New evidence emerges in a Georgia couple’s killing through a person doing magnet fishing, officials report

Someone using a magnet to fish for metal objects in a Georgia creek discovered a firearm and some of the lost things of a couple who were killed in the same place more than nine years ago.

The Georgia Bureau of Investigation stated that driver’s IDs, credit cards, and other items recovered from Horse Creek in rural Telfair County represent “new evidence” in a murder case that is currently pending trial.

A person who was magnet fishing in the stream on April 14 discovered a.22-caliber firearm, according to a GBI news release issued Monday. Two days later, the nameless person returned to the same location and discovered another bag with a cell phone, two driver’s licenses, and credit cards.

The agency stated that Bud and June Runion owned the licenses and credit cards. The couple was robbed and shot to death before their remains were recovered off a county road in January 2015.

Authorities say the pair, from Marietta, north of Atlanta, drove three hours to Telfair County to meet someone who offered to sell Bud Runion a 1966 Mustang.

A few days later, authorities arrested Ronnie Adrian “Jay” Towns on counts of armed robbery and murder. They claimed Towns enticed the pair to Telfair County by responding to an online ad put by Bud Runion, 69, looking for a classic car, despite the fact that Towns did not own one.

Georgia courts overturned Towns‘ first indictment due to issues with how the grand jury was selected, resulting in a lengthy legal struggle that ended in 2019. Towns was indicted for the deaths a second time in 2020, but the case was again postponed by the Covid-19 pandemic. He’s pled not guilty.

The decision by prosecutors to pursue the death penalty, which necessitates more legal hurdles before trial, has also likely hampered court proceedings.

Prosecutors plan to begin Towns’ trial as early as August, though no date has been scheduled, according to District Attorney Tim Vaughn of the Oconee Judicial Circuit, which includes Telfair County. He stated that the newly discovered evidence should prove valuable.

“It was a good case before,” Vaughn said Tuesday, “but this makes it even better.”

He stated that the rifle recovered from the creek is the same caliber as the gun used to kill the Runions, but detectives are still determining whether it was the weapon used in the crime.

The materials discovered in the creek also prompted investigators to get warrants to search a Telfair County residence, where they found additional evidence. The GBI’s statement provided no further information, and Vaughn declined to comment on what was discovered.


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