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Man sentenced to life in 2017 Crawford County deadly shooting, kidnapping

61-year-old Thomas Palmer pleaded guilty to malice murder in Crawford County Superior Court.

CRAWFORD COUNTY, Ga. — A Lizella man is facing life in prison in a 2017 fatal shooting and kidnapping.

According to a news release from the Office of the District Attorney Macon Judaical Circuit, 61-year-old Thomas Palmer pleaded guilty to malice murder in Crawford County Superior Court.

Palmer was sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of parole by a federal judge on Friday as part of a plea agreement.

The release says he must serve 30 years before being considered for parole.

CASE HISTORY

Deputies responded to a call in the 500 block of Berlyn Drive on April 7, 2017. The release says a family member called for help after finding 55-year-old Kenneth Hutcheson shot dead. 

Law enforcement later found that Hutcheson's girlfriend was due to appear in court the next morning to see a judge about restraining order against Palmer, her ex-boyfriend. 

She and Hutcheson spent the night somewhere else and went back to his house to change clothes before court, according to the release. 

Palmer went to the house during the night and waited for the couple to come back. 

RELATED: Thomas Palmer will face additional drug charges in Macon

Then Hutcheson's girlfriend heard a gunshot after walking up the house steps. When she turned around, the release says he was on the ground and Palmer had a gun. 

That's when Palmer hit her with the gun and forced her into Hutcheson's truck.

He held her against her will while they went to a store on Hartley Bridge Road, then to a house in Macon and later into Monroe County.

Palmer got out of the truck at a stop in Monroe County and the woman locked the doors and drove off inside of the truck.

She stopped at a convenience store nearby and called 911.

When Monroe County deputies when to the area where the woman was last seen, they found Palmer walking along the road there.

He is accused of shooting at the officers before he was arrested. 

The release says additional charges are pending in Monroe County against Palmer stemming from the shooting. 

RELATED: Thomas Palmer will face additional drug charges in Macon

 

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