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Suspect in murder of Bulloch County woman caught in Florida
mayhew fl
Shown is the booking photo of Lee Allen Mayhew after his arrest in Columbia County, Fla., Friday afternoon.

Criminal history

Click here to see a summary of  Lee Allen Mayhew's court appearances in Tennessee.

A suspect in the murder of a Bulloch County woman was apprehended in Florida late Friday afternoon driving the stolen car of his alleged victim.

Capt. Todd Hutchens with the Bulloch County Sheriff’s Office said Lee Allen Mayhew was pulled over in Columbia County, Fla., just south of Valdosta. Hutchens said Mayhew was driving the car of Bonnie Rushing, who police believe was killed by Mayhew in her Stilson-Leefield Road home Friday.

Hutchens said Mayhew, 44, acted alone and law enforcement is not looking for any other suspects in connection with Rushing’s death.

“I want to assure Bulloch residents not to be concerned about any other dangerous criminals in the area,” Hutchens said. “They may see law enforcement vehicles in the area of the crime, but they are doing follow ups to the investigation.”

According to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, Rushing was shot to death sometime Friday afternoon.

“It appears that the perpetrator entered the residence and at some point had contact with Rushing” and killed her, the GBI stated in a release Saturday afternoon.

After stealing Rushing’s vehicle, Mayhew was subsequently tracked and located in Florida. The GBI release said he was arrested without incident by Florida law enforcement officers.

Law enforcement agents had been searching for Mayhew since he evaded capture Thursday night after a homeowner interrupted a burglary in progress on Old River Road South near the area. At the time, it was thought that more than one person may have been involved in the burglary and Mayhew was identified as one of the suspects.

Prior to Thursday’s crimes, Mayhew was wanted by the United States Marshal Service for federal firearms violations, which led to members of the U.S. Marshals’ Fugitive Task Force joining in the search.

Mayhew has a lengthy record of offenses in Tennessee, dating back to 1996, when he was 20 years old.

Most recently, according to nashville.gov, a web site maintained by the Metropolitan Government of Nashville and Davidson County, Tennessee, Mayhew was charged with vehicle theft, DUI, resisting police, and driving without insurance in May of 2016. He had been convicted the previous month on two counts of auto theft, and received two three-year probated sentences.

In 2008, Mayhew was convicted on five counts of aggravated burglary, and received five concurrent 10-year sentences.

According to the Florida Department of Corrections, Mayhew also served time in Florida. In 1999, Mayhew was charged with burglary in Volusia County and was sentenced to four years in prison. He was incarcerated in June of 1999, and was released in March of 2003.

“He is a career criminal,” Hutchens said.

According to Bulloch County Coroner Jake Futch, Rushing was found dead at her home Friday afternoon.

Futch did not confirm a time of death. Hutchens said no other details of the homicide would be released at this time. He said the Georgia Bureau of Investigation and the Sheriff’s Office are working to have Mayhew extradited back to Georgia from Florida.

Mayhew faces charges of felony murder, aggravated assault, possession of a firearm during the commission of a crime, theft by taking motor vehicle and burglary. 

 

Thursday burglary

The hunt for Mayhew began Thursday night after a homeowner interrupted the burglary.

Bulloch County Sheriff’s deputies, the BCSO K9 team, the Georgia State Patrol Air Unit and U.S. Marshal Service searched for Mayhew for several hours Thursday after the homeowner reported the burglary, said Bulloch County Sheriff Noel Brown.

The burglary victim arrived home around 5 p.m. Thursday to find “a suspicious vehicle parked in his carport,” he said. “Upon further investigation the homeowner realized that his house had been broken into and several items, including firearms, were missing.”  

The K9 unit arrived and tried to track Mayhew and possible other offenders, with deputies having identified Mayhew through investigation at the scene, he said. 

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