Funeral arrangements announced for elderly GA woman brutally attacked in home invasion

Suspects in Meriwether Co. beating death appear in court

MERIWETHER COUNTY, GA (WTVM) – Funeral arrangements for Dorothy Dow, the Georgia great-grandmother who was attacked and set on fire during a home invasion in early August, have been announced.

Dow's services will take place on Friday, Sept. 2 in the chapel of Claude A. McKibben and Sons Funeral Home in Hogansville, GA at 11:30 a.m. The family will receive friends on Thursday from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the funeral home.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to Grady Memorial Hospital Burn Unit, according to Dow's obituary.

Dow, 83, of Lone Oak, was attacked at her home on Aug. 4. She was beaten and then set on fire by four suspects searching for money. Law enforcement said she was able to make a positive identification of the suspects before being placed into a medically-induced coma.

Following her death, Justin Pierce, Cortavious Heard, Mina Ellery, and Angel Harmon, who were previously charged in the home invasion, were additionally charged with felony murder and malice murder.

Grady and Heard previously worked in the blueberry fields next to Dow's home and helped the family during harvest seasons.

All four suspects appeared in court on Wednesday on their new charges for the first appearance hearing for the two men and two women charged with Dow's murder.

One by one, they entered into a room inside the jail to hear this new charge and their constitutional rights.

No cameras or cell phone recording were allowed in the jail where the hearing was held Wednesday morning.

After the hearing, we spoke to one of her fellow church members and friends at Allen-Lee Memorial UMC.

For almost to 30 years, H.Y. Pete Johnson was a close friend and church member to Dow.

"She was good to be with," Johnson said. "I had a long telephone conversation with her about two weeks before this happened. She said you ought to send me church bulletin in the mail. She told somebody in the hospital, tell Pete for sending me that bulletin,"

Dow passed away on Saturday after battling severe burns, broken arms and fingers, and lacerations.

"My wife was really upset," Johnson said. "She couldn't sleep for two or three days. I was sad to hear it. Our Sheriff came to the Church on Sunday morning and talked to us as a group before service started."

Four of the five people involved face one count each of felony and malice murder charges as the judge read them their charges at the Meriwether County Jail.

"This was hearing to make sure the defendants are aware of their charges that they are charged with and that they do understand them and make them aware of their constitutional rights and rights to an attorney and explain to them of the preliminary hearing," said Shirlene Brown, Chief Magistrate Judge of Meriwether County

Showing little to no emotion, the suspects were led back to their cell in handcuffs.

Brown said the lawyer for one of the female suspects, Mina Ellery, already sent in the request to have her preliminary hearing in court on Sept. 21.

That's when evidence from the case will be presented to determine probable cause and sent it to Superior Court.

After the funeral, Dorothy Dow will be laid to rest next to her husband.

"Please keep the Dow Family in your thoughts, prayers and give them the respect that they deserve as they grieve the death of their loved one," Smith said. "Our agency through coordination with our district attorney's office will be pursuing the prosecution of those responsible for this heinous crime to the fullest extent of the law."

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