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Police: County Commissioner NeSmith possibly killed by fall down stairs at his home

By Joe Johnson

Athens-Clarke County Police on Monday were awaiting the results of an autopsy that could explain how County Commissioner Jerry NeSmith wound up dead at the bottom the basement stairs at his house on Deer Field Drive Sunday Morning.

Police Capt. John Radford said that the preliminary investigation found nothing to suggest that foul play was involved.

He said an autopsy was planned to be performed Monday at the Georgia Bureau of Investigation’s State Crime Lab.

”They are going to see if there was medical condition that caused Mr. NeSmith’s death. If they don’t it’s probably going to be ruled accidental,” Radford said.

The 71-year-old commissioner, who represented District 6 for two terms, was last seen alive by his wife, when she went to bed at about 11:30 p.m. Saturday, according to police. She found his body lying at the bottom of the stairs after waking up Sunday morning and she called 911 at about 8:29 a.m.

Police said that Nesmith was deceased when officers arrived.

After learning about the commissioner's death, the county government issued the following media release:

“We are heartbroken to learn of Commissioner NeSmith’s tragic passing,” Mayor Kelly Girtz said. “Jerry was a fierce advocate for the businesses and residents of his district, the Westside of Athens, the Athens Farmers Market, Advantage Behavioral Health Systems, the Greenway, and the Atlanta Highway corridor. His passion and energy will be sorely missed in this community. Our condolences go out to his friends and family during this unbelievably difficult time.”

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