Georgia State Patrol investigators search for additional evidence in Rossville Friday. WRCBtv.com photo
ROSSVILLE, GA (WRCB) -
UPDATE: Hours after investigators announced they had found the car that hit and killed Michael Burns, police tracked down the driver.
Charles “Eric” Magin, 36, was arrested Friday at a home in Trenton.
Joey King spent the day at work, but says his mind was focused on his cousin.
“I was ecstatic,” he said, “But on the other hand, we're also upset at what [Magin's] family is going to go through.”
King says Magin's arrest gives his family some closure, but there will always be one lingering question.
“We just want to know why. I mean, how can you drive off when you know you hit somebody?” he said, “and I'm sure he's lived in misery ever since that day.”
Magin is facing two felony counts of vehicular homicide and leaving the scene of an accident. The arrest was the result of a team effort by multiple agencies.
“They never gave up. They stayed on it. Ya'll kept it on the news, kept it fresh in people's minds and we knew eventually someone was going to come forward,” he said.
Investigators say Magin did not resist arrest.
Georgia State Patrol officers have arrested Charles Eric Magin in the vehicular homicide of Michael Burns.
The car was located by a Walker County deputy during an unrelated search in the Flintstone area.
GSP was at the scene of the crime, 1200 Indian Ave in Rossville, on Friday collecting more evidence now that they know the car's make and model.
The evidence will be sent to a GBI crime lab and compared to evidence from the victim and the wheelchair he was using.
Once they had the car in custody, Sgt. Sturdivan said he knew a suspect would soon follow.
"We have a person that we're looking at at this present time," Sgt. Sturdivan said, and added he hopes to make an arrest soon, "He needs to come turn himself in, because I'm going to be knocking on his door after a while."
They found Magin around 4 p.m. Friday at a home in Trenton and he did not resist arrest.
GSP believes Magin was driving his girlfriend's car on that Saturday afternoon in Rossville.
Magin is charged with vehicular homicide, but police say more charges will follow.
Sgt. Sturdivan said they've received hundreds of tips from people after they asked for help, and the case was featured on Crime Stoppers this week.
One of the viewer's tips talked about this same car now in custody.
PREVIOUS STORY: It has been nearly three weeks since Michael Burns was killed. In the days since, authorities have been investigating, gathering bits and pieces of evidence, and asking that the guilty person do the right thing and turn himself in. Now, Crime Stoppers is taking up the case in hopes that the promises of anonymity and a big payday will get some to make a call that would solve this crime.
Saturday afternoon, January 24th, 56-year old Michael Burns was riding along Indian Avenue in Rossville, in his motorized wheelchair when he was hit by a car. The impact was so severe, it knocked him out of his shoes. "I'm very angry that somebody didn't stop," said Joey King, a cousin of Burns. "How could you do something to somebody like that and not even stop?" The family and the community are still in shock. "It sounded like an explosion. Like two cars had hit," remembered Lacey Hartley. She lives close by and says she often saw Burns lawfully riding along the side of the road. On that day, she watched the person who had had run him over drive away. "They took off down the road and took a right on to James Street," she added. "They barely stopped right there, too. There could have been another accident right there, as well."
Another sick element of this crime, before the suspect fled the scene, "The vehicle stopped," said Georgia State Patrol SGT. Tommy Sturdivan. "And we know that because of physical evidence that was left at the scene."
So who are we looking for? A male driver of a 2000 to 2014 model Ford Taurus registered in Tennessee with a Tennessee license plate. "The vehicle will be silver or gray in color," said Sgt. Sturdivan, "and will have damage to the right front corner." Or, look for a recently repaired passenger side front quarter panel.
The family of Michael Burns has said goodbye. Troopers and the State Patrol are working together, investigating every lead. Now, we just need the right tip from you. Up to $1,000 in Crime Stoppers cash is available. A small price to serve up justice and give grieving family some answers. "[I] still I think all of us are still in the state of shock. It's not really set in with us yet," King said. "It's just unbelievable. It's going to hurt us forever, we'll never forget him."
It was said early on that someone is out there walking around with a guilty conscience. We cannot count on that. So we hope you may have seen that car. Or, maybe you work at a body shop and have recently repaired a front end that brings to mind of our sample car.
If so, call Crime Stoppers: 698-3333
An officer may answer the phone or return your call but, no one will ever ask your name.