22 - Local Man Gets Life

MARIETTA, GA. William Jefferies was found guilty of four counts of second-degree murder at the state court yesterday. His case received nationwide attention after Jefferies was involved in a series of bizarre incidents that saw him attempting to take his own life, but killing others in the process. The first of these failed suicides took place in 2005, when Jefferies threw himself off Chattahoochee River Bridge. Rather than fall in the water, however, Jefferies landed on Reginald Dwight, who was steering a cargo barge under the bridge at the time. The incident was ruled an accident, but Jefferies was ordered to receive  psychological counseling. Two years later, however, Jefferies again attempted to take his own life, this time by driving his car at high speed into a concrete highway median. Again, he failed to take his own life, but his car veered sharply and struck the vehicle of Kenneth and Felicity Trount, who were both killed instantly. It was at this point that investigators began to seek charges against Jefferies. “While we accept Mr Jefferies’ statement that he has no intention of hurting anyone but himself, we feel his arrest is necessary for public safety,” said Cobb County sheriff Michael Peabody at the time.

The arrest and subsequent trial was hard on Jefferies, who tried - and failed - to take his own life again in 2010, this time by asphyxiation by exhaust fumes. A neighbor noticed smoke coming from Jefferies’ garage and pulled him to safety, but neither man was aware of the fact that a homeless man, Wendall Parsons, was sleeping in Jefferies’ garage. Parsons succumbed to the fumes and his name was added to the indictment. Despite proceedings being delayed for his recuperation, Jefferies ended up pleading no contest to the charges. Any hope he might have had that the state would do for him what he himself had repeatedly failed to accomplish were dashed when Judge Randolph Hunt commuted the death sentence in favor of life imprisonment.