Veitch charged with murder

Thu, 01/15/2009 - 5:44pm
By: Ben Nelms

Coweta business owner Jason Veitch has been charged in the murder of Norcross construction worker Gaston Gonzales in a June 28, 2008 incident outside a residential work site owned by Veitch.

Veitch was arraigned Wednesday on charges of felony murder, three counts of aggravated assault and one count of possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony, according to the Coweta County District Attorney’s office.

The incident occurred just before 1 a.m. at a 55 Trammell Road home construction site near Grantville. Gonzales was shot at point blank range below the neck with a 12-gauge shotgun by Veitch, owner of J. Veitch Construction, according to Coweta Sheriff’s Capt. Tony Grant at the time of the incident. Veitch told officers he did not recognize Gonzales as someone doing work on his property, Grant said.

Gonzales and two co-workers subcontracting for Senoia Drywall had been working at the residence next door earlier in the day, said Grant. Senoia Drywall was doing work for Veitch at both locations, said Grant. The men finished their work and decided to get something to eat and return to the area to spend the night in their van rather than driving back to Gwinnett County.

Veitch had positioned himself in a nearby wooded area, armed with the shotgun and a .22-caliber handgun, said Grant. Veitch had previously told officers some of his work sites had been the subject of copper thefts.

Grant said Veitch called 911 from the woods, informing dispatchers that he was being robbed. He then called his father-in-law, who arrived minutes later at the residence. Veitch left the wooded area and approached the parked van, firing a warning shot in the air then ordering the men out of the van, Grant said. It was at that time that Veitch’s father-in-law arrived at the site, he said.

Veitch told the men to lay on the ground with their hands behind them, said Grant. While on the ground two of the men placed their hands behind them but Gonzales did not, Grant said, presumably because he did not understand the orders in English. Grant said one of the victims told officers he attempted to explain the order in Spanish but could not be heard because Veitch was yelling loudly.

Grant said Veitch was trying to get Gonzales to comply by jabbing him in the upper portion of his back just below his neck. Veitch told officers he jabbed Gonzales twice when the gun fired, fatally striking Gonzales, said Grant.

Veitch maintained the death was not intentional, saying that the shotgun he used to jab Gonzales went off. He was granted a $10,000 bond June 7.

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Submitted by FayetteFlyer on Mon, 01/19/2009 - 5:27pm.

Lives are unecessarily destroyed, and for what? Accident or not, all the defendant needed to do was wait for the Sheriff. All would have been explained and all could have gone about their lives. I'm not sure what this case will get plea bargained down to, but no less than 1st degree manslaughter should be offered.

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