By Ed Brock
Timothy William Mathis was frequently in tears during a preliminary hearing Tuesday on murder charges related to the shooting death of a Jonesboro man he knew.
After his arrest on Sept. 18, Mathis, 33, of Newnan told police that he had argued with 64-year-old Jonathan Roy Worley of 801 Dogwood Trail after going to his house to use the phone, Clayton County Police Detective Taylor Davis said in his testimony at the hearing.
During the argument Worley supposedly began saying something about Mathis' sister dating African Americans, Davis said.
"The way Mr. Mathis explained it is that he basically snapped," Davis said.
Mathis punched Worley and the two men struggled. Worley, who kept several weapons in his trailer, went to retrieve one that was near the recliner in his living room. Mathis got to the gun first, and as the men struggled the gun discharged and sent a round into the roof, Davis said.
Then Mathis brought the gun down and it fired again, hitting Worley in the chest. Worley continued to fight with Mathis until Mathis knocked him to the ground, grabbed a nearby pillow and shot Worley again through the pillow.
"He then beat him some more," Davis said. "He told me he'd never been that angry at anybody."
The autopsy of Worley's body revealed a third gunshot wound to the chest but Davis said they did not receive that information in time to ask Mathis when that shot was fired.
Mathis then took Worley's truck and drove it into Atlanta. At some point he also called his girlfriend and told her he had shot a man. The girlfriend called the Coweta Sheriff's Office and that agency contacted Clayton County police.
After stalling the truck while trying to drive through a flooded area, Mathis called his sister and she took him to the Hapeville Bus Station and bought him a ticket for Jacksonville, Fla., Clayton County Police Capt. Jeff Turner said previously.
He was captured after he called his girlfriend again to tell her where he was going and she then reported his location to authorities, Turner said.
During his cross examination of Davis Mathis' attorney Robert Mack emphasized that Worley had gone for the gun first, according to Mathis' statement, and that Mathis had not gone to Worley's house with the intent to kill Worley.
After the hearing Mack said the incident was "really tormenting" his client.
Just prior to his own hearing Mathis testified at a preliminary hearing for 18-year-old Jarrell Williams of Jonesboro who had originally been charged with theft by taking in an unrelated incident involving Mathis' girlfriend's car.
On Sept. 16 Mathis took his girlfriend to work and borrowed her 2000 Mitsubishi Montero, said Williams' attorney Chris Leopold. Instead of picking his girlfriend up Mathis met Williams and let him borrow the vehicle for $50.
Mathis' sister contacted Williams and told him that Mathis did not have the authority to lend him the car. Leopold said Williams was on his way to bring the car back to Mathis' girlfriend and police arrested him at the Waffle House where they were supposed to meet. Leopold said the Montero had never been reported as stolen.
Williams' case was bound over to the grand jury for indictment consideration on theft by receiving instead of theft by taking.
Mathis' case was also bound over to the grand jury. He will have a bond hearing on Friday.