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Details emerge in Spotsylvania slaying

The man charged in the December slaying of a mechanic at a truck sales company in Spotsylvania County was released just last year from federal prison.

George Elwood Crenshaw, 45, spent 20 years in a federal prison in Pennsylvania on a bank robbery conviction until his release sometime last year, authorities said. The exact date of his release was not immediately available.

Crenshaw had been living with different family members in Caroline County until he was arrested in January on burglary charges and later connected to the slaying of 61-year-old Mickey Wayne Jones on Dec. 27 at the Thornburg business.

According to affidavits for search warrants, Crenshaw made a statement to police that he shot Jones while attempting a break-in at the truck sales business.

Crenshaw is charged with first-degree murder and use of a firearm in the commission of a felony. A special grand jury in Spotsylvania Circuit Court indicted Crenshaw on Tuesday.

Jones’ body was found behind the main office building of Attkisson Truck & Equipment Sales at 5921 Mallard Road just off Interstate 95.

Jones lived in a camper on the 26-acre property. William “Les” Attkisson, who owns the family-run business, said Jones was a jack-of-all-trades who had worked at the business for five years as a mechanic, but also did plumbing and drywall work at the office.

Jones’ co-workers found his body around 9 a.m. on Dec. 27 when they reported to work. It appeared that he died of a gunshot wound, police said.

The investigation into Jones’ death went cold until authorities got a lead following a series of break-in cases in the Massaponax area, said Capt. Jeff Pearce of the Spotsylvania County Sheriff’s Office.

The break came on Jan. 25 after Bethany Christian Services at 5610 Southpoint Centre Blvd. reported a burglary.

According to affidavits for search warrants filed in Caroline, footprints in the snow and a scent-tracking K–9 led authorities to Crenshaw, who was found near Liberty Lanes in Southpoint.

He told police that he had been behind the business and later made a statement to detectives that he had thrown a rock through a rear glass window of the business, according to the affidavit.

He was charged with breaking and entering and possession of burglary tools in that case.

Later, investigators learned that three other nearby businesses had been broken into that day in a similar way, a search warrant affidavit states.

A surveillance video obtained from a Padrino’s Pizza in Spotsylvania, which was also burglarized, shows a dark-skinned black male with a dark coat throw a rock through the front door and enter the business, according to the affidavit.

The man in the video is seen taking the cash register containing about $600 in cash and leaving the building, the affidavit says, and it appears the man is then picked up by a vehicle.

The man in the video is wearing glasses and a gray sweatshirt underneath a black jacket. According to the affidavit, that is what Crenshaw was wearing when he was apprehended. He also had a book bag, which contained numerous gloves, a ski mask and burglary tools.

Investigators were also looking for a beige cloth bag containing $500 reported missing from another Spotsylvania businesses that was broken into, the affidavit states. This was not found.

Spotsylvania Detective Donnie Reid stated in the affidavit that when he checked for the suspect’s name in pawn shop transactions, he discovered that Crenshaw had pawned a 9 mm Bersa 380 handgun in Charlottesville on Jan. 14.

According to Caroline Detective Kristel DiGravio, the gun and some jewelry were stolen from a house in the 750 block of Canterbury Drive in Ruther Glen on Dec. 19, the search warrant affidavit states.

It also states that Crenshaw was living with his brother across the street from that home when the gun was reported stolen. An analysis of the weapon and shell casings found at the crime scene was performed.

“It was confirmed that the handgun that George [Crenshaw] had pawned was the weapon used to murder Mickey Jones,” Reid wrote in the affidavit.

At the time of the slaying, Reid said Crenshaw was living with his niece in Caroline Manor apartments in Bowling Green.

The niece told police that she had dropped her uncle off in the area of Attkisson Trucking on the night of the homicide, and that he later told her that he had shot and killed Jones, the affidavit states.

The niece also said that he moved from her house around the first week of January to live with his sister in Charlottesville for a few weeks, but returned to her home right before he was arrested, the affidavit says.

When Crenshaw was questioned about the homicide, the affidavit says that he made statements to police that he shot Jones while trying to break into the business. It also states that he was wearing a blue skull hat, a dark sweatshirt and dark pants.

Clothing matching that description was seized by police along with an AT&T flip phone, according to the affidavit.

Crenshaw is scheduled to appear in Spotsylvania General District Court for a preliminary hearing on the burglary charges on March 11.

A hearing date has not been set in the slaying case.

Crenshaw is incarcerated in the Rappahannock Regional Jail under no bond.

Portsia Smith: 540/374-5419