The state of Georgia will seek the death penalty against Kenneth Lumpkin for his alleged involvement in the murder of Lori Arrowood in September 2010.
Arrowood went missing from her home off John Wells Road on Sept. 25, 2010, prompting an intensive communitywide search that led to the discovery of her body a few days later near Tower Road in Long County.
During the initial investigation, Lumpkin, a former Liberty County corrections officer, was arrested after being interviewed by authorities for several hours. Lumpkin was indicted in Liberty County Superior Court and was being held in jail without bond until his trial.
Since then, however, Atlantic Judicial System District Attorney Tom Durden said new information prompted his office to re-indict the case in Long County.
“There were — and I can’t get into the details of an open investigation — but there was some information we found out as we went on with the case that caused us to re-evaluate where the case was filed,” Durden said.
Lumpkin was indicted on counts of malice murder, felony murder, aggravated assault, kidnapping with bodily injury and contributing to the death of another.
On Tuesday morning, the DA’s office took the first step toward a capital-punishment trial by filing proceedings in Long County Superior Court establishing the state’s intent to seek the death penalty.
Durden explained that Georgia law gives his office the authority to seek the maximum punishment allowed by law in accordance with Georgia Code 17-10-30, Article 2.
“As you know from the filing this morning … we are seeking the maximum punishment on three grounds,” Durden said. “One, that the offense was committed while the offender was in the commission of kidnapping with bodily injury. Secondly, it was committed while he was in the commission of aggravated battery upon the victim, and thirdly, that it involved depravity of mind and cruel and inhumane treatment of the victim.
“The Supreme Court has noted that any murder has a certain amount of torture involved whether it’s physical or mental. … In a way, there are no winners in these cases,” he said.
Tuesday’s proceeding before Long County Superior Court Judge C. Paul Rose was the first step the state needed to take in the process, Durden added.
“Today we started the procedure and it will move more slowly, it seems, than some cases, but that is to make sure that all the I’s are dotted and all the T’s are crossed in a case like this,” he said.
Jim Grey, the district attorney’s office chief investigator, officially presented the state’s notification to Lumpkin and his public defender, Brandon Clark, in court.
Showing no emotion, Lumpkin looked briefly at the document before lightly tossing it on the table beside him.
According to news reports, Lumpkin supposedly was a longtime friend of Arrowood. He reportedly had been doing handiwork at her residence the day she disappeared.
Clark informed the court that Lumpkin’s representation must be transferred to a public defender from Atlanta who is qualified to defend capital cases. Once the attorney is appointed, the first hearing will be held sometime after the new year.