Updated: May 9, 2020
By Joe Johnson
An Athens-Clarke County police officer this week arrested a suspect in s fatal stabbing in Morgan County.
According to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, between 1 and 1:30 a.m. Monday, Morgan County 911 got a call about several people being involved in an altercation resulting in at least one person being stabbed. Sheriff’s deputies responded to the area of Sandy Creek Road, between Bostwick and Madison, but all parties had left the scene.
A couple hours later, Walton County 911 received a call of an unresponsive male located off a roadway outside of Monroe in Walton County, where deputies found the body of 58-year-old Monroe resident Jerald Jerome Bowden, deceased from what appeared to be stab wounds, the GBI said.
One of the suspects in the stabbing, 56-year-old Monroe resident Tommy Roger Byrd was taken into custody in Walton County on a charge of tampering with evidence, according to Mary Chandler, special agent in charge of the GBI’s Region 6 investigative office in Milledgeville.
Another suspect was identified as Byrd’s brother, Tommy Joe Byrd, 55, of Athens.
While ACCPD officers were on the lookout for him, Officer Daniel Freeland was in the area of Baxter Drive, when a male matching Byrd’s description arrived in the area of the University Garden apartment complex. Freeland made contact with the male, and identified him as Tommy Joe Byrd.
He was taken to the east police precinct for questioning, and the GBI subsequently charged him with tampering with evidence and was transported to the Walton County Jail, where the Byrd brothers were being held without bail being set.
According to Chandler, murder warrants were expected to be issued in the case, but as of Thursday morning, she said that “we are still investigating to determine who actually caused the death” of Bowden.
Athens-Clarke County Police Chief Cleveland Spruill praised the officer who helped to get a potentially violent person off the street.
“This is just another example of our hardworking officers’ diligence and commitment," Spruill said. “Kudos to Officer Freeland.”