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Two cousins charged with beating death

By Daniel Silliman

dsilliman@news-daily.com

Two men have been indicted on charges they murdered a man because he owed them $25.

Larry Richard Brownlee, 55, was found beaten to death on Blalock Street in Hapeville, last July. Blood was pooled around his head and his body was surrounded by sticks, bricks and bits of mortar.

Two cousins, Elroy Chester Carter, 46, and Dwight Edward Luke, 33, have been charged by a Clayton County grand jury with murder, felony murder, aggravated assault and criminal damage to property in connection with the death.

Clayton County Police Department detectives and District Attorney's Office prosecutors believe Carter and Luke beat the 55-year-old man to death with an ax handle wrapped in duct tape, a metal pipe, and stones they picked up off the street.

The cause of death was determined to be two blows to the back of the head. Police say the two accused men were beating Brownlee equally.

According to the arrest warrants filed at the courthouse, Brownlee's murder "arose from an altercation over a monetary debt related to a narcotic sale."

Brownlee allegedly owed the two men $25 and was trying to run away from then on July 25, 2007, around 5 p.m. With another man in a white Lincoln Towncar, he was corned at a dead-end by the cousins who were throwing stones at the vehicle. As the driver put the car into reverse, Brownlee exited and tried to run, detectives said.

More than six witnesses reportedly described the scene to Clayton County police.

During a probable cause hearing late last Summer, defense attorneys argued that Brownlee wouldn't have gotten out of the car to face armed and angry men unless he had a gun. However, detectives said the 55-year-old had nothing on him except the drivers license in his wallet.

Police do not know why Brownlee, who lived in a camper trailer on the back of the lot where he died, got out of the car.

Luke, the younger of the two accused men, reportedly confessed to the killing when arrested by police, citing the $25 debt.

The cousins' trial date has not yet been set.