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Coroner rules out accidental cause in Singletary death

ALBANY -- Early County Coroner Todd Hunter said Tuesday that autopsy results for a prominent Early County businessman who died last week show that a fatal gunshot wound was self-inflicted and not accidental.

Marvin Singletary, 67, of Blakely, was found dead shortly after 8 a.m. on Jan. 20 near his carport on North Main Street. Georgia Bureau of Investigation agents, who processed the scene, ruled out foul play immediately, but were unsure whether Singletary's death was accidental pending autopsy results.

Hunter confirmed that a report from a medical examiner in Macon shows that Singletary died from a single shot from a shotgun and that it was intentionally self-inflicted.

"I had ruled the cause of death that way anyway, but the Macon medical examiner called yesterday and confirmed it," he said. Hunter declined to comment further.

A funeral was conducted Saturday for Singletary.

Georgia Peanut Commission Executive Director Don Koehler said Tuesday afternoon that he knew Singletary and his family well.

"They are a great family," he said. "Marvin was an absolute gentleman that always had a smile on his face."

Koehler said Singletary had a bright mind and was uncanny at finding solutions for problems, especially when he was involved in the peanut business.

A moment of silence was observed Thursday by the peanut industry at the 34th annual Georgia Peanut Farm Show in honor of Singletary's passing.

Singletary was the president of the former Blakely Peanut Company, which was purchased from local owners by Universal Leaf Tobacco of Richmond, Va., in 1984 but retained its name and leadership.

In 1992, the company was sold to another Virginia-based company, Birdsong Peanut, which currently owns the plant.

In 1987, Singletary was named by then-Gov. Joe Frank Harris to chair the Growth Strategy Commission's economic task force. The group issued a report to Harris in 1988 about the sustainability of economic development in Georgia.

Singletary is the husband of Henrietta Singletary, the former deputy to the assistant secretary of agriculture for rural development during the

Carter Administration.