Boy, 16, To Face Murder Charges In Criminal Court On Triple Lookout Valley Slayings

Friday, August 22, 2014

A Lookout Valley youth who was 15 at the time of his alleged involvement in a massacre in the valley will stand trial as an adult.

Jacob Allison, who is now 16, was taken by the sheriff's office to the Hamilton County Jail after a transfer hearing in Juvenile Court on Friday morning.

Juvenile Court Judge Rob Philyaw said under state law he has jurisdiction over rehabilitation of defendants only until they turn 19.

In this case, he said, "It breaks my heart, but I don't think that can be done" (in three years).

He said, "This case is a tragedy for the victims and their families and for this young man and his family. This case is just about as serious as it gets."

Judge Philyaw set bond for Allison at $150,000 on each of three counts of first-degree murder and $75,000 on a charge of attempted first-degree murder.

Authorities said Allison was with 19-year-old Derek Morse and 22-year-old Skylar Allen on April 9 when three victims were each shot multiple times by two gunmen.

The lone 16-year-old survivor, Matthew Callam, said he heard one of the shooters say to the other, "Make sure they are all dead."

The victims were John F. Lang, 53; Caleb N. Boozer, 29, and Jon E. Morris, 24.

One victim was found sitting in a chair and another appeared to be trying to crawl under the rear of a motor home. The third dead man was in nearby woods. One of the shots to the man in the chair was to the left side of the head.

The 16-year-old said he was hit by one shot and he fled to his nearby home. Officers found him lying at his doorstep. He later was able to pick Morse out of a lineup as one of the shooters.

It was testified earlier that Morse had a grudge to settle against some of those at a group of campers on Kellys Ferry Road.

Murder charges were bound to the Grand Jury earlier against Morse and Allen.

Dennis McNabb, who earlier testified against Morse and Allen, on Friday identified Allison as "the young boy" he saw with the other two about 15 minutes before the gunfire broke out.

He said he saw Morse and the boy pull up in a black Nissan next door at the home of his daughter, who was living with Allen. He said they went inside briefly, then came back out with Morse and Allen both carrying rifles.

He said Allen "was grinning and carrying on. He was happy when he came out."

The witness said, "I knew they were going to get in trouble."

Asked why he did not call police, he said, "I didn't think they were that dumb." 

Prosecutor Cameron Williams said Allison was with the two when they had the guns, then with them at the murder scene and afterward, including at his grandmother's house in Trenton, Ga.

Judge Philyaw did not allow the playing of a statement Allison gave to sheriff Lt. Robert Starnes, saying there were issues about how it was obtained.

Allison's mother, Michelle Shavers, said she and her son moved to Lookout Valley last December after she split up with his father. She said they moved there "to get a fresh start.'

She said Derek Morse was friends with her nephew and had a child by her niece. She said Morse befriended her son and would take him to school and pick him up afterward. She said he would take him out to eat and to shop for clothes.

The mother said her son had trouble with his schoolwork and was in special education classes.

Assistant District Attorney H.C. Bright said an evaluation showed that Allison was not committable to a mental health institution.

He said he had one prior charge of disorderly conduct in Juvenile Court. Ms. Shavers said she called police after he refused to go to school. 

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