Man charged with murdering 3 people, unborn child in Schley County

Published: Jul. 18, 2022 at 3:05 PM EDT|Updated: Jul. 22, 2022 at 3:49 PM EDT
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ELLAVILLE, Ga. (WTVM) - A man is behind bars following the murder of three people, including a pregnant woman, in Schley County.

According to Schley County Sheriff Shane Tondee, officials received the call around 12:45 a.m. on July 18.

Deputies arrived at a residence on Ira Kelly Road in Buena Vista, where they found and arrested a male suspect identified as 37-year-old Jamie Leon Harris.

Upon entering the home, authorities discovered the bodies of three deceased family members -- a grandmother, her brother, and a granddaughter.

News Leader 9 spoke with many people who said they were shocked such a heinous crime happened in a small town. One woman expressed she was concerned about her and her kid’s safety.

“I actually went to school with some of the people in the family that were involved. So it’s just really sad. It’s heartbreaking,” said Viveca Jones, a family friend. “More than anything, it makes me worry about my kids and stuff and because I grew up here and nothing like that ever happened.”

The bodies were identified as 65-year-old Paula Kelly, 69-year-old Charles Brown and pregnant 23-year-old Lara Bullard. Harris and the deceased all lived together at the residence.

L-R: Lara Bullard, Charles Brown, Paula Kelly
L-R: Lara Bullard, Charles Brown, Paula Kelly(Source: Schley County Sheriff's Office)

According to officials, the suspect was in a relationship with Kelly. In addition, Brown was her brother, and Bullard was Kelly’s granddaughter.

The morning after the murders, many in the rural community, only 50 miles from Columbus, said they were shocked and confused.

“I’m kind of in shock a little bit because stuff like this doesn’t happen every day around here. But at the same time, if you notice, you know, there’s a lot of crazy stuff going on in the world right now.”

People in the area said the granddaughter had just posted invitations to her baby shower on social media shortly before the shooting.

Harris is charged with three counts of felony murder, aggravated assault, and one count of feticide.

News Leader 9 also spoke with the Mayor of Ellaville, Leah Clark, who said she knows the family.

“I just want to ask everybody to pray for him. I mean, it’s, it’s a hard world out here right now, and it’s scary, and there’s a lot of unknowns going on, and just everybody needs to pray for each other,” expressed Clark.

There is no word as of now on the motive for this crime. However, the family has asked for privacy at this time.

This case is still under investigation. Anyone with information regarding this case, contact the Georgia Bureau of Investigation at 229-931-2439.

A bond hearing was held Tuesday July 19 for Harris - his bond was denied and the case was deferred to Superior Court.

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