Charges filed in Lee Co. college student's death - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Charges filed in Lee Co. college student's death

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November 19, 2007

Lee County-  Warrants are now issued for two people in the death of a Lee County college student. 

The friend who drove around with Wills, dead or dying, in the passenger seat, Matt Blankenship, is charged with concealing a death.  Now, investigators say the man who sold Jarrod Wills drugs, T. J. Jackson, is charged with sale of a controlled substance. 

Another twist to this story, Jackson is the step-son of a GBI agent whose office would normally have handled this case.

Shortly after the investigation began into Jarrod Wills' death it was handed off to the Sylvester GBI. Odd, because the Americus GBI handles cases in Lee County.

WALB News 10 has learned the case was given to Sylvester GBI because the step-son of an Americus GBI agent was implicated from the beginning. Monday, T. J. Jackson was jailed on drug selling charges. Jackson is the step-son of Americus GBI Special Agent Danny Jackson.

Jarrod Wills was found dead inside his Fussell Road home the morning of Saturday, November 10th.

From the beginning, investigators were suspicious because Wills' friend, Matt Blankenship, was seen driving around with an unconscious Wills in the passenger seat. At a stop at this house on Maryland Drive in Albany, friends worried because Wills was unresponsive. They even called Albany Police to report a deceased person.

Our investigation reveals the party began long before the stop on Maryland Drive. Wills and Blankenship had apparently been partying since noon that day. The GBI says that's when Blankenship and Wills bought the Xanax 22-year-old T. J. Jackson.

Over the course of the evening, the two would stop at another friends home in Lee County before riding around in Lee County and Albany.  The GBI won't be specific about how many stops Blankenship and Wills made, just that several witnesses reported seeing them at several locations.

WALB has learned the preliminary autopsy shows Wills died of asphyxia from choking on his own vomit, but the GBI won't confirm that until the toxicology report is completed. Blankenship is already in the Lee County Jail. They arrested him the Saturday Wills died on a probation violation for criminal trespassing. Now he's charged with concealing the death of his friend.

Family member fear there's still information out there the GBI doesn't know because friends haven't come forward. They're asking anyone with information on Wills death to contact the GBI.

T. J. Jackson has been in trouble before. This is his 4th arrest on drug charges.  

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