AVOC.info
Quick-Search:    

Advanced Search


4-9-07 Unsolved Murder of Oconee County Teenager in August 1970 - PART 1

No one was ever arrested. Sources close to the case feel they know who was responsible but did not have evidence sufficient for charges. The perpetrator(s) appeared to know Debra and knew the family schedule and the fact that Steve was handicapped and could not articulate the information.

 

AVOC

.

April 7, 2007

.

Unsolved Murder of Oconee County Teenager in August 1970

.              

By Wendell Dawson, Editor, AVOC, Inc

.

 

In July 1970, I opened my law office at Court and Main Streets in Watkinsville.  On the afternoon of August 24, 1970, I remember a siren and ambulance speeding North along Main Street headed to St Mary’s Hospital in Athens.   Close behind was an automobile driven by a man later learned to be Donald Ashe, father of Debra Ashe, the 14 year old girl who was violently beaten with a rifle stock at her home just before noon that day.

.

Later in the day, the community learned that a brutal attack on a 14 year old girl took place that morning at her residence on Price Mill Road in Bishop.   It was a couple of days before her death occurred and the details started to leak out.   Leaks were not too common then because Oconee County Sheriff Charles Holcomb was able to keep things close to his chest.

.

The Community reacted with shock, grief and anger at the brutal attack on the young girl.   Her parents were hardworking, honest folks who had long lived in Oconee County.  Both parents were at work that morning.  Debra Ashe was attacked in the presence of her handicapped younger brother who was not able to tell the investigators much.  

.

Law enforcement personnel poured into Watkinsville.  GBI Agents Van Worthy and Choyce Johnson were two of the investigators.   Reports of an automobile seen near the scene led to a thorough search of the Oconee County Tag files.

.

As the investigation wore on, Sheriff Holcomb went to the Capitol and met with Governor Lester Maddox.  The Governor sent extra GBI agents to Watkinsville.   For days and weeks, there was much rumor, tension and coming and going to the Oconee County Courthouse.   Some of the interrogation took place on the courtroom floor. The GBI agents used the office next to the Clerk of Superior Court, formerly occupied by the Sheriff.

.

No one was ever arrested.   Sources close to the case feel they know who was responsible but did not have evidence sufficient for charges.   The perpetrator(s) appeared to know Debra and knew the family schedule and the fact that Steve was handicapped and could not articulate the information.   It is believed that he reacted in a loud manner at the brutal attack that he witnessed.   His face bore a hard slap imprint from the attacker.

.

Many county residents who remember that day and its awful events have not forgotten it.   Somewhere, a killer walks free- possibly in this area of the state.   However, one wonders how free their conscience is as they remember this awful deed.   It should haunt the perpetrator to their grave(s).

.

Crime Magazine carried the story.   My copy became faded before it was copied digitally.   The copy appears below along with a status report that appeared in the Oconee Enterprise at the time.

.


Debra Ashe Investigation Report –Oconee Enterprise -9-2-1970

.

The Oconee Enterprise

.

September 2, 1970

.

Checking Leads

.

Sheriff’s Report

.

No new leads were reported by Oconee County Sheriff Charles Holcomb in the investigation into the murder of 14-year-old Debra Ash of Bishop.

.

Sheriff Holcomb, his deputies, and GBI officers Choyce Johnson and Van Worthy have worked intensively checking out leads and information they have received.

.          

The Sheriff appealed for information from anyone who a might contribute to the investigation. He asked that all re information be told only to in the sheriff.

.

Already, many leads have been thoroughly checked out, and the Sheriff's Department - continues to investigate all possible clues.

.

Miss Ash died Aug. 26 after being beaten with a gunstock in her home. Her younger brother, a partial invalid was believed to have been in the house at the time of the incident.

.

Sheriff Holcomb said that an unidentified automobile was observed at the Ash residence at the time of the incident. There is no further report on the origin of this vehicle.

.

Late Wednesday the possibility of sexual assault was eliminated based on findings by the state crime laboratory. The theory of sexual assault has been previously substantiated by the disclosure that the victim had been found partially clothed.

.

In addition, authorities have so far determined that nothing was taken from the Ash residence, apparently ruling out the possibility of robbery as a motive.


Crime Magazine

     Ca 1974

.

HE WITNESSED HIS SISTER’S MURDER

BUT CAN’T DESCRIBE WHAT HE SAW

.

BY ANDREW BERUN

.

Ironic twist in the events of the Fatal day was the absence of the elderly man who normally sat on his porch. (nearby)

.

Had he not been taken ill, the witness would have seen who was in the mysterious blue car that was seen outside the slain girl’s home during the time she was bludgeoned to death.

.

This quirk of fate was one of the many which turned the crime into one of the most puzzling to be probed in Georgia.

.

Round-the-clock check for clues by GBI Agent Worthy and his colleagues turned up at least 1,500 suspects in the baffling beating of the school girl.’

.

.

            Setting for a violent murder

.

            The historic county of Oconee, Georgia, derives its name from a small tribe of Indians who once roamed the woods in the’ southeastern section of the Peach State. Today, the Indians are gone, but much of the forest remains.

           Oconee is as yet a relatively unpopulated area, although it is beginning to get some spillover from Clarke County and the city of Athens to the north, where is located the University of Georgia. The only towns of any size in Oconee County are Watkinsville, the county seat, and Bishop, just a few miles to the southwest.

.

SEE PART 2 FOR REST OF CRIME MAGAZINE ARTICLE



Quick-Search: