COVINGTON, Ga. - A homeless man is behind bars after a man's body was found burning in a wooded area in Covington on Saturday evening.
Benjamin Marcus Johnson, 39, was denied bond Monday morning and will remain in the Newton County Jail. He faces charges of murder, concealing the death of another and arson.
According to the Covington Police Department, shortly after 5 p.m., two people flagged down a Newton County sheriff’s deputy and pointed out a large amount of smoke coming from the woods near Washington Street and Old Brown Bridge Road. Covington Police responded to the scene and discovered the body of Michael Avon Williams, 62, still burning.
"He had an apparent head injury," said Officer Allan Seebaran with Covington police. "We don't know what the cause of that head injury is yet. The county coroner is working with the state [medical] examiner's office to determine cause of death at this time."
Police are not sure whether Williams was alive before he was set on fire.
Additional officers searched the area for a suspect or suspects. They spoke with two witnesses, and using their description, officers identified Johnson as the suspect. Officers also learned that Johnson may be traveling in a vehicle later that evening.
According to police, officers stopped a vehicle that Johnson was riding in at around 11:30 Saturday night near the Family Dollar at Highway 81 and Oak Hill Road. Johnson was booked into the Newton County Jail.
"The driver of that vehicle is not a suspect and is not facing any charges," Officer Seebaran added.
The case is being investigated jointly by CPD and the Georgia Bureau of Investigation.