An Alabama man who fled from police several weeks ago trying to avoid arrest on a theft charge is accused of shooting and killing a Chattooga County, Ga., man Tuesday night.
Justin Long, of Cedar Bluff, Ala., was charged with murder Wednesday after John England III died from his wounds at a hospital in Rome, Ga., authorities said.
The men, who were acquaintances, had gotten into a heated argument when police believe Long pulled out a handgun and shot England, Chattooga County Sheriff Mark Schrader said.
Long then left the house on Oneil Road where he had been staying with a female friend, Schrader said, and tried to hitch a ride with a stranger. Long told the driver he needed to get to a gas station because his four-wheeler ran out of fuel, according to the sheriff.
When Long jumped into the vehicle he slid the gun he was carrying under a blanket or jacket under the seat, Schrader said. But officers stopped him at a roadblock, found the gun inside the car and took Long to the sheriff's office for questioning.
Police discovered that Long was wanted on a felony theft warrant in Cherokee County, Ala., and they believe he went to stay with a friend in Trion, Ga., to avoid arrest.
Record show England, 41, has been in and out of prison for the past 20 years.
He had been released from prison in September 2012 after he was sentenced to 30 years for owning a firearm as a convicted felon and theft charges in both Chattooga and Walker counties. Over the years, he was charged with possessing meth, theft by receiving stolen property and owning a firearm as a convicted felon, records show. His earliest arrest was in 1989.
Funeral arrangements for England were incomplete late Wednesday.
Joy Lukachick Smith is the city government reporter for the Chattanooga Times Free Press. Since 2009, she's covered crime and court systems in North Georgia and rural Tennessee, landed an exclusive in-prison interview with a former cop convicted of killing his wife, exposed impropriety in an FBI-led, child-sex online sting and exposed corruption in government agencies. Earlier this year, Smith won the Malcolm Law Memorial Award for Investigative Reporting. She also won first place in ...