Peterson pleads guilty to murder of Elbert County man

One of three defendants charged with the January shooting death of an 86-year-old Elbert County man pleaded guilty to murder Tuesday in Elbert County Superior Court. William David Peterson of Athens was sentenced to life in prison by Northern Judicial Circuit Superior Court Judge R. Chris Phelps. Peterson was 19-years old when the murder occurred.

Peterson admitted he shot Otha Perrin six times with Perrin’s .22-caliber rifle as he testified in court on Monday. Under a negotiated plea agreement, Peterson will be eligible for parole after serving 30 years in prison.

Perrin’s granddaughter, Savanna Marie Jennings, also 19-years-old at the time of the shooting, and Dakota Scott Street, who was 18 at the time, both of Elbert County, have pleaded not guilty to murder, felony murder, malice murder, possession of a firearm during the commission of a crime, aggravated assault and concealing the death of another.

Jennings and Street continue to await trial, which is scheduled for the week of August 13.

Jennings, who lived at her grandfather’s residence on Pearl Mill Road, originally reported to Elbert County Sheriff’s Officers on Jan. 7 that Perrin was missing. The next day, another family member came to the Sheriff’s Office and said that “something isn’t right” about the missing person’s case.

During questioning, Jennings eventually broke down and admitted she had been deceitful in her answers, according to investigators. Perrin’s body was recovered a day later from a pond on private farm property off Wahatchee Creek Road. Officers also recovered a .22 caliber rifle on the farm property near the pond where the body was recovered.