Posted: Thursday, February 23rd 2012 at 3:40pm
Autopsy shows Clarkesville man died of gunshot wound
By Rob Moore
BATESVILLE – An autopsy performed by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation Thursday shows that Clarkesville resident Gordon Mitchell, 62, died of a gunshot wound to the head.
GBI Region 8 Special Agent in Charge Kimberly Williams said blunt force trauma to the head also was a contributing cause of Mitchell’s death. His body was recovered Tuesday night on Woody Bend Drive in Batesville, inside Habersham County.
Mitchell had been reported missing Sunday, Feb. 19, after being last seen at Sweetwater Campground in Rabun County on Saturday.
“And, based on the recovery, it appeared he may have been run over,” Williams said.
Mountain Judicial Circuit District Attorney Brian Rickman said Mitchell knew suspects Frank Joseph Guitreau Jr., 30, and Ashley Gail Hall, 29, both of Louisiana.
“I think he [Mitchell] had let them stay with him for several days in his camper at the RV park,” Rickman said. “The victim and the accused were acquaintances over a period of a few days.”
“They had recently met him,” Williams said. “It wasn’t a lengthy or established relationship.”
Asked about the circumstances of how Mitchell’s body was found, Rickman said it was not part of a search by rescuers looking for the man. Rather, he said, information led officers to the site.
“Rabun County, the GBI and Habersham went to the recovery location,” Rickman said. “They had information where to go look.”
Rickman said the location where the body was found was north of Mark of the Potter, on a logging road off Watts Mill Road.
“Drugs are involved in all aspects of the case,” Rickman said. “There are drugs involved in the circumstances of how the case came about.”
“A lot of tragedies are fueled by drugs in communities today,” Rickman said. “A lot of times meth is involved – and it is certainly involved in this one.”
Williams said additional arrests are not expected in the case.
“We do have two in custody, but we are still following up various leads – none that will involve other people,” she said. “We’re just following up on information to try and figure how they arrived in Rabun County.”
Asked if the weapon used on Mitchell has been recovered, Rickman said, “Multiple firearms were recovered and taken for evidence.”
Forensic testing is under way on those guns to see if one of them was involved in Mitchell’s shooting, he said.
Rickman said many people love the Batesville area for its quiet, picturesque setting with mountains and streams.
“It just shows there’s no place immune from things like this happening,” Rickman said.
Guitreau and Hall each are charged with murder in Habersham County, and in Rabun County are charged with possession of firearms by a convicted felon, manufacture of methamphetamine, and providing false statements.
Asked about Guitreau’s and Hall’s criminal background, Rickman said, “I can’t publicly talk about it.”
Bond in the case would be at the discretion of the judge.
“We’ll be opposing any bond whatsoever, clearly,” Rickman said.
Rickman said bond opposition will be for several reasons, including the nature of the crime, the accused living out of state, and that “they don’t have significant ties to this community,” he said.
“We will definitely be presenting indictment within 90 days,” Rickman said.
Mitchell’s death marks the first homicide in Habersham County in 2012.
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