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Argument leads to fatal shooting in McDuffie County

THOMSON, Ga. - A McDuffie County woman's first appearance in court on charges of murdering her 77-year-old husband is scheduled for Thursday afternoon.

Helen Ansley is accused of shooting Fred Ansley Wednesday evening in the couple's home at 826 White Oak Road. Mr. Ansley was pronounced dead at 6:40 p.m. Wednesday, according to McDuffie County Coroner Rhusha Mack. He was shot once in the chest with a .22-caliber handgun, said Sheriff Logan Marshall.

A warrant, charging Mrs. Ansley with murder, was signed late Wednesday night by McDuffie County Associate Magistrate Fred Vergeer, The McDuffie Mirror has learned. Mrs. Ansley's bond hearing in front of Chief Magistrate Judge William Swan is scheduled for 4:30 p.m. Thursday at the McDuffie County Law Enforcement Center. Mrs. Ansley was taken into custody shortly after the shooting for questioning by sheriff's personnel and Georgia Bureau of Investigation Special Agent Tony Williamson.

An autopsy on her husband was scheduled for Thursday at the Georgia Bureau of Investigation Crime Laboratory in Augusta, Mr. Mack said. Mr. Ansley's body was found lying on the floor of a front room, a few feet from the front door.

Personnel from the McDuffie County Emergency Medical Services transported the victim's body to McDuffie Regional Medical Center, where it stayed overnight at the morgue. The body was to be taken to the crime lab Thursday.

Sheriff Marshall said the handgun believed to have been used in the shooting was recovered. The weapon was expected to be taken to the GBI Crime Lab for analysis, along with other evidence, which was collected by GBI Special Agent Crime Scene Specialist Steve Foster. Numerous photographs were taken inside the residence by Agent Foster and Coroner Mack.

A relative of Mrs. Ansley's, Steve Chaney, of Thomson, was arrested at the scene by Deputy Marc Coy on a charge of misdemeanor obstruction of a law enforcement officer. A warrant charging him with that offense also was signed by Associate Magistrate Vergeer.

Sheriff's Maj. Ronnie Williamson said Mr. and Mrs. Ansley reportedly had been arguing on and off all day on Wednesday and that it culminated with the shooting that night. He could not say at the time what the couple had been arguing about or why it ended in a shooting. Maj. Williamson was briefed about the shooting by Deputy Sgt. Mike Hobbs and Deputy Robert Hoffman.

The shooting remains under investigation by the McDuffie County Sheriff's Department and the GBI.

Web posted on Thursday, January 31, 2008

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