UPDATE: GBI investigating fatal beating of 75-year-old in Lincolnton

A 75-year-old man was killed in Lincoln County over the weekend. (WRDW-TV)
A 75-year-old man was killed in Lincoln County over the weekend. (WRDW-TV)

News 12 at 6 o'clock / Sunday, Dec. 9, 2012

LINCOLNTON, Ga. -- Neighbors tell News 12 the whole community is shaken up, but they're hoping to get some answers soon, because in a small town, everybody talks.

“There's no secrets in small communities, and Lincoln County's no exception to that,” Sheriff Gerald Lawson said.

That’s the hope of the sheriff and the rest of the community, so they can find out who murdered 75-year-old Hamp Turner.

“Hamp has a lot of people that know him,” said friend and former employer Price McWhorter.

“Yeah, I knew Hamp. He always sat up here at the old country store, and he would greet people as they come in,” said friend Raymond Arnett.

While he brought happiness to many, his death has brought just as many tears.

“My family's tore up. My wife, last night, we stood in the kitchen and cried. My children have cried,” McWhorter said.

Turner's body was found in the woods next to his house Saturday afternoon.

Sources say he may have been hit with an ax, but investigators could not confirm that.

Sheriff Lawson knew right away that something was odd.

“Realized that this probably was an unusual case. This was not a normal death,” Lawson said.

While he was alive, Hamp was no ordinary neighbor. He was featured in a book about the community.

“Hamp was interviewed in this book and his picture was in the book. Which, there wasn't a lot of pictures in the book, so that put him on up the ladder a little bit right there in the status around here,” Arnett said.

Now the picture in this book is all the community has left, and they want answers for what they're calling a senseless crime.

“It's hard to explain what would make a person in this world that mean to take somebody's life who seemed to be so happy,” McWhorter said.

“As a sheriff, I hope we come up with something soon, very soon, but again, it just takes time and patience. You want to make sure you've dotted all your 'I’s' and crossed all your 'T’s,'" Lawson said.

“Everyone knows him, so it'll be a shock when we find out exactly who done it,” Arnett said.

This is Lincoln County's first murder of the year.

The sheriff says the county hasn't seen one in several years.

There are no arrests, and the GBI would not comment on any suspects.

Saturday, Dec. 8, 2012

LINCOLNTON, Ga. -- Lincoln County deputies and the GBI are investigating a homicide in Lincolnton Saturday afternoon.

GBI agents told News 12 that 75-year-old Hamp Turner was killed at a home on the 4000 block of Highway 220 East in the Double Branches area.

Agent Michael Ayers says it happened around 3 p.m. after Lincoln County deputies received a 911 call from a neighbor.

The GBI would not comment on the injuries but said the victim had injuries to his head.

Sources say the man may have been hit with an ax, but investigators could not confirm that.

This is the county's first homicide in 2012, and Sheriff Gerald Lawson says this is the first in several years.

The GBI would not comment on any arrests or suspects.

Stay with News 12 as we continue to follow this story.

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