Man charged for Warner Robins double homicide 25 years later

WARNER ROBINS, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) – After 25 years, a Warner Robins cold case has heated up again.

Two men were shot and killed in 1989, and now, a grand jury has indicted a suspect.

It was a case gone cold.

“The Warner Robins Police Department brought me a case file couple of months ago on a double homicide that happened here in Warner Robins back in 1989,” said Hartwig.

25 years–obviously longer than your average murder case.

But not too long for Houston County District Attorney George Hartwig.

“It was my belief that there was enough there to take it before a grand jury,” said Hartwig.

Hartwig feels the evidence is stacked against James Milton Happoldt in the fatal shooting of James Runyon and Daniel Easler on March 25, 1989.

“Several years ago they went back and reexamined the case, re-interviewed some witnesses, tried to locate witnesses–things of that nature and basically did an updated investigation and brought it to me earlier this year,” said Hartwig. “I reviewed it and made a determination that the case should be presented to a Houston grand jury.”

Hartwig couldn’t talk details because the case is going to court, but Easler and Runyon died of multiple gunshot wounds here at 219 Sunset Drive in Warner Robins.

And ever since, the Warner Robins Police Department has been on the case.

And Hartwig added the victims’ family’s reaction to the indictment Tuesday was positive.

“And the sense that I got from the families was one of some satisfaction and some relief,” said Hartwig.

Relief that someone’s on the case.

“Justice needs to be done whenever and justice hasn’t been done before then we’re gonna try and do it now,” said Hartwig.

Happoldt is currently being held at the Coffee Correctional facility in Nicholls, Georgia, and will be transferred to the Warner Robins Law Enforcement Center.
He is charged with 2 counts of murder per victim, malice and felony murder.

Hartwig expects the case to go to trial in the next year or so.

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