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Acquitted of murder in Athens, charged with murder in Jackson County

Willie Tremaine Nickholas Evans

By Joe Johnson

A man who beat murder charges in Athens over a year ago was recently arrested for a murder in the Jackson County city of Jefferson.

Willie Tremaine Nickholas Evans, 27, was arrested last week while driving in Barrow County, said Jefferson Police Chief Joe Wirthman.

Warrants had been issued for the arrest of Evans in connection with the death of 19-year-old Joshua Wick of Hall County, whose body was found in Jefferson last month.

The warrants charge Evans with malice murder, aggravated assault, and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.

Wirthman said Wick’s body was found the afternoon of Jan. 20 by a motorist driving on Holders Siding Road near U.S. Highway 129. He said the teen had been killed elsewhere before his body was dumped in Jackson County.

In December 2021, a Clarke County jury acquitted Evans on charges of malice and felony murder, aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, and possession of a firearm during the commission of a crime.

He allegedly had been the person who on June 13, 2019 fatally shot 51-year-old David Lee Burnette in the victim’s home at the University Oaks -

apartment complex off of West Broad Street in Athens.

Athens murder victim David Burnette

Police at the time said that robbery was the apparent motive for the shooting, and during the trial, prosecutors tried to make the case that Burnette’s death was drug related.

In yet another gun violence case in Athens, Evans struck a plea deal with the DA's office after being accused of endangering a woman's life by shooting a gun through a couch in her apartment.

In return for pleading guilty to reckless conduct and disorderly conduct, Evans on February 1, 2022 was sentenced to 12 months in jail and 12 months on probation, according to Clarke County Superior Court records.

In the Jefferson murder case, Wirthman said that a motive for Wick’s death had yet to be established.

As of Thursday morning, Evans was being held at the Barrow County Detention Center.

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