Jury deliberating in Candler County murder, arson trial

METTER, GA (WTOC) - A bizarre case of murder and arson has made its way to a Candler County jury.

The defendant is facing charges of killing his neighbor over a gun, then burning the victim's house to hide the crime.

Prosecutors spent the day Tuesday presenting hours of witness testimony, mounds of photographs, and evidence while the defendant went from asking to represent himself to deciding not to testify in his own defense.

Quentin Horton started the morning asking for a continuance so he could fire his defense attorney and represent himself. Judge Kathy Palmer said the trial would continue either way, so Horton withdrew his request. Prosecutors brought autopsy results that showed Jeffrey Hagan bled to death from 14 stab wounds suffered before his house was set on fire.

Sheriff's investigators also testified that Horton - Hagan's next door neighbor - presented to them days later a rifle belonging to Hagan. They said Horton told them he didn't know how it arrived in his mother's home. District Attorney Hayward Altman also brought Horton's mother to the stand. She stated she no longer remembered telling GBI agents she'd washed her son's bloody clothes after he confessed the killing to her. She stated that prescribed medicines she took at the time made anything she said suspect.

At the last minute, defense attorney Brandy Payne said Horton had decided not to testify or call any witnesses, and the jury could begin deciding his fate.

We'll update you on the latest in this case.

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