TURNER COUNTY -- GBI officials said Tuesday that a man arrested in Savannah has not been charged in connection with an unsolved South Georgia triple homicide.
Jason M. Walker was arrested in Garden City, a suburb of Savannah, on Aug. 14 and charged with rape, battery (family violence) and kidnapping. The next day a judge deferred bond to the Superior Court, effectively denying him bond.
Since Walker's arrest, rumors have swarmed the area saying that he was in some way connected to the Wideman murders and arson, a charge that the Georgia Bureau of Investigation emphatically denies.
In March 2002, the bodies of Turner County Tax Assessor Tommy Joe Wideman, 51; his wife, Deborah Wheeler Wideman, 48; and their pregnant daughter, Melissa Wideman, 20, were found in their burned-out home. The fire was ruled arson but officials have said the three adults died of gunshot wounds.
"Right now, we don't think this Walker guy has anything to do with the Wideman case," GBI Special Agent in Charge Gary Rothwell said in a phone interview Tuesday. "He has not been charged in the case, but believe me, when we arrest someone everybody is going to know."
Citing an ongoing investigation, Rothwell wouldn't comment on any details of the investigation, including whether or not he or any agents had spoken with Walker.
Turner County Sheriff Randy Kendrick and his staff; District Attorney Paul Bowden and his staff and GBI agents out of the Perry office met last year in Perry to discuss the case. Also present were GBI Director Vernon Kennon, GBI Deputy Director Kent Wilson and GBI Assistant Director Chris Ash.
Authorities have not said whether any leads came from that meeting, but the case remains unsolved.
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REDDING [mdash] Charles Emory Parrish, age 79, passed away peacefully on October 1, 2020 with his daughter by his side. He was born in Florida and grew up in Tifton, Georgia to Lois and Tom Parrish. He joined the Navy in 1964. During his service he earned four medals and was deployed to Viet…