Man is considered for parole

Special
Nathan Brown took part in the kidnapping and murder of two people in July 1976.

A former Augusta man who took part in a child's kidnapping and murder in Taliaferro County more than three decades ago is being considered for parole.

Nathan Brown, 50, wasn't supposed to be up for possible release from prison until 2012, but the Georgia Board of Pardons and Paroles can consider an inmate for parole at any time.

The mother and family of 11-year-old Bonnie Bulloch say the pain is unbearable each time Mr. Brown comes up for consideration.

"The pain is just as bad (as when it happened). It brings it all back," said Hazel Phillips.

Bonnie was keeping his stepfather company at Henry Phillips' Crawfordville gas station the night of July 26, 1976, when three men entered.

Mr. Brown, Jose High and Judson Ruffin robbed the station and kidnapped Bonnie and Mr. Phillips. They drove the victims to a remote spot in Taliaferro County, put both face down on the road and shot them.

Mr. Phillips survived a gunshot wound to the head and helped law enforcement with information that lead to the arrests of the three killers.

Before their arrests, however, Richmond County detectives believed the three suspects and a fourth man, Alphonso Morgan, continued a violent crime spree of murder, rape and robbery in Augusta.

On Aug. 20, 1976, Willean Hall, 36, and Leroy Linwood, 30, were attacked near Bush Field. Their bodies were found in the Savannah River.

According to Augusta Chronicle accounts, Mr. High, Mr. Morgan and Mr. Brown were indicted in connection with Ms. Hall's and Mr. Linwood's slayings.

The men were also accused of the Aug. 22, 1976, killing of John C. Gray, 54.

Mr. Morgan was the only suspect tried for any of the Richmond County slayings. He was convicted and sentenced to death for Mr. Gray's murder, but his death sentence was reversed on appeal. He is serving life in prison.

Mr. High, Mr. Ruffin and Mr. Brown were convicted in Taliaferro County and sentenced to death for Bonnie's murder.

Death sentences for Mr. Ruffin and Mr. Brown were reversed on appeal, and they were resentenced to life in prison.

Mr. High was executed Nov. 6, 2001, for Bonnie's murder. He was 43 years old.

Mrs. Phillips said her worries about Mr. High's ability to harm another child ended that night, but she said she has to worry about Mr. Ruffin and Mr. Brown.

"We've never been allow to mourn our son's death and start to heal," she said.

Every time the pain seems to lessen to an almost bearable level, there's another notice of possible parole, she said.

"Your mind becomes consumed with 'How can I keep this man in jail?'" she said.

"I don't know if I'm strong enough to fight this time."

Mrs. Phillips and her family, and any survivors and family members of the Richmond County victims may contact the parole board to express an opinion.

The board accepts letters of support or opposition from anyone and is especially open to hear from victims.

The parole board will keep those interested informed of any upcoming considerations, said Scheree Lipscomb, the board's public information officer.

Once registered, the board will always keep someone posted, as long as he or she updates the board about any change in address, Ms. Lipscomb said.

Mrs. Phillips was notified by the board of Mr. Brown's new parole consideration and said the board requested any input by Sept 19.

Reach Sandy Hodson at (706) 823-3226 or sandy.hodson@augustachronicle.com.

INPUT ON PAROLE

To contact the State Board of Pardons and Paroles to voice an opinion about an inmate's possible parole and to register for notification of pending consideration, send an e-mail to VictimServices@pap.state.ga.us; or send a letter to Victim Services Office, State Board of Pardons and Paroles, 2 Martin Luther King Jr. Drive SE, Suite 458 East Tower, Atlanta, GA 30334.