
0
0
Over the years, I have also

Over the years, I have also heard Pate Morris' name repeatedly in reference to the blue grass band, and saw him perform a time or two in younger years. I cannot envision what he would have done to draw the ire of his killer. Hopefully, police will soon round up the killer among us. Prayers to the family and friends of Pate Morris.

mjoe5
4
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mjoe5 11/17/10 - 08:54 am
0
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Hearing this sure makes you

Hearing this sure makes you sick. Especially knowing that this man was always helping those in need...probably even the killer at some point in his/her life. Life is nothing to thugs.

seenitB4
87116
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seenitB4 11/17/10 - 09:14 am
0
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Be on alert while out

Be on alert while out shopping....some are stalking shoppers with big ticket items & following them home & robbing them.....don't know anything about this case.....but the driver door open does make you wonder.

jk41381
0
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jk41381 11/17/10 - 09:29 am
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I live about a 1/2 mile from

I live about a 1/2 mile from where this took place and I rode by. To me it did seem he must have arrived home from somewhere and got out and went to his mailbox and obviously he must of been approached around that time because they spent some time collecting evidence around the mailbox and he was lying on his driveway not far at all from the road. The interstate is really close so maybe someone from there or even some sort of drive by. It scares me to know that they seem to know very little at this time. That killer could be anywhere. I just hope they find the killer and do to them what they did to this man.

countyman
20120
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countyman 11/17/10 - 10:06 am
0
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This happen outside of

This happen outside of Appling right near the Columbia/Mcduffie line...

sassy
0
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sassy 11/17/10 - 10:49 am
0
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Across I-20 overpass, very

Across I-20 overpass, very close to White Oak Campground

stillamazed
1488
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stillamazed 11/17/10 - 11:00 am
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Very sad that a person works

Very sad that a person works hard all his life, lives to be his age and then is murdered in his own driveway. I do pray for this family and pray that this case is solved quickly. There is no respect for human life anymore.

Many Arrows
-1
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Many Arrows 11/17/10 - 11:28 am
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These things are going to get

These things are going to get worse - a LOT worse.

Everyone should be prepared to defend themselves against desperate people.

rmwhitley
5547
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rmwhitley 11/17/10 - 12:21 pm
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Atlanta type activity in
Unpublished

Atlanta type activity in McDuffie county. God bless Mr. Morris's soul.

AutumnLeaves
7696
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AutumnLeaves 11/17/10 - 12:31 pm
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I have a friend from years

I have a friend from years back that lives on White Oak Campground Road near there. I had hoped crime wouldn't come close to their family out there. That's close, too close. EVERYONE ANYWHERE needs to be more aware and conscious of personal and family security.

CATFISHSTEW
14
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CATFISHSTEW 11/17/10 - 12:32 pm
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Countyman the wheels are

Countyman the wheels are turning...no stats please.We don't need or won't your stats today.

AutumnLeaves
7696
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AutumnLeaves 11/17/10 - 12:33 pm
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Even though I didn't know

Even though I didn't know this man, I grieve for him and his family enough to know this unjust loss of life affects us all. God rest his soul.

JENNPAT
241
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JENNPAT 11/17/10 - 04:02 pm
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0
This is really sad it's bad

This is really sad it's bad when someone guns down and old man.I sure hope they find out who done and will burn them good It seems as if you aren't safe anywhere any more not even in the country.My heat goes out to his family.May he rest in pease

GospHellPreacher
0
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GospHellPreacher 11/17/10 - 08:27 pm
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Does anyone know WHAT

Does anyone know WHAT bluegrass band he played w/? The name sounds sooooo familiar!

humbleopinion
0
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humbleopinion 11/17/10 - 09:20 pm
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Catfish, the word is WANT,

Catfish, the word is WANT, not won't. Jennpat, do you know something that the rest of us don't? The story was very specific in saying that the GBI is NOT disclosing if he was shot, stabbed or beaten to death......
However he was murdered, it is a sad day indeed. My prayers are with his family and friends for strength during this sad time.

humbleopinion
0
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humbleopinion 11/17/10 - 09:22 pm
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As for Countyman, you can

As for Countyman, you can quote statistics anytime you want to. Stats do not lie. Well, they are accurate 87.6% of the time

augusta citizen
9330
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augusta citizen 11/17/10 - 11:07 pm
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Humbleopinion, WRDW's report

Humbleopinion, WRDW's report states that he was shot, a real tragedy.

Truth Be Told In Bold
0
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Truth Be Told In Bold 11/18/10 - 01:55 pm
0
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With all the media outlets in

With all the media outlets in the CSRA, there are varying levels of information on this crime swirling about. One must be adept at knowing how to check many sources to get a decently well-rounded story of what the press is reporting.

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