The past 12 months, Rome police worked two murder cases in May and November, both of which resulted in arrests.
While two murders countywide for the year isnt all that uncommon, it is less than the 5.4 per year average since 1995, according to records reported by police.
County Police Chief Bill Shiflett said he couldnt remember the last time the department didnt work a single murder case, but hes not complaining. Its a bad omen to talk about murders with the year not over yet, he said Wednesday. I guess we were just fortunate this year. We hope it keeps down in 2006.
Why so few murders last year?
I dont know if there is a reason, Shiflett said. When you look at the stats through the years, you see that the number of cases fluctuates.
Murder is a crime that you really cant pattern, at least in Floyd County. Its usually not random violence here. It usually is done out of the heat of the moment when both parties know each other.
The Rome Police Department wasnt much busier with murder cases.
The first homicide of 2005 occurred on May 4, when Marilyn Jamie Powell, 45, was stabbed to death inside room 108 of the Royal Inn, 1201½ Martha Berry Blvd. Her husband, Floyd Countys Michael Lee Powell, 46, was charged with the crime by city police, who said an argument had sparked a fight between the two.
On Nov. 15, a passerby found the body of Romes Susan Deloris Underwood Christian, 44, in a clearing on a hilltop off Parrish Drive near the Gateway Industrial Park. Although there is still no official cause of death, Coroner Barry Henderson said she appeared to have suffered severe head trauma.
Nearly a month later, while being questioned at the Rome Police Department, authorities said Gary Shane Abernathy, 34, of Rome, was charged with killing Underwood the night before her body was discovered. Arrest papers state the victim was beaten to death with various objects at the murder site.