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Fugitive In Ga. Clerk Slaying Arrested In Jax

20-Year-Old Also Suspect In Lake City Slaying

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A 20-year-old accused of killing a convenience store clerk in South Georgia was arrested on drug charges Thursday night and booked into the Duval County jail.

The Lowndes County Sheriff's Office searched for Daymon Heard since shortly after Wednesday's robbery and shooting of Triangle Foods on Highway 41 in Lake Park. The clerk, 48-year-old Jay Patel, died at the scene.

Investigators believe Heard fired four shots at Patel, then stepped over the body to empty the cash register and take some cigarettes.

"It was a gruesome act and it was cold-blooded murder," Lowndes County Capt. J.D. Yeager told WALB-TV.

Investigators said Heard's family and friends called police and provided his picture, which was circulated to law enforcement offices around the country.

Investigators got a tip that Heard was going to Jacksonville to stay with his girlfriend and Jacksonville Sheriff's Office deputies were staked out at her home when Heard arrived Thursday evening.

"They had surrounded the house and they asked everybody to come outside and when he come out and identified himself, they grabbed him and put him on the ground," said Martina Blount, Heard's 19-year-old girlfriend.

Heard was booked at 8:29 p.m. Thursday on misdemeanor charges of possession of less than 20 grams of marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia. Georgia authorities told Channel 4 they have an active warrant charging Heard with murder, and other charges are pending.

Detectives with the Columbia County Sheriff's Office on Friday named Heard a suspect in the fatal shooting of a convenience store clerk during a robbery on July 22.

Linda Raulerson, 59, was shot once in the arm as the robber came into the Joy America Grocery on U.S. Highway 441 just off Interstate 10. After handing over the cash from the register, the robber fired again, killing Raulerson.

The two stores are about 50 miles apart.

"At this point we cannot rule anything out," said Columbia County Sheriff Bill Gootee. "It is equally important for us to prove or disprove Mr. Heard's involvement in the murder of Mrs. Raulerson and that will take time."

Blount told Channel 4's Dan Leveton that she met Heard at a church youth conference.

"It's very scary because you would never know somebody to do that," Blount said. "It's like, one minute he's great and the next minute he's a totally different person."

Georgia officials said they would begin proceeding to extradite Heard to face the murder charge in Lowndes County.

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