Accused Craigslist killer of Cobb couple pleads not guilty

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Accused Craigslist killer of Cobb couple pleads not guilty

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Telfair County Sheriff’s Office
Elrey “Bud” and June Runion, of Marietta. (Family photo)

A man facing the death penalty in the slaying of a Marietta couple pleaded not guilty to his murder charges in Telfair County court Wednesday.

Ronnie “Jay” Towns, 30, is accused of killing 66-year-old June Runion and 69-year-old Elrey “Bud” Runion by luring them to their deaths using Craigslist.

The only two words Towns said during the 20-minute court hearing were "not guilty," according to Belinda Thomas, Telfair’s clerk of court.

Ronnie Adrian “Jay” Towns was arraigned Tuesday on charges of malice murder and armed robbery. Police say he lured the Runions to Telfair County to buy a ‘66 Ford Mustang that didn’t exist, then shot each of them in the head. (AP Photo/The Telegraph, Woody Marshall) Woody Marshall

The pleading Wednesday was initially reported by The Telegraph in Macon.

Police said he tricked the the couple into thinking that he was going to sell them a 1966 Ford Mustang after seeing the couple’s past posts on Craigslist looking for that exact car.

The newspaper has reported that Towns, desperate for cash after losing his job, contacted the couple saying he had such a vehicle.

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The Cobb grandparents’ bodies were found Jan. 26, 2015, with gunshot wounds in their heads not far from the farm where Towns’ parents lived about 75 miles southeast of Macon, the newspaper reported.

Longtime Marietta residents, she’d been a second-grade Cobb teacher but at the time was a preschool instructor at Johnson Ferry Baptist Church, a daughter previously told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Bud had retired from AT&T and donated bicycles he’d restore to underprivileged children around the holidays.

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Next door neighbor Tom Murphy remembers Bud and June Runion of Marietta. JOHN SPINK/JSPINK@AJC.COM

Read our previous coverage of the slayings:

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