According to reports from the Haralson County Sheriff’s Office, the body of Ophir Thompson was discovered Saturday by Haralson County Dep. Reggie Johnson, when a relative of the victim asked the sheriff’s office to check on his welfare after they had tried unsuccessfully to reach him by phone throughout the day.
Johnson arrived at Thompson’s home at approximately 10 p.m. Saturday night, where he found the victim on the floor, bound by duct tape and already deceased from what appeared to be blunt force trauma to the left side of his head.
The deputy reported that upon his arrival, all the lights were off in the home and glass was found on the floor inside, indicating that someone had forced entry. Johnson also found the front door unlocked, possibly from when the suspects left the scene.
Investigators Steve Moore and Bobby Thompson determined that the motive behind Thompson’s death was likely robbery, as a large amount of cash, firearms and a horse tack were found to be missing from the victim’s residence.
The sheriff’s office indicates that upon the discovery of Ophir Thompson’s body Saturday, the investigation began that evening and two arrests were made in connection to the death and thefts by Sunday morning.
“Investigators learned that Ronnie Duane Lewis, 29, of Bremen had lived with the victim previously,” the sheriff’s office reported in a press release. “Lewis was identified as a person of interest based on an item of clothing discovered at the scene of the crime. Investigators believe that after tying Mr. Thompson with duct tape, Ronnie Lewis beat his elderly victim to force Ophir Thompson to reveal the combination to his safe.”
More evidence was stacked against Lewis when one of his associates told the sheriff’s office that he had been asked by the suspect to store some of the stolen property.
Lewis was arrested at a home in Buchanan, Ga., and the investigation then turned to a known associate, Mickey Ray Mulder Jr., 26, of Tallapoosa.
According to the release, Mulder was apprehended from his residence in Tallapoosa and taken into custody on suspicion of being an accomplice to the crime.
“After speaking with Lewis and Mulder, investigators collected the shotgun that was used to beat and kill Ophir Thompson, which had been stored by the pair at a third location,” the sheriff’s office reports.
Lewis has been charged with several felony charges, including murder, armed robbery, false imprisonment, aggravated battery on the elderly, aggravated assault, theft by taking and theft by taking firearms.
Mulder is charged with theft by receiving and being a party to a crime.
“The very young and the very old are the most vulnerable among us and they deserve our protection,” said Sheriff Eddie Mixon in a prepared statement. “The older people of our county educated us, cared for us and should be able to enjoy peace and safety in the last years of their life. Anyone who could commit a crime like this, especially against a senior, is despicable.”
The sheriff’s office continues to search for missing items, though by Monday afternoon it was reported that a portion of the missing money and some other items had been recovered. At this time, no additional charges are expected.