By Ed Brock
Police say the man who is charged with gunning down two Atlanta men and dumping their bodies behind a Clayton County shopping center did so over a $250 drug-related debt he owned the two men.
Clayton County and East Point police arrested Mitchell Lavern Ludy, 37, of Jonesboro at an Econo Lodge Inn on Virginia Avenue around 1:25 a.m. Friday, Clayton County Police Capt. Tim Robinson said.
Ludy has been charged with two counts of murder in connection with the shooting deaths of 57-year-old Otis James Williams and 37-year-old Charles W. Ammons. On Sept. 26 Ludy was supposed to be taking Williams and Ammons to an ATM to get the money he owed them, even though he did not have an ATM card, Robinson said.
At some point the men argued and Ludy shot the other two men while they were parked behind the Value City in the Arrowhead Shopping Center on Tara Boulevard near Jonesboro. He then dumped the men's bodies behind another store in the shopping center.
An anonymous caller reported the bodies around 10 a.m. that day.
"After the shooting at some point the next day Mr. Ludy burned his car," Robinson said.
Robinson said Ludy is the man shown on a security video recording from a convenience store on Boulevard in Atlanta that was made around 6:25 a.m. on the day of the shooting. Witnesses said Williams and Ammons were with Ludy at that time, police said.
Information gained from tips that were phoned in after the video was released to the media led to Ludy's arrest, Robinson said.
Police obtained warrants for Ludy's arrest on Thursday but somehow Ludy heard about the warrants and slipped away from his job before he could be arrested, Robinson said. Detectives were "one step behind him" as he moved from location to location around Atlanta before a witness notified police that Ludy was at the Econo Lodge.
Ludy, who is married with two children, lived on Flint River Road.
After his arrest, Robinson said, Ludy cooperated with investigators. Robinson said Ludy told investigators that Ammons and Williams threatened him at some point and that led to the shooting.
That explanation doesn't satisfy Ammons' sister, Shana McLester of Atlanta.
"If he owed them some money, why would he kill them?" McLester said. "I don't guess I'll ever understand it."
McLester said previously that her brother was not a violent person, though he did serve 10 years in prison for aggravated assault. She said she knew Ammons smoked marijuana and drank and "had a little hustle going" for extra money, but she said she "has a lot of whys" about Ludy's reasons for shooting Ammons and dumping his body.
"He took the only brother that I have," McLester said.
McLester said her mother is not taking the killing well and that her oldest son was also shot to death in 1996. McLester still has one sister left.
"Now there's only two of us," McLester said.
Ludy was to make his first appearance Saturday at 9 a.m. McLester said she plans to follow the court proceedings in the case.