Family denies relationship in Jonesboro killing

By Ed Brock

The daughter of a Jonesboro man who was killed over the weekend denies that her father was a "drinking buddy" of the man police say killed him.

Judy Barton said her father, 64-year-old Jonathan Roy Worley of 801 Dogwood Trail, had hired the suspect, 33-year-old Timothy William Mathis of Newnan, to do yard work. Since that time Mathis "wouldn't leave (Worley) alone," and was always asking him for money or cigarettes, Barton said.

On Saturday morning Mathis was at Worley's home when, according to Mathis, he grew angry at Worley for talking about Mathis' sister dating African Americans, Clayton County Police Capt. Jeff Turner said. Mathis shot Worley twice in the chest, Turner said.

Barton said Mathis also beat her father with a floor lamp as well as shooting him and said she believes Mathis was trying to rob her father.

Mathis then apparently called his girlfriend and told her about the killing and the girlfriend called the sheriff's office in Coweta County where she lived. Mathis took Worley's Chevrolet Silverado pickup truck and drove into Atlanta where he left the truck after driving into an area flooded by storms from the remnants of Hurricane Ivan. He went to a nearby Waffle House and called his sister who then gave him money for a bus ticket to Florida.

Mathis was arrested at a bus station after he called his girlfriend again and she then reported his position to police. Turner said Mathis confessed to the killing after his arrest.

Turner said that Mathis had told police that he had been sitting with Worley prior to the killing. Barton, who lives in Pleasant Grove, Ala., said she believes Mathis had come to rob her father and added that, along with the truck, Mathis had taken money from Worley's wallet.

"Dad was a good guy," Barton said. "He would have given that guy that money. That guy didn't have to kill him."

Barton said Worley's funeral would be held today at Parrott Funeral Home in Fairburn. Turner said Mathis' preliminary hearing is scheduled for Sept. 28.