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Ex-convict charged with Halloween murder

By Daniel Silliman

dsilliman@news-daily.com

A Clayton County grand jury indicted a 41-year-old man whose DNA was found in a glove left at the scene where a 68-year-old woman was murdered.

Timothy Alan Boothe was indicted Wednesday for the Halloween arson death of Geneva Strickland. The Hampton man has a 23-year criminal record of theft, forgery and driving-related charges, and allegedly attempted to steal guns and money from Strickland's Jonesboro home on Oct. 31, 2007.

Boothe knew Strickland because of a previous romantic relationship with her niece, and had done maintenance work around her house, according to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation. Once, the woman bailed him out of jail.

Initially, Boothe was not a suspect when Strickland was found burned to death in her 614 Fayetteville Road home.

As firefighters attempted to put out the blaze, early on the morning of Nov. 1, Strickland was found tied to her bed with zip ties, in a back bedroom. She was dead from carbon monoxide poisoning, and state investigators immediately suspected robbery, because she was known to keep large amounts of cash in her house.

The GBI released sketches of two men reportedly seen in the neighborhood -- one a muscular white man with long, blond hair, and the other a thin, black man. Neither man has been identified since the sketches were released, a week after Strickland died. Investigators were looking for the men, when a GBI agent came in on a weekend, about a month later, to test the evidence for DNA.

The GBI had zip ties, which had been used to bind the victim's wrists, and an ace bandages, which had been wound around her face, and a blue, latex glove also found at the scene..

DNA was found in the glove and was matched to Boothe, who was in the state's DNA-profile bank because of his prison record.

At a probable cause hearing in January, Boothe's attorney, Darrell B. Reynolds, argued that the DNA in the glove could have come from the times when Boothe worked around the Fayetteville Drive house, and there was no evidence to show he bound Strickland to that bed before setting a fire.

"Other than this DNA match, you have nothing else connecting Mr. Boothe to this murder, do you?" the attorney asked the GBI investigator.

"Not yet," the investigator said.

Originally arrested on a warrant for a single charge of murder, the district attorney's office expanded the charges in the indictment. Boothe is facing charges of murder, murder during the commission of a felony, burglary, aggravated assault, kidnapping and arson.

His next court date has not yet been set.