Sheriff: Hanging was not "Hate Crime" -, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Sheriff: Hanging was not "Hate Crime"

July 17, 2003

(Moultrie-AP) -- An official says he does not believe a Hispanic man found shot and hanged from a pine tree with an electrical cord was the victim of a hate crime.

But Colquitt County Sheriff Whittington says investigators will consider all possible motives. The sheriff's chief investigator -- Hal Suber -- says the victim may have been a migrant worker. Moultrie has a large Hispanic population. Many are migrants who harvest the vegetables and tobacco grown in the area.

A farmer notified authorities Sunday after he made the gruesome discovery east of Moultrie. Officials say he smelled the decaying body while checking on his goats and cattle.

Coroner John Vickers says the victim could have been dead up to two weeks. Investigators initially thought he had committed suicide, but an autopsy indicated he had been shot in the neck and cheek and hanged.

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