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Sunday May 29th, 2016 9:56AM

Gainesville PD makes an arrest in 2001 murder case

By B.J. Williams News Director
GAINESVILLE - Gainesville police investigators Monday announced an arrest in the 2001 murder case of Crystal Barnette.

Gainesville Police Chief Brian Kelly, flanked by other police administrators and Hall County District Attorney Lee Darragh, held a press conference at the Gainesville Justice Center and announced the arrest of Daniel Lee Mason, III, 40, of Atlanta.

Mason was arrested on Wednesday, December 5 in connection with the assault of a 39-year-old woman on Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard near High Street in Gainesville. Chief Kelly said the December 5 incident and the murder of Barnette in April 2001 held a number of similarities, thus leading to charges again Mason in both incidents.

Kelly said the woman attacked on December 5 was taken to Northeast Georgia Medical Center for treatment and has since been released.

He indicated that Crystal Barnette died 11 years ago as the result of blunt force trauma. Kelly said the attack on Barnette occurred in the same general area as the attack this month.

Pressed for more details in both cases, Kelly said he could not elaborate, citing the ongoing investigation.

"We do have a motive in the case, but we're keeping that right now close to the chest," said Kelly. "For investigative purposes, we're not going to release the motive.

Kelly said investigators had spoken with members of Crystal Barnette's family about the arrest. While they were relieved, he said, they also had mixed emotions.

"Of course, it does open up those feelings back from 11 years ago that they will have to start going through again," he said.

Mason is being held without bond on one count of murder, two counts of aggravated assault, one count of aggravated battery,one count of robbery by force, one count of sexual battery, one count of theft by taking, one count of possession of cocaine and one count of giving false information to an officer.

This story will be updated.
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