Originally created 12/15/04

Ex-deputy is charged in supervisor's death



ATHENS, Ga. - A former Clarke County sheriff's deputy has been indicted on murder and related charges in the shooting death last month of an Athens poultry processing plant supervisor.

Nathaniel Brittian, 52, of the 300 block of East Meadow Drive, was indicted by a Clarke County Superior Court grand jury on charges of felony murder, malice murder, aggravated assault and three counts of possession of a firearm during the commission of a crime.

An arraignment date had not been set Monday.

On Nov. 29, two weeks before the indictment, Mr. Brittian's defense attorney filed a motion requesting a bond hearing, stating his client was not a flight risk, had significant community ties, posed no danger to society and had no prior criminal history.

"If you were to ask any of his co-workers, at least the ones I've spoken to so far, they would say he was a fine person and were shocked by the charges," said Mr. Brittian's attorney, John Donnelly of the Western Judicial Circuit Public Defender's Office.

Mr. Brittian remains at the Clarke County Jail without bond, and a hearing on the bond motion is scheduled for Thursday.

Mr. Brittian had worked as a deputy for the sheriff's office from Sept. 1, 1988, to Aug. 7, 1990, according to Chief Deputy Sheriff Gene Mays, who would not say whether he was fired or quit.

According to police, on the morning of Nov. 2, Mr. Brittian entered the Pilgrim's Pride Corp. office of 52-year-old Christopher McDuffie and instantly killed his supervisor with at least seven shots from a 9 mm handgun.

Mr. Brittian was seen leaving the office at the Barber Street plant with a bulge in his pants pocket. When a plant manager found him, Mr. Brittian took out the gun, removed its ammunition clip and cleared a round from the chamber before handing the weapon to another employee. Shortly afterward, he was taken into custody without a struggle by sheriff's deputies who happened to be in the area, according to police.

Mr. Brittian has made statements about the shooting while in custody, but police are not saying what they were.