Slain Appling dad was charged with domestic violence, cruelty

Published: Oct. 29, 2020 at 9:07 AM EDT
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APPLING, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - Telling investigators he was fed up with his mother being abused, a 15-year-old fatally shot his dad in the head, deputies say.

The father had been arrested on suspicion of domestic violence and cruelty to children, according to records from the Columbia County Sheriff’s Office.

The sheriff’s agency said deputies were called around 8:30 p.m. Wednesday to 3353 Gales Road for what was initially described as a CPR in progress.

In a second call from the same address, dispatchers were told “there was blood everywhere,” the sheriff’s agency said this morning in a news release.

Arriving deputies found Wesley Jordan Gales, 66, on the back porch with a gunshot wound to the head.

He lived at the home, where deputies also found his ex-wife, Deborah Gales, along with their 15-year-old son, according to the sheriff’s agency.

Deputies separated the mother and son and “heard spontaneous utterances which indicated that the victim had been shot by the son,” the sheriff’s agency said in the news release.

The son was interviewed and admitted shooting his father with a .22-caliber Marlin semiautomatic rifle, according to the agency.

The son was charged with murder and transported to youth detention, according to the agency.

“Son told investigators that he had enough of his father abusing his mother,” the agency said in the news release.

News 12 has decided not to publish the son’s name or booking photo due to his age and the abuse charges the father faced.

Incident reports over the past several years -- going back to 2011 -- show the Columbia County Sheriff’s Office had been called to the Gales residence many times for what the reports call “family trouble.”

Many of the incidents, according to the reports, started as arguments but ended with physical violence and law enforcement being called to calm the dispute.

In the most recent incident, sheriff’s records show the father had been arrested and booked into Columbia County jail on March 11 on charges of battery/family violence and cruelty to children in the third degree.

A deputy detailed what led to the arrest of the man described in the report as Deborah Gales' husband.

She said he’d been drinking and they got into a verbal altercation, the deputy wrote.

After she went to the bathroom to get some tissue, her husband threw a DVD player down the hall and the son went to pick it up, the report states.

She said her husband, using profanity, yelled to leave it there.

She said he then hit her in the left eye and face with his fist and pulled her into the hallway. She felt dizzy and fell down, and he kicked her forehead in an incident witnessed by the son, the deputy wrote.

The suspect gave a similar account and was arrested, the deputy wrote.

Deborah Gales refused to go to a hospital.

The teen, meanwhile, has since bonded out under a signature bond -- a type of bond that only requires a signature and agreement that he will not leave the area.

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