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Georgia Man Accused Of ‘Sad And Heinous’ Murder Of His Mother And Her Companion, Sheriff Says

elderly victims
Source: Ware County Sheriff’s Office; Georgia Bureau Of Investigation

Jul. 14 2022, Published 1:00 p.m. ET

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A Georgia man is accused of fatally shooting his elderly mother and her companion while the couple was in bed.

On July 12, authorities arrested and charged Bernard Rittenhouse, 55, with two counts of felony murder, and one count of burglary in connection to the deaths of Virginia D. Thomas, 73, and Charles M. Barnett, 75, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation said.

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The following day, the suspect’s wife, Janet Rittenhouse, 53, was also arrested on two counts of felony murder and one count of party to the crime of burglary.

Bernard and Janet Rittenhouse were booked into the Ware County Jail.

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According to investigators, shortly before 9 a.m. on July 11, a relative phoned 911 after finding Thomas and Barnett dead in bed at their Waycross home.

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The couple both had suffered gunshot wounds.

“This is a truly sad and heinous crime that was committed on Mr. Barnett and Ms. Thomas,” Ware County Sheriff Carl James said.

Police have not disclosed a motive for the crime, and the murder investigation is ongoing.


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