Man arrested on gun charge after woman is fatally shot

THOMSON --- It was supposed to be a fun-filled weekend for Shirley Hunt and her family -- one spent celebrating the birthday of a loved one in Charlotte, N.C.

Instead, family and close friends are planning funeral services for the 53-year-old Ms. Hunt, who was shot to death inside her single-wide mobile home near Dearing on Thursday night.

"Me and my little boy and other family were going to drive up Saturday and be with them and visit my sister," said Ms. Hunt's boyfriend, Melvin Floyd, of Thomson. "I lost my wife awhile back and now this ..."

As of Friday, law enforcement authorities had not charged anyone in Ms. Hunt's shooting death, according to a news release issued by Gary Nicholson, the special agent in-charge of the Georgia Bureau of Investigation Region 7 Office in Thomson.

Ms. Hunt was shot "several times," Mr. Nicholson said. She was taken to the emergency room of McDuffie Regional Medical Center where she died a short time after arriving.

Shortly after the shooting, authorities said they were looking for Dennis Clemons, 63, of the 400 block of First Street in Thomson, in connection with the slaying.

Mr. Clemons was arrested about 1 a.m. Friday by members of the Richmond County sheriff's SWAT team, said McDuffie County Sheriff Logan Marshall. He was taken to the GBI office, where he was questioned for several hours.

Pat Morgan, the assistant agent in-charge of the local GBI office, said Mr. Clemons was charged with possession of a firearm by a convicted felon early Friday.

"We're still interviewing people and still involved in other aspects of the investigation at this time," Agent Morgan said.

Mr. Clemons was found guilty of voluntary manslaughter after a trial in McDuffie County Superior Court in the mid-1970s, according to court records reviewed Friday by The McDuffie Mirror .

He was convicted in the fatal shooting of 22-year-old Connell Moss on March 23, 1975, at the Side of Ice House Cafe in Thomson.

He was sentenced to 15 years in prison. An amendment to the sentence was made by Superior Court Chief Judge Robert L. Stevens on March 27, 1978, which allowed Mr. Clemons, after serving three years, to serve the remainder of his sentence on probation.

He became a trustee and was the chief cook at the McDuffie County jail.

After serving his time, Mr. Clemons became a full-time employee and was assigned to oversee maintenance at the jail. He later retired, said McDuffie County sheriff's Maj. Ronnie Williamson.