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A Georgia man is accused of killing his mother and stepfather in front of his younger siblings just three days after Christmas.
Deputies from the Oconee County Sheriff's Department were called to a home in Watkinsville — about 10 miles south of the University of Georgia in Athens — a little after midnight on Tuesday for a report of a shooting, according to a press release from the Oconee County Sheriff’s department.
“On arrival, 2 adults were found inside the home deceased from apparent gunshot wounds,” the press release states. “2 juveniles were also located in the home unharmed.”
The suspect, 20-year-old Peyton Moyer, had already fled the scene in one of the victim’s vehicles when first responders arrived at the home.
Members of the Athens Clarke County Police were able to track him down and arrest him “after a short pursuit,” according to the sheriff’s department.
They identified the shooting victims as Moyer’s mother Ashley Schutza, 41, and Benjamin Smith, 54, Moyer’s stepfather. Oconee County Sheriff James Hale told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that the two juveniles at the scene were Moyer’s 16-year-old and 4-year-old sisters. They were not physically harmed during the shooting.
Because of the presence of his younger siblings during the shooting of his parents, officials charged Moyer with one count of cruelty to children in addition to the two counts of murder he faces in the deaths of Schutza and Smith.
It’s not clear if Moyer has a lawyer, and he remains behind bars without bond.
Investigators have not released information on a possible motive behind the killings but noted that Moyer lived at the home with the victims and the survivors before the shooting. The case still remains under investigation.
"Our thoughts and prayers are with the family and friends of the victims," the sheriff's office stated in their press release.
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