Originally created 03/06/03

Slaying suspect surrenders

A Columbia County man wanted in the brutal beating death of an Augusta man surrendered today to police, and authorities were holding two others in the crime.

Jeffery Lee Huckabee, 20, met Columbia County authorities about 11 a.m. at the Enmark station on Bobby Jones Expressway, said Columbia County Sheriff's Capt. Steve Morris. He was later transferred to Richmond County and charged with murder in connection with the death of 26-year-old Anthony Scott Nattinger.

The victim was discovered by police about 8:20 p.m. Tuesday at St. Barts Condominiums off Wheeler Road. Deputy Coroner Mark Bowen said Mr. Nattinger died of blunt force trauma to the head and had several skull fractures.

Richmond County authorities were holding a second man and a woman in the death while they seek murder warrants against them, sheriff's Maj. Ken Autry said. Also, investigators expect to arrest several others who were involved after the killing, the major said.

The victim was friends with the suspects, he said. Robbery appears to be the motive.

"They took some items out of his home, including some electronic equipment," he said.

Mr. Huckabee is accused of causing the injuries that killed Mr. Nattinger. Authorities found an item in the victim's home they believe is the murder weapon, but Maj. Autry would not say what the item is.

"The crime lab has to tell us if it fits the bruises," he said.

The victim's stolen 1994 Ford Explorer was found early today in a field off Settlement Road in Martinez, not far from where the suspect was believed to be staying. Police say they suspect Mr. Huckabee took the vehicle.

Police say Mr. Huckabee has been staying with different friends over the past few weeks after moving out of his parents' home.

Reach Jason B. Smith and Greg Rickabaugh at (706) 724-0851.


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