Family of murder victim tours crime scene for answers -, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Family of murder victim tours crime scene for answers

By LeiLani Golden - bio | email

THOMAS COUNTY, GA (WALB) – A Thomas County man is charged with murdering his nephew. But investigators still don't have a clear motive.

72 year old Byron Griner is in the Thomas County jail on felony murder charges.

But authorities are now saying that there may have been a shootout between Griner and the victim, 39 year old John Mark Morris.

Caught in the middle is a family that just wants some answers.

Questions still remain about why a man would shoot and kill his nephew.

"We tried to walk them through it and let them see what we had seen out here when we initially came out here on the scene," says Thomas County Sheriff Carlton Powell.

Sheriff Powell tried to provide answers for the families of both the victim, 39 year old John Mark Morris, and the suspect, 72 year old Byron Griner.

"The old saying a picture is worth a thousand words was the case for them."

Although the family would not speak on camera, they did say this incident was an accumulation of ongoing disputes.

"Really and truly there had been an escalating argument and that's a true statement and I think that's all part of the evidence."

Lt. Steve Jones added, "We have no official compliant from that area from prior incidents."

Investigators are now saying they recovered more than one gun at the scene but will not disclose what kind they are.

"It does appear that there could have been more than one person firing shots," says Lt. Jones.

One of the more puzzling aspects in this case are the many gunshot holes found throughout the crime scene. Investigators don't know whether a gunshot hole like this one happened during the incident or well before.

"Unfortunately, it's difficult to determine exactly when a shell casing it the ground, how long it had been sitting there. Something that could have been there for 24 hours could look the same as something that's been sitting there for 10 minutes," Lt. Jones explains.

Sheriff Powell adds, "We do know that domestic violence is some of the most explosive violence that you can have. People will allow emotions to escalate completely out of sight at these kind of things."

Emotions that ended in murder and left behind a family wondering why.

The families of John Mark Morris and Byron Griner say they want answers on who fired first so they can begin to get past this tragedy and move on with their lives.


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