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Warrants: Slain chaplain stabbed, run over

POSTED: December 11, 2008 5:00 a.m.

A youth minister who authorities say was murdered Sunday night in Cleveland was stabbed before being run over with his own car, according to arrest warrants.

The body of Frank Harris Jr., 44, was discovered by police early Monday outside a vacant home on Campbell Street, just a few hundred feet from a low-income apartment complex where murder suspects William Joseph "Joey" Dyer and Jennifer Dawn Lineberger lived, authorities said.

Arrest warrants taken out Tuesday by a Cleveland police officer and released Wednesday by White County Magistrate Court show that Dyer, 20, is accused of stabbing Harris with a knife, then running over him with the victim’s 2009 Toyota Corolla "with the intent to rob and murder said victim."

Harris died as a result of being run over, according to the murder warrant.

Dyer, who is also charged with robbery, is accused of taking Harris’ keys, car, wallet and other personal items.

Harris, a married father of three, was a part-time youth minister at Pendergrass Baptist Church. He worked as a chaplain at Gainesville’s Compassionate Hospice.

Authorities have said little about the circumstances of the murder. Family members said Harris called his wife at about 7 p.m. Sunday to say he was giving two people a ride to Cleveland.

Authorities have said Harris may have known the suspects. A police incident report released by the Cleveland Police Department Wednesday indicates that the murder was not a "stranger to stranger" crime.

The report states that the slaying occurred between 7:30 p.m. and 9:40 p.m. Sunday at Dyer’s apartment. Harris’ body was found by a police officer about 4 a.m. Monday.

A warrant for tampering with evidence states Dyer, "did conceal the vehicle ... with the intent of covering up a murder."

The car was found more than 10 miles away from Dyer’s Cleveland apartment near Clermont.

Hall County Sheriff’s Col. Jeff Strickland said a homeowner called authorities early Monday to report a suspicious car parked at a power line right-of-way on Whelchel Circle off Shoal Creek Road. Deputies, who already had received a lookout for the car, confirmed it belonged to Harris around 7 a.m. Monday, he said.

Authorities have been tight-lipped about the case. Cleveland Police Chief John Foster did not return messages seeking comment Wednesday, and White County Coroner Ricky Barrett also did not return a phone message. Georgia Bureau of Investigation Special Agent Mike Ayers was out of the office late Wednesday and unavailable for comment.

Enotah Judicial Circuit Chief Public Defender Charlie Brown confirmed Wednesday that attorneys from his office will be representing Dyer and Lineberger. The defendants so far have not formally asked for a bond hearing or a preliminary hearing, Brown said.



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