angie.thompson@gaflnews.com



TIFTON -- A man who served 15 years in a state prison after pleading guilty to raping a Tifton woman has been arrested in Rome and charged with multiple counts, including the kidnapping and rape of a 17-year-old girl.

Det. Tommy Shiflett, a criminal investigator for the Floyd County Police Department, said Wednesday that Billy Edgar Murrell, 38, has lived in the Lindale community in Floyd County since his release in January from Hays State Prison in Catoosa County.

Murrell was arrested last Wednesday on criminal warrants charging him with stalking and public indecency.

According to an article in the Aug. 22 issue of the Rome News-Tribune, officers pulled Murrell over in the 1992 Ford Thunderbird he was driving in Rome. A 17-year-old girl in his car told the officer she had been held against her will and raped repeatedly over a three-day period.

"Since the article came out, we have added (charges on) another one (possible victim) and we are interviewing another one (possible victim) at 5 p.m. today," Shiflett said.

Originally, Murrell was charged with two counts of rape, two counts of aggravated stalking, two counts of aggravated assault, kidnapping, terroristic threats, false imprisonment and public indecency in the case of the 17-year-old girl. The charges added in the second case are for sexual battery and kidnapping.

Murrell was indicted by a Tift County grand jury for the January 1987 kidnapping, rape and aggravated sodomy of a 26-year-old Tift County woman. He changed his original not guilty plea to guilty and was sentenced by Judge John D. Crosby to serve 15 years of a 20-year sentence in a state prison and the remainder of the sentence on probation. Crosby recommended that Murrell "undergo sexual counseling while in prison and throughout the entire probationary term" and further stated that "defendant needs treatment and counseling for sexual urges."

A Jan. 26, 1987 article in The Tifton Gazette stated that Murrell, 23, of Lakeland, Fla., was arrested in the parking lot of the King Frog Motel on I-75 in Cook County.

Murrell pumped $11 worth of gasoline into his car and attempted to leave Po Boy's Convenience Store on U.S. Highway 82 West in Tifton without paying. Witnesses later that day said that Murrell's car broke down and he fled on foot toward I-75.

Later that evening, Murrell caught a ride with a Tift County woman at K-Mart. He told the woman he needed a ride to Kelltown. He pulled a small automatic pistol and held it to the woman's head and forced her to drive down a dirt road where he raped and sodomized her.

The woman said Murrell forced her to drive south on I-75. She was able to escape and Murrell drove away in her car. Adel police spotted the car and teamed up with Cook County Sheriff's deputies to arrest him in the King Frog parking lot.

In records at the Tift County Clerk of Court's office, Murrell listed his place of birth as Telfair County and his address as Lakeland, Fla. He also listed family who lived in Lumber City.

Shiflett said investigators found various pictures and pieces of women's clothing in Murrell's home. Authorities believe there may be additional victims.

"He came straight here from Hays to live," Shiflett said. "Whether he has been to visit other areas, we don't know."

Anyone with information about the case is urged to call investigators at 706-235-7766. Murrell is featured on the Floyd County sex offenders' Web site at http://www.romegeorgia.com/Sheriff/sexoffenders.html.



To contact reporter Angie Thompson, call 382-4321, ext. 208.



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