By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Statesboro man charged in beating of Springfield preacher
Chris Wayland Thomas
    After receiving information that a suspect in a recent aggravated assault and robbery of a radio preacher in Springfield was possibly in the area, Bulloch County Sheriff's deputies ended up arresting two men they say are connected to the incident.
    Bulloch County Sheriff's Chief Deputy Gene McDaniel said Friday investigators assisting the Springfield Police and Effingham County Sheriff's Department apprehended Chris Wayland Thomas, 27, Miller Street Extension, and Eugene Howard III, 18, New Stillwell Road, Springfield, at an undisclosed Statesboro-area location.
    Springfield Police were searching for the suspects in the beating and robbery of a Springfield radio station pastor Monday. Investigators  said the men attacked Ralph Davis at the WSGV-FM studio in Springfield.
    Howard, whom Bulloch County investigators were seeking on charges of battery/family violence, was charged by Springfield Police with aggravated assault, armed robbery, and kidnapping, according to Effingham County Jail records.
    As of Friday evening, Thomas was charged only with parole violation and aggravated assault, but additional charges were pending, according to a jail spokesman.
    According to earlier reports, the suspects attacked Davis in the middle of the day, with the attack believed to have lasted at least a couple of hours. Witnesses said the two men left the station in the middle of the alleged assault and returned.
     Davis' radio station shares space in the same building as Bashlor Automotive. Steve Bashlor told the Effingham Herald three to four people  saw the men using keys to get into the radio station.
    The men, wearing masks, came from behind Davis and hit him on the head, then threw something in his eyes, he said. When the men left a second time, Davis freed himself from the telephone cord used to tie him up and went to Bashlor Automotive to have them call the police, he said. “We were here all day and didn’t hear a thing.”
    Bashlor said Davis’ head and hands were bloody from being beaten with a hard object, and the fingernails on one of his hands were hanging off.
    McDaniel said he heard reports that Davis had been beaten with a hammer and was "hurt pretty badly."
    He said investigators had a warrant for Howard on unrelated charges , and when Springfield Police and Effingham County Sheriff's investigators contacted them about the aggravated assault incident, Bulloch County Sheriff's investigators "set up surveillance and took them both into custody."
    Both Thomas and Howard were released into custody of the Effingham Sheriff's Department and Springfield Police Department Friday, he said.
Sign up for the Herald's free e-newsletter