Deputies say pond shooting victims "targeted"

By: Jonathan Martin Email
By: Jonathan Martin Email

March 29, 2007

AUGUSTA, Ga.---Two men and a woman are in jail after deputies say they robbed and killed one man and wounded another.

It happened yesterday near a pond off Bobby Jones Expressway in Augusta.

Investigators say robbery was the motive.

It's a story even investigators are calling miraculous. Two men were robbed, shot several times, then left to die. But one man lived to tell authorities what happened.

Now three people are in custody, charged with murder and aggravated assault.

Investigators say their plan didn't end as they expected.

The story starts in North Augusta. Authorities say one of the suspects, Lacy Barnard, picked up Jose Mochica and Eladio Gonzales from a bar there on Tuesday (March 27) and drove them to her home near a pond off Bobby Jones. Investigators say the two other suspects were waiting there, and the three robbed and shot Mochica and Gonzales multiple times, then left them for dead.

"We are trying to determine are there more victims out there of this type of incident," Sgt. Richard Roundtree said. "We know these individuals were targeted."

While Gonzales died, Mochica survived the gunshot wounds...even one to his head.

Before even being treated, he was able to give officers a physical description of the vehicle and the suspects. It was enough to track down the accused killers.

Sgt. Roundtree calls it a miracle.

"A person to survive three gunshot wounds throughout the night and most of the day, and then once discovered by law enforcement, be coherent enough to give a detailed statement of what happened, especially when he sat witnessing his best friend being murdered."

Authorities tell us they've recovered the weapon used: a 12 gauge shotgun.

Investigators say the female suspect knew one of the victims. As far as what type of relationship they had or why the suspects wanted to kill the two men, they're not sure yet.

Jose Mochica is in critical condition, but he is expected to recover.

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