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Son suspected of killing his father drove to Sheriff’s Office parking lot
Brandon Connely charged with murder in Monday shooting death of Tony Connely
Connely shooting presser
Bulloch County Sheriff Noel Brown, right, and Capt. Todd Hutchens face reporters Tuesday afternoon with questions about the shooting death Monday evening of Tony Connely and the arrest and charging of his son, Brandon L. Connely. (AL HACKLE/staff)

Monday evening, not long after Tony Connely, 58, died of multiple gunshot wounds at his home on Oakfield Drive and his son Brandon Lavon Connely was identified by a family member as the shooter, Brandon Connely drove himself to the parking lot of the Bulloch County Sheriff’s Office. That is where he was arrested.

Sheriff Noel Brown explained this during a news conference he and Capt. Todd Hutchens, head of the BCSO’s Criminal Investigation Division, held Tuesday afternoon in the jailhouse courtroom. The Sheriff’s Office would be charging the younger Connely, who will be 24 this month, with malice murder, felony murder, aggravated assault with intent to commit murder by use of a handgun, aggravated battery and four counts of possession of a firearm in the commission of a crime, Hutchens announced.

Brandon L. Connely
Brandon L. Connely

Shortly after 7:20 p.m. Monday, BCSO deputies were called to a house on Oakfield Drive, a residential loop off Lakeview Road north of Statesboro. The officers found “a deceased Black male lying in the floor in the area of the home with multiple gunshot wounds,” Brown said.

Although the Bulloch County Emergency Medical Service was among the agencies that responded, Tony Connely was pronounced dead at the scene, as Hutchens and county Coroner Richard Pylant confirmed. As reported Monday night, the victim’s wife had run to a neighbor’s home, frantically screaming that her husband was shot, and the neighbor called 911, bringing authorities to the Connely home.

There a family member had “identified the subject who was deceased and also told who was responsible,” Brown said to reporters Tuesday.

“That’s when we got a lookout for a certain vehicle, and Brandon Connely was located in the parking lot of our Sheriff’s Office a short time thereafter,” the sheriff said. “So, I’m thinking, if I’m right, maybe around 20-hundred hours, or 8 p.m., he pulled into this parking lot and one of our K-9 units took him down, along with other deputies. Statesboro police also helped Monday, Georgia State Patrol ….”

He also noted that Bulloch County Fire Department units and the EMS had been part of the response.

“I want to thank everybody for their involvement,” Brown said. “Our prayers and our thoughts go out to the family, as this is an ongoing investigation at this point.”

Hutchens, who briefed news organizations on further details, said that “a domestic argument that has been kind of an ongoing thing” had “spiked” Monday “and unfortunately led to the death of Mr. Tony Connely.”

Investigators identified a 9 mm handgun that had been left at the scene as the one used in the shooting. Asked if the gun belonged the suspect or to someone else, Hutchens said that determining who owned it is part of the investigation. The Sheriff’s Office had initiated a trace through the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms.

Connely had no identified defense attorney as of Tuesday’s news conference, and no process had been held yet to set or deny bond. Hutchens said an initial court appearance was likely Wednesday.

People acquainted with the family told the Statesboro Herald that Brandon was originally a foster child and had been adopted by the Connelys.


Past arrests

According to Sheriff’s Office and jail records, he had been arrested in March 2018 on a misdemeanor charge of family violence/battery when he was 17. The BCSO incident report narrative stated that he had hit his sister in the face. In a negotiated plea deal, the family violence charge was “nol prossed,” meaning dismissed, and a “nolo” or no-contest plea entered to a simple battery charge. He was then sentenced to 12 months probation, with a fine and fees totaling $988 and required to register for an anger management program, according to Bulloch County State Court records.

In November 2021 Brandon Connely was arrested by Statesboro police on a misdemeanor charge of simple battery against a person age 65 or older. The warrant, dated as having been sworn July 16, 2020, alleged that during a verbal dispute he struck a 77-year-old male neighbor in the face with his fist, causing the older man to fall, at a North Main Street address. But with reference to a Pineland Mental Health treatment plan, the county solicitor moved to place the case on the dead docket in July 2022, and the charge was dismissed in September 2023.

The Sheriff’s Office had responded to the Connelys’ address previously due to some domestic issues, including one occasion where the conflict was between Brandon and Tony Connely, but these were “over the last several years,” and not recently, Hutchens said.

He also asked for prayers for the Connely family and everyone impacted by what he called “a very traumatic situation all the way around.”

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