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3 arrested in shooting death

Three men are being held in the shooting death of a 24-year-old Thomson resident, authorities say.

Michael Ayers, the special agent in charge of the Georgia Bureau of Investigation Region 7 Office in Thomson, said the suspects have been charged with murder and possession of a firearm during the commission of certain crimes.

Agent Ayers identified them as:

Dexter Jones, 21, of the 3500 block of Augusta Manor Apartments, off Mike Padgett Highway in south Augusta;

Calvin Curtis, 19, of the 1000 block of Nathan Jones Circle, Harlem; and

Jatheus Bennett, 17, of the 2800 block of Pine Forest Drive, Dearing.

They were being held in the McDuffie County Law Enforcement Center.

Sheriff Logan Marshall said the men are believed to have shot Kenneth Johnson shortly before 10 p.m. Sunday. The shooting took place on Greenbrier Road, not far from where the victim lived.

Mr. Johnson was taken by private vehicle to the emergency room of McDuffie Regional Medical Center in Thomson.

He later was flown by helicopter to Medical College of Georgia Hospital in Augusta, where he died at 2:21 a.m. Monday, Coroner Rhusha Mack said.

An autopsy was to be performed Tuesday at the GBI Crime Lab in Augusta to determine how many times Mr. Johnson was shot.

Sheriff Marshall said the victim was shot at least once in the upper torso.

Authorities have not said what might have led to the shooting.

"We're not going into any details," Sheriff Marshall told reporters gathered at the law enforcement center for a press conference Monday night.

The case is being investigated by the McDuffie County Sheriff's Office and the GBI.

Ashley Peebles, a longtime friend of Mr. Johnson and his wife, Crystal, who is several months' pregnant, said she was shocked when she heard the news.

"It's very shocking, especially with Christmas right around the corner," Ms. Peebles told The McDuffie Mirror . "He was a husband and a daddy. I never thought he would meet his death like this."

Mr. Johnson was a construction worker, Ms. Peebles said.

Sheriff Marshall praised the diligent efforts of his investigators, Larry Adaway and Al Reeves, deputies and GBI special agents.

Those involved in helping investigate the homicide case with the GBI included: Assistant Special Agent In-Charge Pat Morgan, Special Agents Steve Foster, Doug Parker, Jamie Skelton, Woody Boyd and Tony Williamson.

The sheriff attributed the arrests to "good police work."

Web posted on Thursday, December 23, 2010

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