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Case against slaying suspects proceeds
3 Mullinax mug

Two Dawson County men charged in the killing of a south Georgia couple late last year along the Amicalola River were indicted Monday.


Jessie James Kilgore, 40, and Benjamin Kelly Mullinax, 27, each face two counts of murder and two counts of felony murder.


Both are also charged with tampering with evidence, false statements to law enforcement and two counts of concealing the death of another.

In addition, Kilgore was indicted on two counts of possessing firearms during the commission of a felony.


No trial dates have been set.


The charges stem from the Dec. 19 shooting deaths of Paul and Jennifer Budrawich, who was Kilgore’s stepdaughter.


Authorities say Kilgore shot the couple several times with a .38 caliber handgun and pushed their bodies into the river.


Mullinax was reportedly with him at the time.


Officials have said the slayings appear to meet the state’s criteria for pursuing the death penalty, though prosecutors have not commented publicly on that possibility.


Kilgore has named Rob McNeill from the Dawson County Public Defedender’s Office as his counsel.


Lee Parks, an attorney from Hall County, which is also part of the two-county Northeastern Judicial Circuit, has been appointed to represent Mullinax.


Authorities have not released a motive in the Budrawich slayings.


However, family members have said the couple was about to reclaim custody of their two children, as well as a third son, who Kilgore fathered with Jennifer Budrawich.


The couple had traveled from Effingham County to visit the boys the weekend they were killed.


Authorities found their bodies a day apart after receiving a frantic 911 call from a woman saying she was going to be shot.


The call was from Jennifer Budrawich.


A woman’s voice could be heard asking, “Why are you shooting us? Why did you bring me down here to the river?”


A man’s voice replied, “I’m going to kill both of you.”


According to Dawson County Sheriff’s Maj. John Cagle, who heads the agency’s criminal investigation division, the handgun has not been found.


Kilgore remains in custody at the Dawson County detention center, where he had been held as recently as May on a burglary charge.


At the time of his arrest in the murder investigation, Kilgore was out on $35,000 property bond.


According to the bail order, Kilgore posed “no threat or danger to any person, to the community or to any property in this community.”