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Assistant Principal Is Among 4 Charged With Murdering 3 in Georgia in 2013


More than a decade ago, two men and a woman were lured to a home in Jonesboro, Ga., outside Atlanta, where they were forced inside at gunpoint, tortured and killed, the authorities said.

About a day later, a police officer found the victims’ bodies in one of their cars, a Dodge Charger, which had been abandoned on an exit ramp off a highway in Union City, Ga., according to court records, about 14 miles northwest of Jonesboro.

All three victims — Cheryl Thompson, 32, Quinones King, 33, and Rodney Cottrell, 43 — had been strangled sometime around Jan. 12, 2013, the records state.

Last week, 11 years after the killings, the authorities in Clayton County, Ga., said that four men — Kenneth Thompson, 49, Keante Harris, 45, Kevin Harris, 51, and Derrell Adams, 31, — had been arrested on charges of murdering all three victims.

One of the men, Keante Harris, was an assistant principal at McAdory Middle School in McCalla, Ala., according to John Huddleston, a spokesman for the Jefferson County school district in Alabama.

The district’s superintendent, Dr. Walter B. Gonsoulin Jr., said in a statement that the district was aware of Mr. Harris’s arrest on May 8 and that it was gathering facts about the situation.

Dr. Gonsoulin said that early indications suggested that the charges against Mr. Harris were not related to his employment in the school system. He added that Mr. Harris had been placed on administrative leave and that “as more facts become available, we will act according to our district’s policy.”

It was not immediately clear whether Mr. Harris had a lawyer, and he could not be immediately reached at phone numbers listed under his name. Jefferson County jail records indicate that he is being held without bond on a charge of being a fugitive from justice.

WBMA, a local news outlet in Birmingham, Ala., reported that Mr. Harris made his first court appearance this week and that he had agreed to be extradited to Georgia. An indictment indicated that he and the three other defendants each faced three counts of malice murder.

In a statement, the Clayton County Sheriff’s Office credited Chief Kevin Roberts of the Clayton County Police Department and his investigators with solving the case and gathering enough information to secure grand jury indictments.

The statement did not elaborate on the evidence that had led to the charges or disclose a motive for the murders. The Clayton County Police Department referred questions about the case to the Clayton County district attorney’s office, which said it did not comment on open cases.



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