Coach murder, wife arrest strongly impact community

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Officers found 34-year-old Steven Harley beaten to death in his Jenkins County home in late April.

Harley's wife Tracey Harley was arrested May 16. She and Rico Orlando Walker are now in jail, charged with murder.

Harley's death is taking its toll on dozens of children.

Steven Harley coached T-ball and football with the Burke County Recreation Department.

People there tell News 12 he really made a difference in the lives of children and was always willing to go the extra mile for his team.

"We were very shocked. It's been very disappointing for our department...and it's been very hurtful," says recreation director Rolene Rowell. She says Harley always tried to have a positive impact in the kids' lives.

"Steven was a funny guy, he was great with the kids, he was just such a nice person," says athletic manager Cory Dent. "He tried his best to make each kid have a good experience out here."

Dent says explaining the death to the team was tough.

And one of those kids Harley coached was his son.

"They'd go fishing and hunting and stuff like that. To me they had a real good bond," says Dent. "He's going to miss his dad."

Another group of kids also lost their teacher. Murder suspect Tracey Harley taught third graders at Blakeney Elementary and was in good standing with the school according to board representative Molly Banks. She spent Wednesday morning telling the children their teacher won't be back this year.

"This is a really surprising thing to happen to everyone," Banks says.

The death is also surprising for the rec department, where people knew both husband and wife.

"It was some bad news, and it was hard on everyone," says Dent.

"Our main concern here are the kids...his children were precious," Rowell says.

A death touching lots of young without a teacher, a coach, and a father.

The Georgia Bureau of Investigation has taken over the murder investigation. They arrested Rico Orlando Walker last Thursday, May 11, and Tracey Harley yesterday evening.

Officers have alluded to the possibility the two were involved, but the GBI won't release any more information because it is an ongoing investigation.