Juvenile prime suspect in man’s severe beating

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By Patrick Yost Editor

A Madison man is clinging to life at an Athens hospital after he suffered severe head injuries in a a weekend beating. A 16–year-old male has been detained and questioned regarding the assault. According to Det. Wes Thompson, Madison Police Department, Willie Paul Russell, 51, was found on the ground near a walking path between Mapp Street and Burney Street at 6 a.m. Saturday morning.

Thompson said through interviews authorities have determined that Russell was attacked sometime between midnight on Friday and when he was found Saturday morning. Thompson said Russell was initially transported to Morgan Memorial Hospital Saturday morning and then to Athens Regional Hospital where he remains under heavy sedation. Thompson said Russell is in “critical” condition.

The juvenile was detained on Monday in Social Circle and interviewed by authorities. “He acknowledged he hit (Russell),” Thompson said. The juvenile is currently being held at the Gainesville Youth Detention Center.

He faces aggravated battery charges. On Tuesday members of the Georgia Bureau of Investigations were in Madison consulting with Madison Police Department to present results of the investigation to District Attorney Fred Bright. Bright will make a determination, if charges are filed, whether the juvenile will be charged as a juvenile or as an adult.

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