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Oconee County man who killed his parents undergoing psychiatric evaluation


Peyton Moyer

By Joe Johnson

An Oconee County man who killed wis mother and stepfather six months ago is being evaluated at a state hospital to determine his competency to stand trial.

Early the morning of Dec. 28, 20-year-old Peyton Moyer reportedly shot and killed his mother Ashley Schutza, 41, and stepfather, Benjamin “Benji” Smith, 54, according to the Oconee County Sheriff’s Office.

Ashley Schutza and Benjamin Smith

Moyer, who lived with his family on Boldercrest Circle in Watkinsville, fled in a family car but was later arrested by Athens-Clarke County police aft they flattened the car by deploying a strip of spikes in its path. He was subsequently charged with two counts of murder and cruelty to children, due to his two juvenile stepsisters being home at the time of the killings.

On April 12, defense attorney Jeremiah Roberts, filed a motion requesting that his client be given a mental health evaluation because it was believed that Moyer" is suffering or has suffered some mental or psychological infirmity” that would render him incapable of assisting in his defense or preventing him from comprehending the nature of the charges he faced.

When asked Thursday if he believed mental illness was a factor in Moyer’s crimes, Oconee County Sheriff James Hale said,” Short answer is yes. Moyer has an extensive mental health history.”

Also on April 12, Western Judicial Circuit Judge H. Patrick Haggard approved the defense motion and ordered that Moyer be evaluated by the Forensic Services Team of Georgia Regional Hospial in Augusta

The judge ordered the hospital that on completion of the evaluation, the forensics team must “submit in writing a report and/or a recommendation for the use of the court.”

The evaluation at the secure psychiatric hospital was ongoing this week, according to the Oconee County Superior Court Clerk’s Office.

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9 Comments


I knew his mom and she was so sweet.

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I read her Facebook posts after her passing. She loved her son very much but many times admitted his behavior was becoming irrational & he had stopped taking his medicine. Very tragic & sad for all.

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Easy evaluation, unfit to live amongst other living things.

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It was completely premeditated. He knew exactly what and when he was going to it. Let him serve the rest of his life in general population.

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Honestly, how could it not be… his actions after the fact leads me to think it was… if he was “sick” and didn’t know right from wrong, why did he flee?

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He needs to be given life for killing these two people. Benji was like a son to me. I miss you Benji

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emccorkle
emccorkle
Jun 23, 2022

He kills people! What has mental state have to do with guilt? Everybody is crazy who kills a Pearson. Let him pay for his actions. Justice is justice.


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