Cordele man charged with murder -, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Cordele man charged with murder

August 5, 2007

Cordele -- A Cordele man already in state custody is now charged with the murder of an 83-year-old man.

Sammy Clements was a WWII veteran, a man neighbors described as a good samaritan. When he was attacked and robbed inside his Cordele home on May 28th, his attacker got away.

In the mean time, Clements died from his injuries. Police were left to investigate a homicide; an investigation that lead to police to a man with a lengthy criminal past.

It has been over two months since police tape has lined the front porch of the home at 405 East 9th Avenue in Cordele.

Today the former of home of Sammy Clements remains empty, a grim reminder of a deadly home invasion that occurred here on the night of May 28th.

Police say on that night a man busted into to Clements home. He was robbed and beaten. Clements, who refused medical attention, died two days later. His body was then sent off to the state crime lab.

"We waited for the crime lab report to confirm it was a homicide, and not from natural causes. But we got that definitive report from the crime, so we were able to filed charges," said Cordele Police Chief Dwayne Orrick.

Charged with Clements murder is 49-year-old Freddie Lee Clayton of Cordele. Police began investigating Clayton shortly after the home invasion took place.

Orrick said, "We got some tips and information very quickly after the incident occurred that Clayton had a large sum of money. Very slowly and methodically, we began interviewing witnesses, staying in the area, talking to people, and following up on leads. One thing lead to another, and we were able to pick Clayton up on a parole violation."

Clayton, who had been in out of prison 7 times over the past 3 decades, had been acquainted with his victim. Police say 83-year-old Sammy Clements had even tried to help out the ex-convict.

"He had helped Clayton out. But he just came back and took advantage of him," said Orrick.

Chief Orrick says good detective work and tips from within the community was ultimately what lead to Clement's arrest.

He added, "There's a lot of people in Cordele that came forward an helped us out with information that they had. I also want to thank the detectives. They stayed out on this case day in and day out, and made sure they stayed on top of the case.

While it is still unfortunate that an innocent, elderly veteran lost his life, at least neighbors can rest assured that a suspected killer is now off the streets.

Police say Clayton faces multiple charges including burglary, aggravated assault, trafficking in cocaine, and now murder.


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