A short-attention-span nation obsessed with cop-u-drama shows such as CSI and Law and Order often is lulled into thinking that all crimes leave loads of easily decipherable clues leading to arrests within the allotted hour.
The real world doesn't work so neatly. Sometimes an arrest takes 15 years.
Such is the case with last week's arrest of Douglas Wayne Toney. The Lincolton, Ga., man was just 19 years old when deputies say he shot 29-year-old Faxton Lamar Powell in the abdomen with a .45 caliber weapon Sept. 27, 1992.
Powell was left to die beside the road near Pumpkin Center, where he was found by a passerby. Few clues and no murder weapon were found, and the trail of the case grew steadily colder as the years passed.
Some of the credit for reheating the investigation goes to WJBF-TV 6, which featured the murder in a "cold case" story by reporter Renita Crawford. Publicity for the case helped solicit a few tips and leads. From there, Columbia County Sheriff's Office investigators Sgt. Frank Dodson and Senior Investigator Wynn Howard worked relentlessly into Toney's arrest last Tuesday.
"The sheriff's message to the citizens of Columbia County is, we don't forget the victims of these heinous crimes, nor do we forget their families," Capt. Steve Morris told News-Times News Editor Preston Sparks, who had also featured the unsolved murder in a story seven years ago. "We will continue to pursue these investigations in hope of bringing them closure and bringing the guilty to justice."
Toney, charged with murder, malice murder and possession of a weapon during the commission of a crime, is being held without bond at the Columbia County Detention Center.
He's there thanks in part to help from the public, shaken loose with reports from the media. But mostly he's there because of good, old-fashioned police work - the kind that almost always takes longer than an hour, and doesn't take commercial breaks.
The Columbia County News-Times ©2013. All Rights Reserved.