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Authorities withhold case facts hoping for a lead in 92 suffocation death
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Hall County Sheriff’s Office Sgt. Sean McCusker walks along the front of the home on Ole Country Road where a man was found murdered in 1992. - photo by Tom Reed

About this series

This is part of a weekly series on unsolved murders in Hall County. Anyone with information should call Lt. Gerald Couch at the Hall County Sheriff’s Office, Criminal Investigations Division, at 770-531-6879 or e-mail gcouch@hallcounty.org.

Almost 18 years ago, Warren Beryl Wilkins was found dead inside his home. Hall County Sheriff’s investigators still want to solve the case.

About 3:30 p.m. Oct. 10, 1992, Wilkins’ neighbor decided to check on him after not seeing him for a few days. She knocked on the door, and when he didn’t answer, she called Hall County dispatch to do a welfare check, said Hall County Sgt. Sean McCusker.

Paramedics found him on the floor of the living room at 5548 Old County Road in Buford. Wilkins, 64, had been assaulted and had several blunt force injuries across his body. His hands were bound, and a heavy piece of furniture was placed on top of Wilkins, which ultimately caused his death by suffocation.

Sheriff’s officials aren’t releasing what type of furniture it was or how it happened.

“The person who knows about the incident would provide the right information to us,” McCusker said. “If someone says something about a fridge, we know they’re lying. If someone who comes forward is able to explain what was on top of him, we know they have more information that we want to look into.”

There was no forced entry into the home, but it appears robbery was the motive, he said. Wilkins lived alone and many of his acquaintances had a history of criminal activities.

“He had different jobs that he performed and often dealt with cash,” McCusker said, not disclosing what those jobs were or how much cash Wilkins handled. “The original investigator who wrote this report isn’t here now, so I’m trying to piece the details back together, too.”

When investigators arrived on the scene, they canvassed the neighborhood and interviewed family, friends and associates. Although acquaintances gave information, nothing turned up a solid lead, McCusker said.

The only way to get to the neighborhood is to drive into Gwinnett County and then follow the road back into Hall County.

Hall County Sheriff’s officials partnered with investigators at the Gwinnett County Police Department and the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, but still no clues.

“It’s down in that area and close to Gwinnett. We wanted to make sure we didn’t miss something in their jurisdiction if they had seen something similar,” he said. “Nothing surfaced, and right now we don’t have anything that leads to that area.”

The early- to mid-1990s was a violent time in Gainesville’s history. There were eight murders in 1995, and nine murders the previous year. In recent years, Gainesville and Hall County have averaged two or three murders a year.

The area around the home has changed as well, with many new houses built in the neighborhood since 1992. At the home now, the grass is mowed, and the back of the residence is tidy. Overgrown bushes and a scraggly tree blocks the view from the porch, but otherwise, nothing looks unusual.

“Old County Road has changed a lot since 1992, which makes it difficult to get information from the area,” McCusker said. “It’s highly populated, and there are a lot of people who have moved in and out of the area.”

McCusker said he couldn’t reveal more information about the still pending case, but he hopes someone will speak up after all these years.

“Whoever did this or knows who did this was probably close to him because of the way his lifestyle was,” he said.

“People around that day will be able to talk about it, and there was a lot of talk after it happened. It’s been a long time and things have changed, but somebody may remember and maybe saw what happened. I hope they come talk to us.”

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