Murder suspect pleads guilty, sentenced to life in elderly man’s shooting death

One of three defendants charged with the January shooting death of an 86-year-old Elbert County man pleaded guilty to murder Tuesday in Elbert County Superior Court. William David Peterson of Athens, age 19 at the time of the shooting, was sentenced to life in prison by Northern Judicial Circuit Superior Court Judge R. Chris Phelps.
In court Monday, Peterson admitted he shot Otha Perrin six times with Perrin’s .22-caliber rifle. Under a negotiated plea agreement, Peterson will be eligible for parole after serving 30 years in prison.
Perrin’s granddaughter, Savanna Marie Jennings, age 19 at the time of the shooting, and Dakota Scott Street, 18 at the time of the shooting, both of Elbert County, have pleaded not guilty to murder, felony murder, malice murder, possession of a firearm during the commission of a crime, aggravated assault and concealing the death of another. Jennings and Street continue to await trial, presently scheduled for the week of August 13.
Jennings, who lived at her grandfather’s residence on Pearl Mill Road, originally reported to Elbert County Sheriff’s Officers on January 7 that Perrin was missing. The next day, another family member came to the Sheriff’s Office and said that “something isn’t right” about the missing person’s case.
During questioning, Jennings eventually broke down and admitted she had been deceitful in her answers, according to investigators. Perrin’s body was recovered January 8 from a pond on private farm property off Wahatchee Creek Road. Officers also recovered a .22 caliber rifle on the farm property near the pond where the body was recovered.

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