Man is charged in death

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Police have arrested and charged an Appling man in Columbia County's first homicide in two years.

George Anthony Reid, 40, is charged with murder, possession of a firearm during the commission of a crime and theft by taking a motor vehicle in Saturday's shooting death of Thomas Tankersley, 45, of Appling, according to Columbia County sheriff's Capt. Steve Morris.

Mr. Reid, six other men and a woman were arrested in the case, and all except Mr. Reid were released without charges late Saturday night, Capt. Morris said.

"As it stands today they do not face charges surrounding this incident, but they were questioned based on their association with Mr. Reid and/or with the vehicle that was stolen," Capt. Morris said.

Richmond County authorities found them with Mr. Tankersley's cream-colored 2002 Sienna van Saturday, Capt. Morris said. The vehicle was involved in two Richmond County traffic stops before the body was found.

One of the stops occurred on Broad Street late Friday evening. The other happened early Saturday on Watkins Street. No information on the nature of the stops was available Sunday.

Capt. Morris said the motive behind Mr. Tankersley's slaying is still unclear, but he said police have their suspicions.

Authorities think Mr. Tankersley died eight to 10 hours before his wife, Stephanie Tankersley, told police she found him dead of a gunshot wound to the head at his home on Cobbham Road on Saturday afternoon.

An autopsy is scheduled Tuesday.

Mr. Reid is being held at the Columbia County Detention Center without bond.

Reach Adam Folk at (706) 823-3339 or

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