GA murder suspect extradited, will make 1st court appearance Wednesday

Troup Co. Sheriff's Office Full Press Conference
(Credit: Tesia Reed / WTVM)
(Credit: Tesia Reed / WTVM)
(Credit: Toygar Ayla / WTVM)
(Credit: Toygar Ayla / WTVM)

TROUP COUNTY, GA (WTVM) - A man wanted for murder in Georgia has waived his extradition in Mississippi and has been brought back to Georgia to make his first court appearance, where he will be charged with five counts of murder.

Thomas Jesse Lee, 26, arrived back in Georgia at about 7:30 p.m. by two Troup County, GA Sheriff's deputies, according to Troup County Sgt. Stewart Smith. 

Lee is accused of killing five people in a LaGrange home. He will make his first court appearance on Wednesday morning at 9 a.m. before Judge McWaters at the Troup County Government Center, Sgt. Smith said. 

In a press conference Monday night, Troup County Sheriff James Woodruff said that Lee was detained at a bus station in Tupelo, MS around 5 p.m. Lee made it to the bus station after a pastor at a church in nearby Alcorn, MS purchased him a bus ticket. Lee asked the pastor for the ticket to travel to Opelika, AL, where he has family in the Valley area. 

The vehicle he was driving in was found in Tennessee, and Troup County Sheriff's officials are working to bring the car back to Georgia. 

As he was traveling with Lee, he recognized him as a person who was wanted for murder in Georgia, and contacted Mississippi law enforcement. Lee was detained without incident. 

Woodruff said Lee was not traveling alone - the suspect had the family dog with him. The dog is now in the possession of the pastor, who is coordinating with the Burtron family to give the pet back. 

Woodruff credits the media and several posts on social media as one of the primary ways of catching him. 

Five people were found dead in a LaGrange home late Saturday night. 

Troup County Sheriff's Office Sgt. Stewart Smith confirmed on Feb. 1 that four of the victims were found shot in various rooms throughout the home, and a fifth victim died in a different manner.

The victim killed in a different manner was not the victim's wife, and an autopsy will reveal their cause of death. 

The victims found in the home were William Burtron, 69, Sheila Burtron, 68, Christie Lee, 33, Bailey Burtron, 16, and Iianna Green, 18. Four of the victims are related, and Thomas Lee is said to be the husband of Christie Lee.

The reasons for their deaths is unclear, but Woodruff said two of his investigators are en route to Mississippi to interview Lee.

Stay tuned for more developments. 

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