By Joe Johnson
An arrest has been made in the murder last year of an Oconee convenience store clerk.
On Wednesday morning, Oconee County Sheriff’s investigators along with members of the ATF, FBI, and Philadelphia Police Department arrested Ahkil Nasir Crumpton for the murder of Elijah James Wood, Oconee County Sheriff James Hale announced.
Crumpton is from Philadelphia, played football for the University of Georgia in 2017 and 2018, and was a student at UGA until 2021.
He allegedly fatally shot Wood on March 19, 2021, while the victim was working as the night clerk at the RaceTrac on Hwy 441 at Hog Mountain Road. The motive for the murder was believed to be robbery.
Wood was 23 years old and lived in Watkinsville.
“It’s a great relief to finally have the suspect in custody,” Hale said in a released statement. “For the past year, Oconee County investigators, along with our state, federal, and local law enforcement partners have tirelessly worked this difficult case. Although challenging, we were always confident we would find the person responsible for this senseless murder.”
A big break in the case came on Feb. 15, when the ATF notified the OCSO about ballistic testing of the gun used in Wood’s murder indicated that the same gun was used in a homicide in Philadelphia after the clerk was fatally shot.
The OCSO then sought to determine whether the shooter was the same in both cases. That investigation consisted of OCSO investigators, ATF, and FBI agents, Philadelphia detectives, and with the assistance of U.S. Attorney Offices for the Middle District of Georgia and the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.
Philadelphia investigators advised they suspected Akhil Crumpton was the shooter in their case and OCSO investigators subsequently established the link between Philadelphia and Athens.
That information led to a more in-depth investigation, which produced evidence to secure an arrest warrant for Crumpton for Wood’s murder.
The sheriff’s office noted that Wood’s murder case continued to be investigated and no further details were being released at this time.
“This case is not over,” Hale said in his statement. “The arrest is only the start of the process, which will not end until we successfully prosecute this case in a court of law.”