Beloved Glennville historian Bobby Kicklighter was murdered because the suspects hired by an inmate to kill a Correctional Officer, entered the wrong home. Bobby Kicklighter was found deceased in his home from gunshot wounds on Pinewood Lane in Glennville on Jan. 30, 2021.
On August 23, three people were charged in the murder investigation. Christopher Sumlin was charged with murder, home invasion-1st degree, aggravated assault, conspiracy to commit a felony (murder), tampering with evidence, party to a crime, hindering apprehension or punishment of a criminal, false statements or writings, elder abuse, possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony, and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.
Aerial Murphy was charged with conspiracy to commit a felony (murder), tampering with evidence, party to a crime, hindering the apprehension or punishment of a criminal, and false statements and writings.
Keisha Jones was charged with conspiracy to commit a felony (murder), tampering with evidence, and party to a crime.
On Aug. 25, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation also charged Nathan Weekes, 25, an inmate with the Georgia Department of Corrections, after their investigation found Weekes had participated in contraband smuggling at Smith State Prison. Weekes is charged with conspiracy to commit a felony (murder) and party to a crime in connection with the killing of Kicklighter. He is currently serving time for multiple counts of Armed Robbery. GBI says the investigation into contraband smuggling is related to the murder investigation.
Testimony provided in Tattnall County Superior Court on Sept. 29th, by GBI Agent Christian Johnson outlined a murder for hire plot involving Weekes and the other codefendants. Johnson said the intended victim was a Correctional Officer at Smith State Prison. The unidentified Correctional Officer still works at the prison.
Johnson said when the GBI arrived at the scene of the crime they found a side door kicked in and they found several .22 caliber shell casings at thescene. He said his agents were able to collect evidence due to the home security cameras. He said they also recovered a face mask on the roadway near the driveway. He said the mask had a name written on the tag. The mask was connected to Ariel Murphy’s grandmother who told authorities she loaned her granddaughter a vehicle the night of the murder. Johnson said they were able to do a DNA test on the mask which matched DNA taken from Sumlin, tying him to the scene.
Johnson said the Correction Officer was proactive in seizing large quantities of illegal contraband being smuggled into the Prison. Sumlin who was once housed at Smith State Prison knew Weekes and allegedly plotted with the other co-defendants to have the Correctional Officer killed.
The defendants moved forward with their murder for hire plot and thought they killed the Correctional Officer. Johnson said they were later stunned to hear that the Correctional Officer was reported to still be alive. “He was an unintended target,” Johnson said about Kicklighter being the victim of the vicious attack. Johnson added that the Correctional Officer once lived one house down from Kicklighter and both drove similar looking white pickup trucks. “And I will also add that now that we know a GPS was not used and the location of the address being quite dark in that area…he (Kicklighter) was an unintended target.”