Feds execute search warrant - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Feds execute search warrant

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February 8, 2006

Grady County -- Federal agents are looking for more evidence in a four-year-old hotel arson in Donalsonville.

Wednesday afternoon, they began searching one of the suspect's houses. At noon today, ATF agents and Grady County deputies executed a federal search warrant at 572 Harrell Road, outside Cairo.

Marty Harrell is accused of being hired to burn down the Ramada hotel in Donalsonville in 2002 as part of an insurance scam. The federal arson, conspiracy, and racketeering trial is scheduled to start in Thomasville on February 21st.

Agents say Don Harrell tried to intimidate witnesses in the case. "This is part of the Don Harrell household. Don Harrell is the father of Marty Harrell. He is in custody for a witness tampering charge," said Morgan Fisher, the ATF Agent in Charge.

The hotel has been rebuilt since 2002, and today, agents would only say they were looking for more evidence in the case. Bags were brought out, but their contents is unknown.

"It's an ongoing investigation. I can't really disclose the reason or what we're exactly looking for in the residence," said Fisher.

While agents continue searching, W. Dexter Harrison, the man accused of hiring Harrell, is out of jail on $50,000 bond.

Marty Harrell is accused of starting the hotel fire with gasoline and diesel fuel.

He's being investigated for a separate incident, the murder of Bobby Powell, a man he's accused of hiring to intimidate a famer who was involved in a cattle dispute with him.

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