Columbus Murder Suspect Pleads Not Guilty

By Lindsey Connell - bio | email | Twitter

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) -  Dustin Horton was silent and emotionless in Columbus Recorder's Court Monday afternoon as investigators revealed what led them to charge the 21-year-old Russell County man with murder.

Columbus detectives say multiple witnesses identified Horton as the suspect in the murder of 36-year old-Scott Drago in the parking lot of the Waffle House on Veterans Parkway.

After a brief argument in the parking lot, Horton admits he went inside the restaurant and lured the victim back outside with the intention of fighting him.

Horton says when they got out in the parking lot, things were calm at first and they even talked about how they are both National Guardsmen. But Horton tells police when he saw Drago ball up his fist, he punched him in the face and left with his friends.

Drago landed on a concrete slab after the blow, leaving him with a fractured skull and bleeding on his brain that led to his death Sunday.

When he was questioned by authorities, Horton told them he was sorry for what happened and claims he had been drinking and blacked out at the time of the crime. He also tells investigators he felt pressure from his friends to fight Drago.

Neither the suspect or victim's family would comment to WTVM outside of court today but a friend and coworker of Scott Drago says this of the Fort Benning contractor and former Lee County Sheriff's Deputy:

"He had an impact on everyone that he came in contact with. He is sorely missed by everyone with whom he was associated. A truly great American that I will miss very much."

Dustin Horton is being held without bond in the Muscogee County Jail.

His case has been bound over to Superior Court.

Funeral services for Scott Drago are scheduled for Friday in Columbus.