A 37-year-old man is dead and a Wilkinson County man is behind bars as a suspect in a fatal shooting that happened Monday night at the victim’s home in Baldwin County, authorities say.
The shooting followed what authorities said was a brief struggle between the two men outside.
Baldwin County Sheriff’s Office Detective Capt. Brad King, who heads the criminal investigations division, said a murder warrant was served against William Weaver, 37, of the 100 block of Briarcliff Trail, Ivey on Tuesday afternoon.
Weaver is a suspect in the death of Jody Raley, who lived on the 100 block of Hodges Lake Road, where the shooting took place shortly before 8 p.m.
The suspect was taken to the Baldwin County Law Enforcement Center immediately after deputies and detectives arrived at the doublewide mobile home where Raley lived with his wife and her son.
At one time, Weaver was married to Raley’s wife, authorities said.
Raley, who was shot once in the left side of the abdomen with what detectives believe was a Smith & Wesson .40-caliber pistol, was later taken to Navicent Health Baldwin hospital in Milledgeville where he was pronounced dead 8:58 p.m. by a doctor on staff there, according to Baldwin County Chief Deputy Coroner Ken Garland.
An autopsy was scheduled for Wednesday morning at the Georgia Bureau of Investigation Crime Laboratory in Macon, Garland said.
Detectives Robert Butch, Reid White, Chris Burrell, Josuha Holcomb and King were all involved in processing the crime scene, as well as investigating the case from other aspects.
King said the men’s vehicles were taken to the sheriff’s office to be processed. The vehicles included a Toyota Corolla, which belongs to Weaver, and a GMC Sierra pickup truck, which belonged to Raley.
“We’ve been able to establish that a very brief struggle took place in the yard between the vehicles and the house,” King said.
Deputy Benjamin Forbus said he received a call to respond to a gunshot wound and that the 911 caller informed a dispatcher that the offender was rendering aid to the victim, according to an incident report.
Forbus said he was met at the scene by Deputy Lt. Andrew Brantley along with Deputy Sgt. Thomas “T.J.” Hargrove who witnessed the offender giving aide to the gunshot victim.
“Raley was not breathing and unresponsive,” Forbus said in his report.
A short time later, personnel with Grady Emergency Medical Services arrived and began performing life-saving measures before they took the victim to the local hospital.
The deputy said Weaver was later detained and placed in the rear seat of Brantley’s patrol car.
Forbus said he later talked with the victim’s wife, who earlier had called 911 for help.
The deputy said the ex-husband, William Weaver, and her current husband, Jody Raley, had gotten into an altercation outside the residence.
She said she later heard a loud bang and heard Weaver yelling for her to call 911.
Forbus said she told him that she and her husband had been experiencing marital issues for a while and that she had called Weaver up to come and get their son so he did not have to witness them arguing.
“[She] stated that she and Jody were having ongoing verbal disputes” since the night before, according to the incident report.
Earlier in the day, the wife reportedly told Forbus that she and her son went by the workplace to see if her husband wanted to go with them to the Oconee Greenway, but he reportedly told her he was not going and that she needed to leave so he could finish his work.
Forbus said she and her son stayed at the Greenway for a little while and then returned home.
The deputy said the woman told him that when her husband got home they began arguing again.
Jody Raley reportedly packed some clothes and had decided to leave the residence, according to the incident report. Forbus said his wife left the residence after Weaver arrived.
The deputy said the victim’s wife told him that her husband only got a few houses down the road before he turned around and came back to the residence.
Forbus said the wife told him that she was on the back deck of the residence when her husband came back and that it appeared to her that Jody Raley and Weaver were going to engage in a fight.
The woman told the deputy she grabbed her son and took him inside the house so he would not see the two men fighting.
She said shortly after she and her son went inside that she heard “a loud bang.”
“[She] stated it was her son who told her that it was a gunshot,” Forbus said in his report.
The woman told the deputy that when she looked outside that Weaver was leaning over Jody Raley, who at the time was laying face up on the ground, and that Weaver yelled for her to call 911.
Forbus said in his report that a Smith & Wesson .40-caliber pistol with a magazine and one round in the chamber was recovered next to the victim’s right leg. A shell casing also was recovered at the scene of the shooting.
The evidence was secured by Deputy Brandon Towe.