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Grand Jury Indicts Georgia Man Accused of Murdering Three People at Atlanta-Area Golf Course

Bryan Rhoden is seen in a Cobb County, Ga. jail mugshot.

Bryan Rhoden is seen in a Cobb County, Ga. jail mugshot.

A grand jury in Cobb County, Georgia on Friday returned a 15-count indictment against a man who prosecutors say murdered three people in cold blood and left their bodies at a golf club outside of Atlanta over the Fourth of July holiday weekend.

According to the General Bill of Indictment, Bryan Anthony Rhoden, 23, allegedly kidnapped two of the victims, gagging them and binding their hands with duct tape before throwing them in the bed of a Dodge pickup truck and transporting them to the Pinetree Country Club in Kennesaw where he fatally shot them. The third victim, Pinetree Director of Golf and former PGA player Gene Siller, was shot in the head and neck after venturing onto the tenth hole of the course to see why a truck was parked next to the sand trap and witnessing the crime that was in progress, prosecutors claimed.

A video screengrab from WXIA-TV shows the crime scene at the Pinetree Country Club in Kennesaw, Ga.

Police said victim Paul Pierson, who was the registered owner of the pickup truck, was shot in the back, buttock, leg, and arms while victim Henry Valdez was shot in the head. Pierson, 76, was from Topeka, Kan. Valdez, 46, was from Anaheim, Calif.

The indictment also alleges that Rhoden attempted to hide the firearm used in the murders with the help of another person.

“[S]aid accused did conceal the murder weapon while fleeing the crime scene and did solicit another individual to pick up the firearm so as to avoid apprehension and otherwise obstruct the prosecution of himself, contrary to the laws of said State, the good order, peace and dignity thereof,” the document stated.

In a statement to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, a spokesperson for the Cobb County District Attorney’s Office said it was not aware whether the person that allegedly helped Rhoden had been charged with a crime.

While authorities have not disclosed a possible motive for the kidnapping and murders, one of Valdez’s friends told the Journal-Constitution that the men — sans Siller — were all involved in the marijuana trade and all knew one other.

Rhoden, an aspiring rapper, was caught by authorities in DeKalb County the night of the killings in what court records describe as a drunk driving stop which involved several other vehicle-related charges.  When authorities came to suspect him in the triple murder, he was called to return to the Chamblee Police Department under the guise that he could recover a “significant amount of money” seized by the police during the original stop.  When he showed up under those false pretenses, he was taken into custody in connection with the murders, the Journal-Constitution said.

Chamblee is about twenty minutes north of downtown Atlanta.  According to court records, Rhoden lived in midtown Atlanta.

Rhoden is being represented by attorney Bruce Harvey, who told the Journal-Constitution that his client had not been given the opportunity to defend himself yet.

“This is only the first step on a long journey and the issues will be joined soon,” the veteran lawyer told the outlet.

Per the indictment, Rhoden was charged with three counts of malice murder, five counts of felony murder, three counts of aggravated assault, two counts of kidnapping with bodily injury, possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony and tampering with evidence. His bond hearing is currently scheduled for July 29.

Read the full indictment below.

[image via Cobb County Department of Corrections]

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Jerry Lambe is a journalist at Law&Crime. He is a graduate of Georgetown University and New York Law School and previously worked in financial securities compliance and Civil Rights employment law.