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Posted: Wednesday, December 5th 2012 at 10:43pm

Rabun County, GBI charge one with murder in Wednesday shooting

By Rob Moore Editor
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Travis Melvin Groom
CLAYTON – One man is dead and another is jailed in what Rabun County authorities say was a murder early Wednesday.

“Rabun County Sheriff Frank Andrews reports that on Dec. 5 at approx 5:04 a.m. the Rabun County Sheriff’s Office responded to a shooting at a residence on McCrackin Road in Clayton,” said Capt. Gerald Johnson, chief investigator for the Rabun County Sheriff’s Office.

“Upon arrival, deputies discovered the body of a Lakemont resident who is known as 21-year-old James Eugene Close Jr. with an apparent gunshot wound,” Johnson said, adding that Close was pronounced dead at the scene.

Rabun County S.O. requested assistance from the Georgia Bureau of Investigation.

“The sheriff’s office also requested assistance from Rabun County Emergency Management Director Marty Dixon to assist with protective structures due to inclement weather and the outdoor scene,” Johnson said. “Mountain Judicial Circuit District Attorney Brian Rickman was also contacted.”

Johnson said Rickman provided investigators with legal guidance regarding the investigation.

“Investigators concluded that the shooting was the result of an argument that had escalated between James Eugene Close Jr. and 38-year-old Travis Melvin Groom of Clayton,” Johnson said.

Rabun County Coroner Sam Beck transported Close’s body to the GBI Division of Forensic Science in Decatur for an autopsy, Johnson said.

Groom was arrested without incident and was booked into the Rabun County Detention Center, charged with murder. He is being held without bond.

Asked whether the men lived at the residence, Johnson said, “They were just acquaintances that were at this residence at the same time.”

The case remains under investigation, Johnson said. Investigators believe this was an isolated incident.
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