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DA recommends further incarceration

 On. Sept. 13, 1988, Aaron Elliot Wright met with 20-year-old Keith Melborne Brookins outside a barn in Bogart and shot him with a revolver before using an ax to sever his head and hands. Wright then placed his driver’s licenseon the victim’s body in hopes of faking his own death. He found a dumpster in Athens to dispose of the head and limbs. 

When then-Oconee County Coroner Bill Mayberry arrived to the murder scene, what looked like sand shrouding the victim’s body was actually an accumulation of fly eggs and larvae.

Within days, Wright was caught and charged with murder.

Fifteen months later, Wright and another inmate escaped from the Oconee County Jail by going through a shower fixture and threatening jailers with broken broom handles.

In subfreezing temperatures, Wright evaded arrest for four days by hiding in the trunks of cars and in another barn. 

“Bloodhounds, helicopters and many man hours on foot followed Wright from one sighting to the next,” The Oconee Enterprise reported at the time.

Wright was eventually found inside a barn when owners William and Jo Ann Keller went to feed their horses. They held him off with a child’s baseball bat but ended up making small talk and giving Wright a coat while deputies were en route. 

“He was so cold,” Jo Ann Keller recalled. “It was 14 degrees. He never tried to hurt us.”

Wright told the Kellers that he just wanted to see his mother for Christmas.

The next summer, the Kellers found a big rock in a pile of hay that shouldn’t have been there. They assumed Wright had kept that rock for protection. 

Dr. Neil Priest, who was Wright’s emergency room doctor upon his recapture, said Wright was screaming at the top of his lungs in agony due to frostbite on his feet. Both his feet were amputated.

On July 20, 1990, Wright pleaded guilty to the Brookins murder and was sentenced to life in prison plus 10 years for the escape. 

Wright, who is 51 years old and serving in Johnson State Prison in Wrightsville, is now up for parole. At the behest of Oconee County Sheriff Scott Berry, Western Judicial Circuit District Attorney’s Office has filed a formal opposition to Wright’s possible parole.  

For more on this story, see the Feb. 13 edition of The Oconee Enterprise, on sale now at convenience stores and grocery stores and newspaper boxes throughout Oconee County. To subscribe, call (706) 769-5175 or visit the tab on our website. 

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