3rd suspect in Oconee County murder arrested

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Authorities have arrested a third suspect in connection last month’s murder of a teenager, the Oconee County Sheriff’s Office announced Thursday.

Deputies from Oconee County and Wilkes County and members of the FBI’s Safe Streets Task Force arrested 18-year-old Ryan Timothy O’Neal early Thursday morning in Wilkes County.

O’Neal is the third person charged with the July murder of 19-year-old Joseph Jackson.

The 19-year-old was shot outside the home he shares with his grandparents on Whippoorwill Road late on the night of July 16. 

RLEATED: Manhunt for murder suspects near UGA campus

The severely injured Jackson stumbled 50 or so yards to the home where his grandfather found him outside.

Oconee County Sheriff Scott Berry has said investigators are making headway in the case even though Jackson died at the hospital before he could tell who shot him.

“I feel like we got some real good leads right now,” Sheriff Berry told FOX 5’s George Franco.
On Wednesday, Sheriff Berry announced deputies had taken 2 brothers into custody earlier in the week.

Deputies arrested 18-year-old Akhemu Dunston and 19-year-old Quentin Dunston in Athens on Monday.

The search for suspects led authorities to the State Botanical Garden in Athens on Wednesday, when a vehicle associated with one of the murder suspects was spotted. 

There was a heavy police presence in and around the Garden which was closed early apparently due to the police activity.

“I don’t know anything other than they were pursuing somebody that was accused of some sort of crime,” said Tim Slagle after he had learned of a UGA campus alert sent out warning students of the police activity.

MORE: Mystery surrounding Oconee County teen's murder


Sheriff Berry said there was never any danger on the nearby UGA campus itself. “There was never any contact with the suspect on campus or actually in the car,” said Sheriff Berry.

Sheriff Berry told FOX 5 News the search for a fourth suspect continues.