A Fort Stewart soldier was identified but there still is no information regarding motive in a double stabbing incident that took place near the Cay Creek Wetlands Interpretive Center on Wednesday morning.
Kenneth Turner, 27, of Midway formally has been charged with one count of felony murder and one count of aggravated assault, Liberty County Sheriff Steve Sikes said during a press conference Thursday afternoon.
Sikes said the Liberty County Sheriff’s Office and the Midway police were notified of a possible stabbing at 10:06 a.m. Wednesday. When authorities arrived at the scene, they found Midway resident Benjamin O’ Neal, 60, unconscious and unresponsive. Sikes said O’ Neal was transported to Liberty Regional Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead from multiple stab wounds.
Turner, also at the scene, sustained a single stab wound and was airlifted to Memorial Health University Medical Center in Savannah. He was treated and later released to authorities. He currently is being held at Liberty County Jail.
Sikes said it appears that O’Neal had ridden his bicycle to Cay Creek. Turner’s vehicle was found parked at the scene.
Sikes and Chief Deputy Keith Moran confirmed that two knives were found at the scene. But when questioned on motive or how the two men knew each other, Sikes said they still are sorting through the evidence and could not comment on that portion of the investigation at this time.
“Most of that would be speculation on my part right now,” he said. “We are sorting through the evidence … and we are waiting on some results back from the crime lab.”
Sikes said O’Neal’s body was taken to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation lab in Augusta.
In the meantime, Turner already has had his first appearance before the magistrate judge and was denied bond. Sikes said they are working with the Criminal Investigation Division unit of Fort Stewart to gain background and information on Turner “as it pertains to this case,” Sikes said.
“First and foremost, I would like to extend our sympathy and prayers to the O’Neal family for their loss,” Sikes said to begin the press conference. “It’s a process but we are working on sorting this all out.”
Sikes said officers have spoken with Turner but could not elaborate, saying it’s an ongoing investigation.