Second man still to face trial in murder
Last week, a Walton County jury found Kolbie Hadden Watters, 24, of Augusta, guilty of the 2018 murder of Chase Loffler, 25, of Social Circle. Watters was found guilty of malice murder, felony murder, aggravated assault, and concealing the death of another. According to the Walton County District Attorney’s office Facebook page, the jury took less than an hour to return a verdict of Guilty on all counts. Alcovy Judicial Circuit Chief Superior Court Judge John Ott subsequently sentenced Watters to the maximum sentence available by the state – life in prison without the possibility of parole, plus 10 years.
After being reported missing since March 29, 2018, Loffler’s body was discovered in early April on a Loganville property wrapped in plastic and buried in a shallow grave under an above ground swimming pool. The property belonged to the family of Jonathan Britt Lester, 24, who is also charged in the murder and still has to stand trial. Watters and Lester were arrested in April 2018 and charged with felony murder and aggravated assault in the death of Loffler.The two were accused of beating and suffocating Loffler at a house just outside of Social Cirlcle and burying his body in a shallow grave in Loganville. Watter’s father, Gene Watters, was charged with concealing evidence in the case.
Both Watters and Lester have already been sentenced in a pill operation linked to the events that allegedly led to the murder of Loffler. In that case, Watters was sentenced to life in prison plus 10 years for conspiracy to possess with Intent to distribute and to distribute controlled substances, and possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime. Lester was sentenced to 210 months in prison for conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute and to distribute controlled substances (Carfentanil, Alprazolam and marijuana) followed by five years of supervised release.
The Walton County DA’s Office reports that the murder case against Watters was prosecuted by District Attorney Randy McGinley, Assistant District Attorney Lacey Majors, Investigator Artie Turner, and Victim Services Director Kim Kelly. The investigation was led by Walton County Sheriff’s Office Investigator Denney Wells and Georgia Bureau of Investigation Special Agent Ashleigh Isaacson.
“I want to thank the entire Walton County Sheriff’s Office and GBI for their hard work and dedication during this investigation. This conviction is a example of what happens when numerous agencies work together towards achieving justice,” McGinley said in a statement. “In addition to those agencies, I also want to thank the numerous other agencies that assisted in this investigation: the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the United States Secret Service, the United States Postal Service Office of Inspector General, the Newton County Sheriff’s Office, the Barrow County Sheriff’s Office, the GBI Crime Lab, the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office, the Social Circle Police Department, the Madison County Sheriff’s Office, and the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Georgia. I also want to thank all those in the DAs office that have been working late into the night and on weekends seeking justice for victims in our communities. While charges are still pending against others involved, this verdict provides a measure of closure and justice for Chase’s family and the community as a whole.”