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Man accused of shovel slaying indicted by grand jury

POSTED: October 8, 2012 8:26 p.m.

An Effingham County man accused in the July 4 death of a relative has been indicted on three counts of murder by the grand jury.


Darrell Lovett, 51, of Clyo, also was indicted last month on one count of aggravated battery and two counts of aggravated assault. Authorities allege he struck Arthur Scruggs, 63, several times with a trenching shovel after the two got involved in an argument July 4.


Deputies were called to a house on Sam Smart Road at approximately 8 a.m. on July 4 on the report of an assault. According to Effingham County Sheriff’s reports, deputies found Scruggs inside the house. He was taken to Effingham Hospital, where he was pronounced dead. Reports at the time indicated the two men were related and Scruggs may have been staying temporarily at the house.


An elderly woman who lived at the house passed away from natural causes earlier that morning.


The grand jury also indicted four men in the reported armed robbery and shooting of a pizza deliveryman in August. Peter Johnson III, Joshua Buckner, Curdray Wimberly and a juvenile defendant were indicted on one count each of armed robbery, aggravated assault, theft by receiving stolen property and possession of a firearm in the commission of a felony.


Sheriff’s investigators said a pizza driver was called to a house on Mockingbird Drive in Springfield to deliver three pizzas. But when he got to the house, it was vacant, and there was no car in the driveway. The four suspects then ambushed the pizza driver, according to ECSO reports, and the juvenile fired a .380-caliber handgun at the driver. The bullet went into the boxes containing the pizzas, and the driver suffered minor injuries from shrapnel.


All four suspects were found within hours, each at a different residence.


Grand jurors also indicted Preston Turnbow, Brandon Turnbow and Francis Folgarait on 18 counts of burglary, stemming from the December 2011 break-up of an alleged ring. The three men are accused of forcing their way into homes and taking jewelry and electronics during daylight hours from homes across the county.


An indictment means the grand jury believes there is enough evidence for the case to go to trial.

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