Updated Friday, 8 a.m.
The second man suspected in R.J. Statler's killing, the apparent result of a botched robbery attempt, is a transient to the area, Cartersville police told The Daily Tribune News.
“Well, we know for sure that their statements—the suspects’—that robbery was the key to that,” Officer David Bojczuk said. “During the day, there was motive [for the suspects] to rob someone and [Statler] was at the wrong place at the wrong time.”
Updated 5 p.m.
As police this afternoon announced an arrest in a homicide case Chief Tommy Culpepper called a “true whodunit,” they were seeking a second man suspected in the Dec. 16 killing of Cartersville resident R.J. Statler, 28, at Sun Glo Car Wash.
Authorities last night arrested Brettney Anwarr Moore, 26, of Cartersville, at his Akron Street home on charges of murder and two counts of armed robbery in connection with the late-night, single shot that killed Statler as he washed his truck after a day of “mudding” with family and friends.
“This is a person, in my opinion, who has little regard for others around him and the community is better off with this person incarcerated,” Culpepper said of Moore during a press conference.
Moore and a second man were “hurting for money” and randomly targeted Statler, a former construction superintendent who was due to start a new job the Monday following his death, police say.
“They just seen [Statler] standing there and decided they were going to rob him,” lead investigator Officer David Bojczuk said, adding authorities aren’t sure if Statler had any cash, but believe the suspected robbers stole his cell phone, which may have been the only valuable taken in the alleged robbery.
Police during the last week re-interviewed witnesses who came forward with additional information, which led investigators to review surveillance tapes and identify additional people in the area when Statler was allegedly robbed and shot, according to Bojczuk and Culpepper.
Neither Moore nor the second suspect knew Statler or had any connection to him, investigators believe, until Statler’s evening stop at the Martin Luther King Jr. Drive car wash. He was found lying next to his truck in the car wash stall about 11 p.m., about three hours after he was shot once in the head.
“Over the years, since I’ve been here, since 1978, there’s been some drug activity, some violence, some burglaries [in that area],” Culpepper said of the portion of Cartersville’s North Towne neighborhood. “There’s been some [criminal] activity in that area, but it comes and goes, depending on how populated that area is.”
When Statler was killed, CPD had just vacated its former North Towne station, which is next door to the car wash.
“What we’ve done is heightened our patrols around there,” Culpepper said. “We’ve done some other things. We have a drug task force that does a lot of the clandestine work for us. They’re aware of that area. They’re staying on top of things.
“We’re continuing to stay active in the area. We haven’t forgotten about that area and understand that people who live in that area will be concerned about this.”
While police declined to release any information about the second suspect, indicating an arrest may come soon, Moore has been convicted of previous felonies, including drugs, aggravated assault and cruelty to children.
One of the two also is suspected in a robbery or theft that occurred just prior to Statler’s death, Bojczuk said.
Described as sweet, kind, loving and hard working, Statler grew up in nearby Canton and in 2002 graduated from Cherokee High School, near the park at which many of his friends would hold a candlelight vigil in his honor.
Moore is in jail, pending an initial court appearance.
Cartersville police have arrested a Cartersville man in connection with the Dec. 16 fatal shooting of R.J. Statler at the Sun Glo car wash in Cartersville.
Following months of investigation including numerous tips and leads, police charged Brettney Anwarr Moore, 26, of Cartersville, with murder and armed robbery, Chief Thomas N. Culpepper said in a news release.
Police are continuing the investigation and are seeking a second individual in connection with the murder. They say when information becomes available on the second suspect, it will be released.
"Our investigators and officers have been vigilant on this case following every possible lead no matter how large or small," Culpepper said. "Persistence and hard work have paid off. The citizens of Cartersville can be very proud of these officers and their efforts to bring this tragic situation closer to a resolution.
"On behalf of the Cartersville Police Department, I continue to offer our sympathies to the family and friends of Mr. Statler."
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