No motive yet in Thomas Co. murder -, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

No motive yet in Thomas Co. murder

By LeiLani Golden - bio | email

THOMAS COUNTY, GA (WALB) – The motive is still unclear in the shooting death of a Thomas County man Thursday.

39-year old John Mark Morris was shot to death outside his home yesterday afternoon. One of his relatives is charged with murder, but authorities aren't talking about what led to the shooting.

72-year old Byron Griner who is somehow related to Morris is charged with aggravated assault and murder. This is the second incident of domestic violence ending in murder this year in Thomasville.

Just after 2:00 PM Thursday afternoon, a call to 911 came in about a shooting on Stewart Road in Thomas County.

"Deputies and EMS responded, found a white male on the ground with a gunshot wound to the chest. He was transported to Archbold Medical and died at the hospital," explains Thomas County spokesperson Lt. Steve Jones.

The suspect, 72-year old Byron Griner, and the victim, John Morris, are related.

"There is a relation but we're not positive on what kind at this time."

Authorities say there are no witnesses at this time, but the call to 911 could prove otherwise.

"That hasn't been released where the call actually came from and they're still looking at all of that," Lt. Jones clarified.

Some people speculate that a fight broke out between Griner and Morris. But authorities can't say for sure what led to the fatal shooting.

"That's why they're still out there looking at the scene, working the scene."

Griner is now in custody but some residents are still disturbed by the recent violence in their county.

"The family violence is a lot worse to me than the street violence," says Thomasville resident Charles Barnett.

Barnet and his family moved to Thomasville five year ago.

"That's why we moved to Thomasville, because it's always been low crime, nice town. But it worries me now."

He worries about what people may do to strangers if they are capable of harming their own family.

"The only safe place to bring them is the park because it's mostly, well, family. But I guess that's changed and you have to worry about the park, too. You never know if someone is having a bad day."

Bad day or not, Griner must now face a charge of felony murder.


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