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Man arrested in motel murder

Photo by Avan Clark

Photo by Avan Clark

ALBANY -- While putting a man in jail on murder charges in one case, Albany Police Department officers searched for the shooter in another case and said a body found Thursday in yet another case was a probable suicide.

Monty Caren Simpson, 56, is in the Dougherty County Jail on murder, aggravated assault and aggravated stalking charges with no bail set, a jail spokeswoman said.

Simpson is charged with murdering Beverly Jean Williams, 51, his former live-in girlfriend, in the Dollar Inn's room 114 at 2706 North Slappey Blvd., police officers said at a 3 p.m. press conference Tuesday.

"She was sent to Macon for an autopsy, which revealed the cause of death as blunt-force trauma," said Albany Police Detective Terrance Whitlock at the Albany Law Enforcement Center on Oglethorpe Boulevard.

Police did not disclose any weapon that might have been used in the murder due to the continuing investigation.

Simpson called 911 and was at the scene when police arrived. He has a long history of domestic violence with Williams, Whitlock said.

"Several months ago, he was arrested for assault and she was the victim," the APD detective said. "Witnesses reported them being roommates at the motel, but that is still under investigation due to his having an order against him."

The order was for Simpson to stay away from Williams, a police report stated.

In a separate case, police officers said they would like the community's help in locating Michael Sherrod Eady, 21, in connection with the 11 p.m. shooting Monday of Michael Angelo Jones, 37, at 109 East Road.

Jones was shot in the stomach by a small caliber gun, police said. Jones was taken to Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital, where he is in good condition, a hospital spokeswoman said.

Anyone with additional information should call Crime Stoppers at (229) 436-TIPS (8477) or (229) 431-3288.

Police officers said that the death of Leonard Wayne Higgins, 57, of Jacksonville, Fla., who was found Thursday in a red Ford Expedition in Albany, was probably a suicide.

There was no note, but after police spoke with Higgins' family, they found that he had a history of suicidal behavior.

"His legs, feet and neck were tied with zip ties; he also had a black plastic bag over his head," said police Lt. Eddie Jones. "He was handcuffed, but the handcuffs were not locked. From looking at the body, he could have gotten out. The zip locks around his hands and neck were not tight, so that at any time he could have removed them."

There was what police called a "large amount" of alcohol in the Explorer when it was found at the intersection of Clark Avenue and Broadway Street, across from a drainage ditch on a dirt road.

Officers would not elaborate on how much Higgins may have drank. A toxicology test could be finished by the crime lab in Macon in six to eight weeks.

Police were initially unable to tell Higgins' race because his face was covered with the black plastic bag, he had long sleeves and his hands were covered. Normal procedure in a case such as this is not to disturb the body until it arrives at the crime lab, officials stated.