A 19-year-old Oconee resident died this week from injuries sustained from an attack outside his residence near the corner of Whippoorwill Road and Cumberland Drive.

The Oconee County Sheriff’s Office is investigating the death of Joseph Kenall Jackson, 19, as a murder, said Sheriff Scott Berry.

Deputies received a 911 call close to midnight on July 17 that Jackson had returned home with significant injuries. Jackson was transported to Piedmont Regional Hospital. 

An autopsy was performed on Thursday at a GBI Crime Lab in Decatur. 

The Sheriff’s Office is seeking witnesses to the events that took place that night in addition to any recent vehicles that have unexplained side window damage, as a large amount of untinted window safety glass was found at the scene. 

“We have no other description of the vehicle,” said Berry. 

Anyone with information is urged to contact Investigator Justin Cash at (706) 769-3945 any time of the day. His email is jcash@oconeesheriff.org.  

The mother of the victim took to Facebook to thank citizens for their prayers.

“This has devastated our entire family in so many ways,” she wrote on the Oconee County Sheriff’s Office Facebook page. “As a mother, I should not be facing having to bury my child—my child who had his entire life ahead of him and the courage and determination to conquer the world.”

Jackson was enrolled at Oconee County High School but transferred out in 2017, said Oconee County Schools Director of Communications Anisa Sullivan Jimenez.

Jackson’s death is the seventh time this decade that a death has been investigated as or proven to be a homicide.

In May 2014, local woman Misty Myrick was killed by Talmadge Edward “Bud” Powell, who was later committed to a hospital after being found mentally incompetent to stand trial. He died earlier this year. 

In February 2016, a 2-year-old boy died from injuries sustained in his home two years earlier. His father was arrested on a murder charge, but a jury found him not guilty.

In late winter of 2016, Oconee resident Chad Ruark was killed by his brother-in-law, Daniel Lamar Anglin, who was later sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

In August 2016, the body of South Carolina resident Rendell Jomon Cunningham was found off Fambrough Cemetery Road. The suspect, Jamar Antron Harris, also of South Carolina, is being tried out-of-state for the murder. 

In March 2017, Dalton Carpet One founder Michael Blanton was murdered. His son, David Blanton, was arrested and indicted on murder charges but has not yet gone to trial. 

In Oct. 2017, Oconee resident Teresa Guthrie was murdered by her husband, Joe Guthrie, who also died.

For more on this story, see the July 25 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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