Parents come home to find son dead; teenage neighbor accused

By: Stephanie Baker
By: Stephanie Baker

14-year-old Johnny Thai Dinh is behind bars.

He's accused of killing 20-year-old Rodney Wayne McGhee, Jr.

The shooting happened Wednesday night, May 3, on the 1500 block of Keron Way in Hephzibah.

News 12's Stephanie Baker spoke to the grieving family.

Rodney McGhee Jr.'s parents say they drove past someone lying on the road.

When they stopped, they found out it was their son...

And investigators say the killer is the McGhees' next-door neighbor.

The whole family gathered Thursday, tearfully remembering 20-year-old Rodney McGhee, Jr.

Rodney McGhee, Sr. sat at the end of the long driveway near the crime scene, remembering what he saw as he drove by.

"I told my wife, 'There's someone laying on the road.' I put it in reverse, backed up, and it was my son," he says.

His wife, Tina, says, "I got out and tried to see him and everyone was pulling me away."

Rodney Jr. was killed by what deputies say was a gunshot wound to the chest.

Some neighbors found him first and made the 911 call Wednesday night. Investigators say they found the murder weapon, a .22 caliber handgun, at the scene. And witness testimony led them to arrest 14-year-old Johnny Thai Dinh...McGhee's next-door neighbor.

"Right now he has been charged with murder," says Sgt. Richard Roundtree with the Richmond County Sheriff's Office. "He's a juvenile, but under the seven deadly sins, he is charged as an adult."

Sgt. Roundtree says the two boys may have gotten into a fight Wednesday afternoon.

Rodney Sr. says it all started when he and his son got home from work. Rodney Jr. went off with friends, while the parents headed for the store.

"I saw the boy sitting out here when I got ready to leave...but I didn't think nothing about it," Rodney Sr. says.

But upon returning home, they pulled off the road to find their frantic neighbors...and their son's body.

Investigators say they are still working to establish what kind, if any, relationship there was between the suspect and the victim.

McGhee's father says they didn't know each other...officers say that's still under investigation.

Each year, there are between 20,000 and 25,000 murders in this country.

Handguns are involved in over half of them, and nearly 25 percent of the murders go unsolved.


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