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Runion murders: Supreme court sides with alleged killer

The Georgia Supreme Court voted 7-2 Oct. 21 to uphold a Telfair County superior court ruling dismissing all charges against Ronnie Adrian Towns. Towns had been charged with two counts malice murder, four counts of felony murder and two counts of armed robbery in connection with the January 2015 murders of Elrey and June McCord Runion. June Runion, 66, grew up on Grove Street in Barnesville and has extended family here. Elrey (Bud) Runion, 69, and his wife went missing after they traveled from their home in Marietta to the Jacksonville, Ga. area to purchase a 1966 Mustang on Jan. 22, 2015. They had a large amount of cash for the transaction with them. Prosecutors says Towns ran the Craigslist ad for the Mustang which did not exist in an attempt to lure victims for robbery. The Runions’ bodies were found four days later in a pine thicket. Each had been shot in the back of the head with a small caliber pistol. Their SUV had been submerged in a nearby pond. ’˜Jay’ Towns, from a prominent Telfair County family, was a suspect from the beginning and eventually arrested. A Telfair County judge threw out the charges against Towns in 2017 saying the grand jury that indicted him had not been properly assembled. The clerk of court there summoned 50 potential grand jurors from a list of 150 but only 16 reported. Twenty-three jurors were needed so the clerk called four whom she knew on the original list of 150 to court that day. The supreme court, with reservations, agreed to uphold the lower court ruling. Prosecutors, who have said they will seek the death penalty in the case, will now go back to a new grand jury seeking fresh indictments against Towns.

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