14-year-old accused of killing stepsister

  • Follow Metro

Richmond County authorities arrested a 14-year-old accused of fatally shooting his stepsister in the head at least 10 times as she slept Friday afternoon.

Back | Next
Whitehead  RCSO
RCSO
Whitehead

Eric Lee Phillips Whitehead was charged with murder and one count of a firearm during the commission of a crime, Richmond County sheriff's Lt. Scott Peebles said.

Police believe Mr. Whitehead shot 22-year-old Patricia Leigh Troglen with a 22-caliber rifle as she slept on a couch at her home in the 5000 block of Neely Road. Ms. Troglen's stepmother found her body at the home about 3 p.m. Friday. She was pronounced dead at 4 p.m.

Mr. Whitehead had been temporarily staying at the home of his stepfather, Ms. Troglen's father, but he had been floating between different homes, Lt. Peebles said.

"He had lived a lot of his teen years from place to place," he said. "He would be in between getting in trouble and running away."

Deputies determined that Mr. Whitehead was the last person with Ms. Troglen before her death. Investigators for Richmond and Columbia counties began a search for the 14-year-old. Columbia County sheriff's deputies eventually found him at a friend's home.

Authorities also found Ms. Troglen's vehicle abandoned at a Raceway convenience store on Gordon Highway near Bobby Jones Expressway. Police believe Mr. Whitehead is connected to the theft.

Mr. Whitehead confessed to investigators that he had a dream about him and Ms. Troglen arguing Friday, Lt. Peebles said. He awoke Friday afternoon enraged by the dream, which, he said, led him to take a rifle out of his stepfather's room.

"They had not had any problems before," Lt. Peebles said. "He pretty much considered her to be his best friend."

Police will charge Mr. Whitehead as an adult. There are no other suspects. Ms. Troglen's body will be taken to the GBI Crime Lab in Augusta for an autopsy this morning.

Mr. Whitehead is being held at the Richmond County Regional Youth Development Center.

Reach Stephanie Toone at (706) 823-3215 or stephanie.toone@augustachronicle.com.

Comments (91) Add comment
ADVISORY: Users are solely responsible for opinions they post here and for following agreed-upon rules of civility. Posts and comments do not reflect the views of this site. Posts and comments are automatically checked for inappropriate language, but readers might find some comments offensive or inaccurate. If you believe a comment violates our rules, click the "Flag as offensive" link below the comment.
humbleopinion
0
Points
humbleopinion 08/08/09 - 11:17 pm
0
0
Justus4, why don't you move

Justus4, why don't you move to Chicago where they have some of the toughest gun laws in the country, thanks to your hero. They also have some of the highest crime rates as well. There is NO connection between tough gun laws and crimes. Will you ever stop being such an idiot?

Javital
0
Points
Javital 08/09/09 - 05:39 am
0
0
This so sad!!! This child

This so sad!!! This child needs a big hug!!! I hope he can over come what he has done and turn his life around for the better while he's in jail... My prayers go out to the family.

1941
4
Points
1941 08/09/09 - 06:15 am
0
0
I can not belive that all of

I can not belive that all of a sudden, you people do not want to talk about race, on this story!!! When a black do anything the first fifty comments, has to do with thier race!! Now because it is a white kid, you do not want to inject race. You can;t have it both ways. It was a white on white crime!! Call it what it was!!!

The Ode
2
Points
The Ode 08/09/09 - 07:37 am
0
0
Something sure has all the

Something sure has all the negro racists fired up this weekend.

da-realist
8
Points
da-realist 08/09/09 - 09:20 am
0
0
sad, a waste of two lives. I

sad, a waste of two lives. I work around juvenile delinquents and its sad to see our youth locked up in this manner. YDC is full of the same. I was going to my car to go home for the evening and a parent pulled up and asked me what building was the augusta ydc, she said she had a son locked up for three years. She didnt even know where he was located, had never been to see him. REALLY SAD!

colcamp1
10
Points
colcamp1 08/09/09 - 10:20 am
0
0
What is his community going

What is his community going to do about this? Probably a meth head for a mother and father. 1941 I know your supposably shock is all sarcasm. By now every one know that there are two reactions based on who the suspect and victim are.

dawgfan
0
Points
dawgfan 08/09/09 - 10:51 am
0
0
This kid had no stable home

This kid had no stable home life and parents that did not guide this boy to right path you see this all the time no matter what color

mafferkatz
0
Points
mafferkatz 08/09/09 - 11:53 am
0
0
Before jumping to conclusions

Before jumping to conclusions & making assumptions get facts. I know this boy & his family. They went to my church. His mother & stepdad had long since been divorced. But because of a wonderful loving christian heart this man & his current wife took in this troubled teen & tried to raise him as if he were their own child. This man loved this boy & was doing everything he could to help him have a better life. Eric had psychiatric problems but was a very loving boy & helped at childrens church on Sundays. This is a devastating blow to this family & a shock to our church & community. So in the spirit of compassion I ask that critical assumptions be stopped so that this family can grieve w/o the uninformed public making it worse on them than it already is. They have lost 2 children. Is that not enough suffering for them to endure?

Interested Reader
0
Points
Interested Reader 08/09/09 - 01:42 pm
0
0
KSL, please understand me

KSL, please understand me well to say that I do not excuse the parents! This child's problems started a long time before he killed his stepsister, Yes, I agree with you. The parents are a definate factor in this cace. They were either in denial or they just ignored his behavior.

opinionated princess
0
Points
opinionated princess 08/09/09 - 03:40 pm
0
0
"mental illness"? wow, i

"mental illness"? wow, i guess anyone can do anything and just use that as the excuse. this is a disgusting act and that child needs to serve time! even if it was mental illness the article clearly states that he continued to run away from home and get in trouble and was moved from home to home. those are clear signs, and the parents should have intervened a long time ago. it is clear that no one did.

GnipGnop1
2
Points
GnipGnop1 08/09/09 - 07:43 pm
0
0
How do you know his parents

How do you know his parents did nothing? Do you live in their home? Sometimes you do all you can and things still turn out bad. It's a good thing we don't hold every parent responsible when kids do bad things. There wouldn't be many parents in the free world.

atracyphd
0
Points
atracyphd 08/09/09 - 08:20 pm
0
0
All of you who are friends of

All of you who are friends of this family PLEASE get this infromation to the family. I am an expert witness in cases like this. What you have witnessed is what is called a REM Sleep Behavior Disorder. It is a disorder in which you act out nightmares. Of those being diagnosed with this disorder 86% are taking an antidepressant.

Antidepressants cause extremely violent nightmares and then sleepwalk thus allowing a patient to act out what they are dreaming. One young woman on Zoloft I helped several years ago told me an experience after I warned her that violent nightmares were the most dangerous sign of a serious reaction from an antidepressant.

She said the vivid dreams had already started. She had just had a dream that her cat was crawling along the edge of the bed but when she woke up she learned it was HER crawling along the edge of the bed, not the cat! She got the message and gradually weaned off her Zoloft.

The family can learn more about this on our website at drugawareness.org and even more in my book on these drugs. The world needs to wake up to this nightmare because they are everywhere with the widespread use of antidepressants!!!!

Dr. Ann Blake-Tracy

prayinchrist
0
Points
prayinchrist 08/09/09 - 08:57 pm
0
0
I just so happen to know this

I just so happen to know this kidd and he is not usually like this and is not a bad kidd . His family and friends are very devistated right now and all of your negative comments dont help , yeah if you do the crime you do the time, but who are you to quickly judge him and not even know this kidd ? There was no school in on the friday of this incedent because columbia county schools are not in until august 10th , thank you very much! We all just need to pray and let the lord do his work. As far as everyone know's there is probably more to the story than what it says . Everyone who knows Eric , including me will miss him very much!

mafferkatz
0
Points
mafferkatz 08/09/09 - 10:14 pm
0
0
Thank you 'prayinchrist'! The

Thank you 'prayinchrist'! The young man I know was a sweet boy who did not quite function at a 14 yo level. His Stepdad who was trying to raise him with his wife were trying their best to bring some level of normalcy to Eric's life & give him a loving CHRISTIAN home to be safe in. There were NOT drug or alcohol issues in this home, the adults in the home are NOT to blame, the victim is NOT to blame & this boy with psychiatric problems is NOT completely responsible for his actions. This family's Church and community are standing behind them and praying for them all, Eric included. We love them ALL.

proud2bamerican
441
Points
proud2bamerican 08/10/09 - 06:42 am
0
0
WHERE are the parents? If

WHERE are the parents? If this 14 y/o has been living around why aren't the parents being held in negligence and also responsible for this tragedy?? Where is the parent who was supposed to see that he was in school? If we held parents accountable for the kids they bring into the world we would have a lot less issues with the kids. As well, does anyone ever consider any more the type of incredibly violent and dysfunctional shows kids are watching hour by hour on television? Why doesn't anyone care about the influences we allow any more?? Wake up and DO something besides talk and/or complain!

proud2bamerican
441
Points
proud2bamerican 08/10/09 - 06:44 am
0
0
WHERE are the parents? If

WHERE are the parents? If this 14 y/o has been living around why aren't the parents being held in negligence and also responsible for this tragedy?? Try as they may, if the boy had problems, why was there easy access to a weapon along with ammunition in the house?? Is that "trying"??

smec29
31
Points
smec29 08/10/09 - 08:16 am
0
0
proud2banamerican, read the

proud2banamerican, read the posts above yours to answer your own stupid questions

mable8
2
Points
mable8 08/10/09 - 09:02 am
0
0
Instead of placing blame on

Instead of placing blame on others for an individual act, the story speaks volumes about what society is all about these days. No one wants to be held accountable for their own actions; it is either this groups fault or the other, it is because of family deterioration, it is because of drugs, alcohol, or some other platitude. Perhaps when individuals are held accountable for their personal acts, then society might be able to heal the wounds it has inflicted upon itself and we won't hear of so many stories of this type.

corgimom
36811
Points
corgimom 08/10/09 - 10:30 am
0
0
We don't have to worry, Ann

We don't have to worry, Ann Blake-Tracy can diagnose this kid by reading a newspaper story- and put in a plug for her website and book at the same time. What an unethical, unprofessional thing to do.

xpresso1
68
Points
xpresso1 08/10/09 - 12:16 pm
0
0
Its amazing to read some of

Its amazing to read some of these posts. I just wonder if people would be so quick to judge if this happened in your family. This is a horrific tragedy. This family has to be devasted no matter the circumstances surrounding why. I do feel he needs to answer for his crime, but do we lock this child away without trying to help him? I just pray that God intervenes with this family and gives them the peace and comfort that they need.

mafferkatz
0
Points
mafferkatz 08/10/09 - 03:17 pm
0
0
Some of you brilliant

Some of you brilliant compassionate & ubiquitious bloggers truly amaze me! So quick to point a finger, jump to conclusions, malign people you don't know, condemn a mentally challanged youth, make accusations about a greiving family, what's next? Picking on the handicapped, elderly, braindamaged? Oh better yet, verbally attack babies!!! They cry & soil themselves! Man get lives!!!!!You sicken me!

prayinchrist
0
Points
prayinchrist 08/10/09 - 06:49 pm
0
0
Thank you too "mafferkatz" .

Thank you too "mafferkatz" . At least your one to understand what i mean and im guessing you know him to and he is a very good kidd and has never thought of doing something like this before . He is a great kidd and just happened to do this devistating thing and may not have realized what he was doing ..maybe he did , maybe he didnt , the real story is that he is a good kidd and not usually like this and negative comments should stop because all your doing is making it worse and accusing before you get to know the real story .. His parents tried to work together and do what is best for him and all of YOU people who are making negative comments are making it harder . Imagine this was your kidd or a family member !! There is NO DRUGS NOR ALCOHOL to blame for the incedent . The parents are NOT to blame either nor the phsyciatric illness nor the victim !So , Stop jumping to conclusions , Think about what your saying and stop pointing fingures and blaming people with nothing to blame about them ! Your just wasting your time if all you have is negativity to say . WE - His family , Friends , Church members , And people who know him ALL STAND BEHIND HIM FOREVER ; WE LOVE && MISS YOU ERIC !

merlin
0
Points
merlin 08/13/09 - 09:37 am
0
0
The lady is trying to help,

The lady is trying to help, not advertise her book. I guess it's not okay these days to try to help someone understand maybe why something happened. Everyone wants to judge and be negative.

corgimom
36811
Points
corgimom 08/13/09 - 06:58 pm
0
0
In my book, good kids don't

In my book, good kids don't slaughter people while they are asleep. And "What you have witnessed is what is called a REM Sleep Behavior Disorder"- really? And how convenient that she has a book about it. How would she know what he has? Ethical psychologists would NEVER diagnose anyone based on a newspaper story.

corgimom
36811
Points
corgimom 08/13/09 - 07:03 pm
0
0
I stand corrected. She is NOT

I stand corrected. She is NOT a psychologist, that's how she gets away with this unethical behavior.

KSL
140451
Points
KSL 08/13/09 - 10:26 pm
0
0
mafferkatz, after a point

mafferkatz, after a point there are way too many loving, kind, and intellectual excuses made. Sorry. Prayinchrist, this is not the way human beings act. What on earth is your justification for this behaivor? What on earth could it be? If he was that mentally challenged, why was he unsupervised?

KSL
140451
Points
KSL 08/13/09 - 10:28 pm
0
0
This kid was an undiagnosed

This kid was an undiagnosed animal who needed to be under a whole lot more supervision by someone. If you don't agree with me, explain it to the dead step sister.

KSL
140451
Points
KSL 08/13/09 - 10:34 pm
0
0
mafferkatz, if what you say

mafferkatz, if what you say is true, we should be picking on someone else in the family. One way or another, there are people who are responsible for this.

KSL
140451
Points
KSL 08/13/09 - 10:36 pm
0
0
Somebody is responsible for a

Somebody is responsible for a kid this age killing someone in cold blood. mafferkatz, who is it?

disssman
6
Points
disssman 08/14/09 - 06:01 am
0
0
All I can say is this type of

All I can say is this type of stuff didn't happen years ago in my youth. And the reason it didn't happen was a thing called "the electric chair" which we have abolished because it isn't proper to make a murderer suffer for what they do to victims. I am sure people back then thought long and hard before they pulled the trigger. The thought that your body would catch on fire or that you would deficate in front of people was a real deterent. Now we just tell the perp to please lay down and this won't hurt at all. In fact if the perp has an illness, we have to get them well before we administe the punishment. What a country of bleeding hearts we have become.

Back to Top

Search Augusta jobs