WINDER - One of the twin brothers charged in the death of a former newspaper reporter whose body was found buried in concrete was denied bond Thursday by a Georgia judge, who said the man seemed to be a flight risk.
William Cormier III, 31, appeared in court dressed in an orange and white striped jail suit and with his ankles and wrists chained. Barrow County Superior Court Judge Penn McWhorter said it did not appear Cormier had significant ties to the community.
Cormier and his brother, Christopher, are charged with murder and concealing a death in the slaying of 30-year-old Sean Dugas of Florida. Christopher Cormier did not appear in court Thursday because he is awaiting appointment of a lawyer.
The brothers were charged last week after police in Winder discovered Dugas' body entombed in concrete and buried in the backyard of the twins' father's home. Winder police were led to the home after being contacted by police in Pensacola, Fla., who were investigating Dugas' disappearance. An autopsy determined that Dugas died from blows to the head about a month before his body was found Oct. 8.
Prosecutor Deborah Wilbanks asked the judge not to grant bond for William Cormier, saying he had no clear ties to the community and was likely a flight risk.
Defense attorney James Rogers asked the judge to set a low bond, explaining that Cormier had little money of his own and it was unclear whether his father would be able or willing to pay any sum for bond. Rogers argued that Cormier has lived most of his life in Georgia and that there was no evidence that he would flee.
Investigators say they have not yet determined a motive in the killing and do not know where it happened.
The next grand jury in Barrow County is set for the end of the month, and it seems unlikely prosecutors will be ready to present their case by then. The next grand jury doesn't meet until February, Rogers said. He argued that would be a very long time for his client to wait in jail.
Winder police Lt. Frank Farr testified that he was sitting outside the twins' father's home Oct. 8 while waiting for a search warrant to come through. The twins' father was talking on the phone when he pulled up in a BMW, saw the officers, started walking toward them and then suddenly turned back and got into a Chrysler Sebring and peeled out of the driveway and sped off, Farr testified.
Farr followed the father, William Cormier Jr., as he drove erratically around town, Farr said. Finally, he stopped and got out of the car, and his twin sons appeared. The younger William Cormier got in the driver's seat and his brother got into the passenger seat and they drove off, Farr said. Farr followed the twins, who appeared to be headed out of town, and eventually pulled them over, he said.
GBI special agent Liz Bigham testified William Cormier III has a Florida driver's license and his last known address was in Florida. Investigators have not been able to find a permanent address for him but have determined he has ties to both Georgia and Florida, she said.