A Colbert man remains in intensive care at Augusta Medical Center and an Athens man is behind bars after he allegedly severely beat his friend at a home on Lem Edwards Road.
After a complicated investigative effort by sheriff’s deputies, John William Baxter, 34, 2240 Airport Drive, was arrested early Monday morning, Dec. 1, and charged with aggravated battery, simple battery and obstruction of officers for allegedly beating Timothy Franklin Veal, 52, of 2955 Lem Edwards Road.
According to the incident report, investigation into the incident began around 2:30 a.m., Nov. 30, when Deputy Jeff Strickland was dispatched to meet with an informant on Buddy Moore Road who said a man named Matthew Drake had come to his residence saying he had something to show him that “maybe he could help him out with.” Drake reportedly proceeded to show the informant what appeared to be a body wrapped in bloody sheets in the rear of a vehicle parked in the yard. A white male unknown to the informant was seated in the front seat of the vehicle. When the informant asked what had happened, Drake allegedly told him “they had beat the person up and took his car.” The informant then allegedly told the men to leave his house and not come back.
After Strickland left the informant’s home, he spotted objects lying in the southbound lane of Hwy. 29 South. The objects proved to be two sheets covered in what appeared to be blood. Lt. Steve Gary then joined Strickland, and together they contacted a relative of Drake’s who told them Drake lived at 2887 Lem Edwards Road and that she had last seen him with John Baxter and Timothy Veal.
The officers went to the Lem Edward Road home where they met with Baxter and Drake, who told them they had been at this location for more than a day and that Veal was at his own residence at 2955 Lem Edwards Road.
Strickland then went to Veal’s home where he found a 1995 Honda Accord parked behind the residence with what appeared to be “a lot of dried blood in the rear seat area.” Deputy Strickland then found Veal in a rear bedroom of the home. The deputy noted that Veal had extensive facial injuries and labored breathing and that there was a lot of blood.
Strickland called for EMS and asked Veal what had happened. Veal stated that he was not sure what had happened, but thought someone had jumped on him while he was at Ingles in Hull with Baxter and Drake. Veal was transported to Athens Regional Medical Center.
Strickland then located Drake at his mother’s residence on Stone Ridge Drive and took him in for questioning by Investigator Jimmy Patton.
A search of Drake’s home on Lem Edwards Road produced bloody clothing in a plastic bag, evidence of bloody areas in a rear bedroom, and Veal’s jacket, wallet and cell phone.
According to witness statements obtained by Lt. Gary, Drake told those witnesses that the three men allegedly went to Ingles to buy beer and cigarettes, when a fight allegedly broke out between Baxter and Drake, and that it continued at Drake’s residence on Lem Edwards Road. Drake reportedly said that Baxter kept hitting and kicking Veal in the ribs, then jumped off the bed to hit Veal in the head with his elbow. Drake reportedly told them that he and Baxter eventually loaded Veal into the car and drove him to Athens Regional, but that Veal refused to get out. They then drove to the informant’s home where they were told to leave, before going back to Lem Edwards Road.
Baxter was arrested later Monday morning at his Athens home.
As of press time, the sheriff’s office reported that Veal remained in intensive care at the Medical College of Georgia in Augusta with two collapsed lungs, three broken ribs and severe facial trauma.
The investigation into this incident is continuing and more charges may be pending.
Fantastic job by the Sheriff Dept! John Baxter has been in and out of prison and should be sentenced to 20 years to life for such an outrageous and violent crime. Great reporting, keep up the good work!
Unfortunately, Lt. Gary is also one of the current Sheriff staff that has been informed that he will no longer be serving the citizens of Madison County after January 1st (got the boot). It is obvious in this last investigation by Lt. Gary and the Deputies under his watch, a life was saved and another criminal taken off the street. Thanks Lt. Gary for your many years of service, loyalty, and dedication to protecting and serving the citizens of Madison County. I can only hope and pray that your replacement has just one ounce of your loyalty, morality, and devotion to protecting and serving us! I wish you well!