GBI says CPD has the right to lead investigation into officer accused of murder

Updated: May. 15, 2019 at 7:19 PM EDT
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COLUMBUS, Ga. (WTVM) -Columbus police arrested one of their own, Sgt. William Talley, after the murder of 44-year-old Kelly Levinsohn.

She was shot and killed Saturday night in her home. Talley was a 17-year veteran with the department.

Now, some in the community are concerned it's a conflict of interest for CPD to investigate the case.

However, Columbus assistant chief of police, Gil Slouchick, said the reason why it’s not a conflict of interest is pretty simple.

“It’s not in the line of duty," Slouchick said. "[Talley’s] employment really had nothing to do with the other night.”

Fred Wimberly, special agent in charge of GBI’s Region 2, said CPD is fully in their right to handle the probe.

“They can do their own investigations," Wimberly said. "The perception is they’re a law enforcement agency just like any other law enforcement agency.”

He said he knows sometimes people have an opinion about who should or shouldn’t investigate a case.

“There is no requirement that they have to call in another law enforcement agency,” he said.

The GBI can't just take over a case.

“Under Georgia law, as an assisting agency, we can only respond to requests for assistance from several different entities," Wimberly said.

That means people like sheriffs, judges, district attorneys or the governor have the authority to call in the GBI.

Slouchick said they’re more than capable of handling this case in an unbiased way.

“Anytime we go out and investigate a case that involves a police officer, we investigate it like we would any other case,” he said.

Talley is in custody at Piedmont Columbus Regional Medical Center. He is on administrative leave.

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