Three men have been charged with murder and aggravated assault in connection to the July 16 shooting death of 19-year-old Watkinsville resident Joseph Kendall Jackson. The Oconee County Sheriff’s Office is pursuing a fourth suspect as of Thursday early afternoon.

Those arrested are Ryan Timothy O’Neal, 18; Akhemu Dunston, 18; and Quentin Dunston, 19. All three suspects live in Athens and the latter two are brothers. 

Sheriff Scott Berry declined to discuss the murder weapon, other than to say it was a firearm.

“If you are a part of a killing, even though you don’t pull a trigger, you are guilty of murder,” he said.

Berry described the events leading up to the shooting as a drug transaction. A firearm was discharged from inside a vehicle, causing the glass of a side window to shatter. Pieces of that window became important evidence in the investigation, said Berry.

“We had to keep a lot of evidence close to the vest,” he said. “We knew early on there would be multiple defendants.”

The Sheriff’s Office had assistance from the FBI Safe Streets Task Force, UGA Police and Wilkes County Sheriff’s Office, among other law enforcement agencies.

The FBI was called on day one, said Berry.

“They are aggressive, hard-working FBI agents,” he said. “We are proud of them. We are proud of everyone. I am exceptionally proud of my people.”

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