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Third arrest made in minister's slaying

POSTED: December 23, 2008 5:00 a.m.
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William Joseph "Joey" Dyer

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A third person has been arrested in connection with the Nov. 30 slaying of a Clermont youth minister, according to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation and the Cleveland Police Department.

Amber Ruark, a 25-year-old Cleveland resident, was arrested Friday and charged with being party to a crime, obstruction, tampering with evidence and theft by receiving in connection with the death of Frank Harris Jr., according to Lt. Aaron Weiland with the Cleveland Police Department.

Weiland, who said he is not investigating the slaying, could not give further details.

Ruark is the third person who has been arrested since Harris’ body was found in the early morning hours of Dec. 1 outside a vacant home on Campbell Street in Cleveland. Police have accused Cleveland resident William Joseph "Joey" Dyer, 20, of stabbing Harris and running over him in Harris’ 2009 Toyota Corolla.

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

Police also charged Jennifer Dawn Lineberger, 29, with taking Harris’ keys, car, wallet and other personal items and hiding his car "with the intent of covering up a murder."

Police say on the night of his murder Harris offered Dyer and Lineberger a ride to Cleveland from an undetermined location on Athens Highway in Gainesville.

The youth minister and hospice chaplain called his wife at about 7:30 p.m. to tell her he was giving a couple a ride to Cleveland. Sometime after arriving there, Harris was stabbed once in the lower chest, probably while inside his 2009 Toyota Corolla, then apparently ran from the car down a hill to escape his assailants, White County Coroner Ricky Barrett said. Harris was then struck by the car on an embankment outside a nearby vacant home and died from crushing injuries, Barrett said.

Dyer is accused of running Harris down with his car as he fled, according to arrest warrants. Lineberger is accused of assisting in the slaying.

Harris’ wife called authorities after he failed to arrive home, and a lookout for an "overdue motorist" was posted sometime later that night. Harris’ body was found by police at about 4 a.m. the following morning.

Murder and robbery warrants were taken out against Dyer on Dec. 2 and against Lineberger on Dec. 3. The two are accused of taking Harris’ car, keys, wallet and laptop computer. They also face felony drug charges in connection with Lineberger’s possession of the narcotic Percocet.

GBI Special Agent in Charge Mike Ayers in the agency’s Cleveland office said Monday it is uncertain if there will be more arrests in the case.

"We’ll just have to wait and see on that," Ayers said. "There’s certainly always a possibility that more arrests and additional charges could be placed."

The investigation into Harris’ slaying is not over, Weiland said.

Harris, a married father of three, was chaplain for Gainesville’s Compassionate Hospice for nearly two years and also served as a part-time youth minister at Pendergrass Baptist Church.

Times Reporter Stephen Gurr contributed to this report.



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