Victims' co-workers speak out on Valdosta murder arrest -, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Valdosta victims' co-workers speak out on murder arrest

Bad Habitz General Manager, Keith Conley Bad Habitz General Manager, Keith Conley
Jerry Gay, charged with murder Jerry Gay, charged with murder

Friends and family members of a slain Valdosta woman have a little closure knowing the man accused of murdering the waitress is in jail.

Known to many as a kind, easy-going woman - 42-year-old Tawnya Kinslow was a hard working waitress taking on two jobs at the Waffle House and Bad Habitz Saloon.

Bad Habitz General Manager, Keith Conley says he was devastated to learn she was killed. "Everybody that knew her was pretty down and out about it. She was somebody who makes a difference when she comes to work."

On August 12th, Kinslow was found shot to death in her Baytree Road home. With no witnesses and no motive, her murder went unsolved. Until 20-year-old Jerry Gay was arrested two weeks later on gun charges in another case. Gay's name had already been brought up in Kinslow's murder. And with his gun in evidence, investigators took it to the Valdosta Lowndes Crime Lab for ballistic testing.

"Our firearms examiners positively told us, and now provided us a report, indicating that firearm is what was used to kill our victim over on 803 Baytree Road," said Valdosta Police Chief Brian Childress.

Childress says Kinslow, a mother of four, knew her killer. "We have confirmed Mr. Gay did in fact know the victim. Now what type of relationship they had, I'm not going to discuss at this point."

Conley says Kinslow will be remembered for the sweet woman she was. "I used to go to Waffle House all the time, every other night or so; I just thought she was one of the sweetest ladies I had ever met."

Gay was charged with murder in the Lowndes County Jail Wednesday, where he had remained on those unrelated charges.

Chief Childress says without the help of technicians at the local crime lab, it would have been hard to solve this case so quickly.

Copyright 2013 WALB.  All rights reserved.


Valdosta Police have made an arrest in the murder of a 42-year-old restaurant waitress.

Investigators say Jerry Gay, Jr. was already being held in the Lowndes County Jail on other charges when warrants were filed against him for murder.

The victim, Tawnya Kinslow, was found shot to death August 12th inside her Baytree Road home near the campus of Valdosta State University.

She was a popular waitress who worked at a Valdosta Waffle House.

It's not clear what Kinslow's relation is to her accused killer.

The Valdosta Police Department provided this report:

On September 4, 2013, Jerry Gay, African American male, 20 years of age, was charged with Murder for the shooting death of Tawnya Kinslow. Kinslow was found deceased in her home on Baytree Road on August 12, 2013 at approximately 3:30 p.m.

On August 24, 2013, the Valdosta Police Department responded to a call in reference to a dispute involving a gun. Officers arrived on scene and Gay fled on foot. After a short foot pursuit, the officers caught Gay and found a handgun in his possession. Gay was arrested and charged with Pointing a Gun at Another, Obstruction of Officers, and Carrying a Concealed Weapon without a Permit.

Gay's name had been mentioned during the homicide investigation and a request was submitted to the Valdosta Lowndes Regional Crime Laboratory for ballistic testing to be conducted comparing the evidence from the homicide to the gun found in Gay's possession. The results of the testing indicated that the gun had been used in the homicide.

Detectives interviewed Gay, who was still in jail on the other charges, and have charged Gay with Murder. The case is still being reviewed and other charges may be filed.

Anyone having any further information regarding this crime or any other crime is urged to contact the Valdosta Police Department at 229-293-3145 or can remain anonymous at 229-293-3091.


Copyright 2013 WALB.  All rights reserved.

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