GBI arrests Cairo man for year-old murder case - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

GBI arrests Cairo man for year-old murder case

January 3, 2007

Cairo --  The murder of 64-year-old Pearl B. Johnson has been under investigation for nearly a year.  Seventy-three-year-old Martin Pearce Wheeler is charged with the murder of Pearl Johnson in her apartment on January 7th last year.

Police say they interviewed Wheeler shortly after the murder. After extensive investigation and a second interview with him last Friday, GBI agents along with the Cairo police department arrested Wheeler, and charged him with murder.

"It was a combination of the law enforcement teams together there in Grady county working with us," said Special Agent Ronnie Thompson.  

After nearly a year of investigation authorities have arrested the right man. "Unfortunately a lot of cases take that time, because you wanna do it right you want to make sure you got the right person."

Police aren't releasing many details of the case but they have said the two knew each other. "At one time they were acquaintances," said Thompson.  

Friends of Johnson's are shocked Wheeler was charged for the murder. They say Wheeler was at her home often, and they thought the two were romantically involved.

Johnson was found dead in her Cairo apartment on January 7th of last year.  "The cause of death was blunt force trauma, as well as possible strangulation," said Thompson. There was also evidence she was possibly stabbed.  

"It always feels great to make an arrest and the agent involved in this case as well as the agencies in Grady County did a fantastic job to get us to this point."

Johnson's friends say they can finally gain some closure to the murder of their friend. Wheeler is being held at the Grady County jail. The GBI says more charges might be brought against him.

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