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May 29, 2008


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Arrest made in death of Justin Wills
Family members say many questions left unanswered
BY ZACH MITCHAM
An arrest has been made in the case of a Madison County man found dead on the side of the road in Oglethorpe County in February 2006.
Able Watkins Jr., 49, of 50 Fairgrounds Road, Lexington, was charged last week with one felony count of concealing the death of another for allegedly dumping the body of Justin Wills, 23, Comer, on Wesley Chapel Road in Oglethorpe County. Watkins has been released on a $10,000 bond.
No foul play is suspected in the case.
“At this time, it is still considered a drug overdose,” said Jim Fullington of the Georgia Bureau of Investigation.
Fullington would not elaborate on how the investigators determined Watkins was connected to the death or why Watkins and Wills were together on the night Wills died.
While an arrest has been made in the case, family members say there are still many questions unanswered.
Gina Padgett, Wills’ sister, said the family may never fully understand what happened the night they lost their loved one.
“We have some answers, but I think there’s a little more to the story,” said Padgett. “We’re trying to come to terms with the fact that we may never know everything.”
Wills’ mother, Lynn, said her son had been working undercover with the Multi-Agency Narcotics Squad after legal problems related to a fight over a year before he died. She said she heard her son discussing undercover work over a speaker phone with a MANS agent, who urged her son to provide information that could lead to a drug arrest.
“It’s called cowboying,” she said of the practice of working undercover for drug agents.
Fullington said the GBI would not offer any comment on whether Wills was working undercover.
“We’re not confirming or denying that at all,” he said.
Wills said her son entered a dangerous drug environment trying to work for law officers. She said she feels that he may have been discovered as an informant by drug dealers and users and may have been the victim of foul play.
Wills said she doesn’t feel law enforcement accept the possibility that her son could have been targeted due to undercover work.
“They just don’t believe the other side of the story; and I do in my heart,” said Wills.
Padgett said her brother had drug problems in the past but that he was doing well shortly before he died. She said he had been down to about 145 lbs. but that his weight was back to about 210 at the time of his death. She said he was very excited about becoming a father. His daughter was born 11 days after his death.
“He had been clean for some time,” said Padgett.
The Wills family recently placed a monument at his grave in Hull.



 

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