Georgia aims to execute a man accused of golf course murders

Bryan Anthony Rhoden appears in a mugshot

Georgia prosecutors want to seek the death penalty for a man accused of killing three men on a country club golf course last summer.

Bryan Anthony Rhoden24, is charged at Pinetree Country Club with 15 separate counts of death, including two different legal theories of murder, kidnapping and aggravated assault.

“Although we have not yet filed a written notice, it is our intention to seek the death penalty,” the Cobb County District Attorney’s Office said in a statement seen by CBS affiliate WGCL in Atlanta. “We will file a written notice in due course pursuant to the unified appeal process.”

The defendant is accused of killing the 46-year-old Eugene “Gene” Siller46 years Henry Valdezand 76 years old Paul Pierson on the afternoon of July 3, 2021. Investigators believe the latter two men were originally the intended victims and that Rhoden “taped taped” the “hands, legs and mouth” of Valdez and Pierson. Rhoden allegedly stole Pierson’s pickup truck to transport his two victims to the golf course, where he shot them and left them behind.

Prosecutors say Siller, the club’s beloved director of golf and former PGA player, was the victim of bad timing: he was unlucky enough to stumble upon the crime in progress and was shot in the head and neck. Prosecutors believe he ventured to the 10th hole to see why a truck reversed into the sand trap.

Rhoden was originally arrested within hours of the golf course murders, but for multiple unrelated traffic violations. Prison records show that he was released two days later. He was later arrested again, this time for good, and on July 8 he was charged with three counts of murder, three counts of aggravated assault and two counts of kidnapping.

The formal indictment, with each of the 15 separate counts, was returned by a Cobb County grand jury later that same month.

Rhoden, an aspiring musician, has consistently maintained his innocence.

“Contrary to the abundance of biased publicity, the allegations made against me are false,” the defendant said in an Instagram post earlier this week. “These accusatory articles/reports could not be further from the truth but should be recognized for what they are, blatant and outright statements of assassination, defamation, [sic] and exhaust my character and that of others. In my absence, I ask people to keep an open mind as to what led to the unfortunate turns of events and who is responsible.”

Published details about the circumstances leading up to the mysterious murders at the original golf course are still few and far between.

Cobb County Police Chief Tim Cox has described Rhoden as the “lone gunman” in the case and said that Siller was probably shot because he “was witness to an active crime”.

“His name came up within a few days,” the police chief said of the defendant, declining to elaborate on this alleged connection to the apparently intended victims or Pinetree at the time of his original arrest. Neither Valdez nor Pierson had any ties to the country club.

According to that Constitution of the Atlanta Journal, Rhoden knew both Valdez and Pierson, the former better than the latter. Valdez reportedly owned a marijuana dispensary in California, was open to selling drugs, and worked with the defendant. Pierson, an engineer, was the marijuana dealer’s longtime employee.

Judge Robert E. Flournoy III was selected on Wednesday to oversee the trial.

According to prison records, the defendant does not have a lawyer.

[image via Cobb County Sheriff’s Office]

Do you have a tip we should know? [email protected] Georgia aims to execute a man accused of golf course murders

James Brien

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