Middle Georgia Cold Cases: In Broad Daylight

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PINEHURST, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) – GBI agents are looking for a killer who shot a gas station clerk in the middle of day nearly 40 years ago. It’s this week’s Middle Georgia Cold Cases.

72-year-old Ollis Hartley was seen alive about 30 minutes before he was murdered inside the then Bose Action Station where he worked.

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Less than 1,000 people live in Pinehurst.

When something happens in town, it usually doesn’t take long for everyone to know. Except for that one time that something happened in February 1980.

“Mr. Hartley was shot one time with a .32 caliber pistol,” Tori Peacock, the investigating agent with the GBI’s Perry Office, said.



No one saw a shooter.

“There had been people in and out but no one saw anything,” Peacock said.

Was there a robbery? A fight?

“There’s never been what I would call ‘good’ leads in this case,” Peacock said.

No one was sure what happened.

Investigators say after all these years, no one has been put in jail for this murder, but they do have a name.

“It was brought to our attention that Mr. Hartley had gotten into, just kind of, a verbal altercation with a man by the name of Burnham Herndon,” Peacock said.

Who?

Tipsters called in and said this “Burnham Herndon” got into an argument with Hartley about gas prices.

“Mr. Herndon felt like Mr. Hartley was overcharging him and so they got into a verbal altercation,” Peacock reviewed.

But that was weeks before Hartley was killed — was there some sort of lingering feeling that led to another confrontation?

GBI agents were never able to find a man named Burnham Herndon.

A dead end on a road to find a killer.

Investigators haven’t had very many clues in the case and say as the years go by, the chances of finding the suspect are fading away.

“We want closure ourselves as agents and we know how important it is to family members as well,” Peacock said.

Someone who knows about the case could’ve moved, forgotten, or passed away.

Still, she says she’s determined to find answers into what happened to the gas station clerk who was shot and killed while on the clock.

“There’s satisfaction when you can close a case when you get answers that you want and that the family deserves,” she said.

If you know what happened to Ollis Hartley, call the GBI Perry Office at (478) 987-4545.