Marietta couple shot in the head; murder suspect denied bond

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A magistrate judge in Telfair County denied bond late Tuesday afternoon for Ronnie Adrian “Jay” Towns, who has been charged with malice murder and armed robbery in the deaths of Bud and June Runion.

The Cobb County couple was shot in the head with a small caliber gun, GBI autopsy results showed Tuesday. It’s believed Towns was the last person to have talked with the Runions regarding a Craigslist ad seeking to buy a Ford Mustang.

The Runions’ bodies were found Monday in a wooded area of rural Telfair County, four days after they left their Marietta home.

Towns, 28, was previously charged with giving false statements and criminal attempt to commit theft by deception in connection to the case. Those charged were updated Tuesday after the autopsy findings were released.

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“We put a lot of effort into finding (the Runions) and we’re hopeful for a successful prosecution,” Telfair County Sheriff Chris Steverson told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “This has had a huge impact on our community. This is very rare.

“The entire community is mourning. The entire community is upset. The entire community feels betrayed because an individual raised in this community orchestrated such an heinous act.”

The Runions left their home last Thursday morning and made the 200-mile drive to McRae, where they thought they were meeting a man selling a 1966 Mustang convertible. The Runions made it to Telfair County, but there was no car.

Instead, investigators believe it was all a scheme to rob the couple, the sheriff said. Steverson had no information about how much money the couple had with them.

Towns, of McRae, surrendered late Monday morning, a day after his original arrest warrants were issued, the Telfair sheriff’s office said. Hours later, Steverson confirmed that the Runions’ SUV and two bodies believed to be the couple were found in a wooded area after several days of searching.

Family members and friends had held out hope that the Runions would be found alive. The couple’s three daughters appeared on national television and used a Facebook page to help find Bud and June, where thousands from all over the country posted prayers.

Tuesday morning, the family posted scripture as examples of the couple’s love and faith, along with a picture of the two holding hands on the beach.

“Bud and June had an amazing love,” the family posted. “They loved God and that is evident in how they lived.”

An American flag was at half-staff Tuesday outside the Runions’ home.

—Staff writer Ernie Suggs contributed to this report.

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