Roger Lee Owens pedaled a bicycle to get around town and stayed intermittently at an aunt’s house at 2223 Wolfe St. in Brunswick, said neighbor Rhonda Morris.
But Morris was at a loss Wednesday to account for why the young man would do what police allege he did — shoot to death a kindly older couple and their adult grandson inside the modest home directly across the road at 2220 Wolfe St. Owens remained Wednesday in the Glynn County Detention Center, charged with the triple murder in June of Carson Holliman Sr., 64, Vondell Holliman, 63, and their 24-year-old grandson, Christopher Holliman.
Georgia Bureau of Investigation agents and Brunswick Police arrested the 22-year-old Owens Tuesday, charging him with three counts of malice murder. Law enforcement authorities are not yet disclosing Owens’ alleged motives for the killings or any connections he may have had to the Hollimans, citing an investigation that is still very much open and active.
Morris, who lives two doors down from 2223 Wolfe St., could not imagine what might have led Owens to allegedly kill her beloved neighbors of more than 40 years. Owens’ address is listed in Tuesday’s jail booking records as 2223 Wolfe St. Morris said Owens came and went from his aunts’ house, but never lived there permanently.
Owens did not talk with neighbors during his comings and goings on Wolfe Street, Morris said.
“I don’t know what his motive was,” Morris said. “I see him riding his bicycle all the time. He stayed there sometimes, but he was always in and out.”
GBI agents went to the home Tuesday trying to find Owens, but he was not there, Morris said. Authorities have not said where Owens was apprehended. Details surrounding the arrest are being withheld because the case remains open, said Stacy Carson, special agent in charge for the GBI’s Kingsland office.
“We cannot talk about the motive at this point,” she said. “It’s still a very active investigation. I think it’s fair to say there are people out there who have more information about this incident. I would not want to comment at this stage and jeopardize where this investigation is leading.”
County Superior Court records show one previous arrest for Owens, in September of 2013, when he was charged with public drunkenness, underage drinking and interfering with government property.
The Hollimans were discovered shot to death inside their modest wood-frame home on June 18, when their absence from Sunday service at Zion Baptist Church in Brunswick raised concerns. Fellow parishioners called police after no one answered knocks at the door. Police entered the home and found the three slain inside.
No one answered several knocks Wednesday afternoon at the door at 2223 Wolfe St. A television played loudly; a kitten sat curled in a small open front window. A simple flowery plaque beside the door read: “Bless Our Family As We Grow.” Morris said Owens’ aunt was surprised by his arrest and saddened by allegations he was involved in the murders.
Nearly four months later, Morris still mourns for her long-time friends and neighbors. Morris had known the Hollimans since she moved into her home on Wolfe Street, more than 40 years ago. Carson Holliman worked for years in firearms support services at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center. Vondell Holliman was a retired Glynn County elementary school teacher, who was active in Zion Baptist’s outreach programs, Morris said.
Christopher Holliman did not let autism stop him from earning a culinary arts certification from Coastal Pines Technical College. He was a cashier at the old Winn Dixie on Altama Avenue and played drums in Zion Baptist’s church choirs.
Morris stood at the front gate of her house Wednesday, looking across the road at the small porch where she spent so many hours visiting with the Hollimans.
“That was my prayer warrior,” Morris said of Vondell Holliman. “I would go and sit over there on the porch with her and just pray and listen, pray and listen.
“I feel like this arrest has brought some closure, but this neighborhood will never be the same,” she said.