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Deborah Wilkins

SUMMERVILLE, Ga. -- The murder trial of Deborah Elaine Wilkins, the Chattooga County woman accused of killing her violent boyfriend, is scheduled to begin in three weeks.

Lookout Mountain Judicial Circuit District Attorney Herbert "Buzz" Franklin said Wilkins' trial should start the week of Feb. 23. She faces a murder charge in the killing of 63-year-old William Robert Packer last June.

Wilkins' attorney, public defender David Dunn, said he plans for the case to happen that week. But it still could be pushed back for "any number of reasons," he said.

According to an incident report, Wilkins called Chattooga County Chief Deputy Kevin Woods on a Saturday afternoon. She seemed drunk. While she was on the phone, other deputies drove to Packer's home, located at 2646 John Jones Road.

They were familiar with the place. Deputies had responded there in the past for threatened shootings, near misses and a killing before. When they arrived this time, they called for Packer to come outside.

Instead, Wilkins met them. She struggled to string words together but managed to say that she was the only one home. The deputies didn't believe her and walked inside, where they found Packer face down on the living room floor. His body was stiff, and bullet holes marked his back.

When deputies brought Wilkins in for questioning, according to an incident report, she provided disjointed information.

She said Packer threatened to get rid of her because "she knew too much." Then she said "blacks did it." Then she said this was all because somebody was stealing Packer blind.

Then she told deputies another person knew Packer had to die. Then she said methamphetamine was bad. Then she said she should have just dumped the body instead of calling the sheriff's office.

Sheriff Mark Schrader said she eventually confessed to killing Packer and drove Georgia Bureau of Investigation Special Agent Joe Montgomery to a pond where she said she had thrown away her gun. Sheriff's investigators found the weapon in the pond later that month.

Before his death, court records show, Packer lived a violent life. In May 2007, Packer fired shots at his then-wife while she sat on the couch, almost hitting her feet. In April 2010, he pressed a Colt .45 against Wilkins' head while she lay in bed.

Packer accused Wilkins of eating his food, drinking his Coca-Colas and sleeping with other men.

"I was laying in bed trying to sleep," Wilkins told the sheriff's office in a written statement at the time. "He was coming in the room, saying he was going to ---- me up."

In October 2010, Packer killed his friend, James Kirby. He claimed self-defense, saying that Kirby tried to stab him to death when Packer accused Kirby of theft. Two juries in two trials acquitted Packer of murder.

Contact staff writer Tyler Jett at tjett@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6476.

From the future, March 4, 2015:

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