An Atlanta man has been charged in the 2006 slaying of a 30-year-old Roswell mother of two whose body was found in an abandoned Forsyth County farmhouse.(click for map)
Sheriff Ted Paxton said Monday that Elijah Ames Britton, 39, faces one count of murder in the death of Octavia Nicole Atkins.
Britton is being held on unrelated charges in Clayton County, where authorities say he is a suspect in the disappearance and presumed death of a south Atlanta woman and a person of interest in the slaying of her husband.
A land surveyor discovered Atkins' body on Aug. 22, 2006, in the empty farmhouse. An autopsy indicated she died as a result of ligature strangulation.
Paxton said Monday that authorities did not find the item used to kill her. He declined to speculate on Britton's motive.
"I think he's a stone cold killer," Paxton said. "To say why, I don't know."
He said Atkins was last seen Aug. 19, 2006, when she dropped off her children, then ages 6 and 9, at her father's home in Norcross. She was supposedly going to meet a friend of her husband's, later identified as Britton.
Paxton said her car was found about a block from Britton's home off Metropolitan Parkway in southwest Atlanta.
Authorities identified Britton as a person of interest, Paxton said, and developed a case against him.
"In November of 2008 we were able to receive the results of DNA testing from a private lab, which has resulted now in the charges against Mr. Britton," Paxton said.
Atkins' husband, Deondre Shabazz, was eliminated from suspicion at the time of her death because he was in the Union City jail. He is now in Pennsylvania, where he is being held on federal charges, Paxton said.
Shabazz was reportedly an alleged member of the armed robbery gang known as the Daybreak Bandits and turned himself in a year before Atkins' death.
There were no signs Atkins was sexually assaulted, the sheriff said.
He said Britton will be brought to Forsyth County to appear in Magistrate Court on the murder charge.
Sheriff's Sgt. Bill Franco, who worked extensively on the case, said he is relieved the case may "bring some answers to the children so they'll know what happened to their mother since they'll be growing up without her."
"We can't bring her back, but at least we'll give some answers in what happened," Franco said.
Paxton said Britton is in Clayton County facing a kidnapping charge in connection with the May 2007 disappearance of Chastity Jones from her south Fulton County home.
Jones was tied to a tree, Paxton said, but escaped and identified Britton as her kidnapper.
She disappeared again in August 2008, a case authorities are investigating as a possible homicide, Paxton said.
"They do suspect foul play in that particular case," he said.
Before she went missing the first time, Jones told authorities she had last seen her husband, Brutus Jones, leaving their house with Britton, Paxton said.
Brutus Jones was later found slain in Union City.
Paxton added that he thinks Union City and Fulton County authorities are "looking at [Britton] very strongly as a person of interest" in Brutus Jones' death.