VALDOSTA -- A former Valdosta State University student is being sought on a warrant for murder in the death of another student whose body was found in the living room of a house on Georgia Avenue on the morning of July 9, 2000.

Another student who lived in the house with murder suspect Geoff Ryan Hatcher, 24, at the time the body of William Franklin, 20, was discovered is out on bond after being charged with obstruction and giving false statements.

Ronald Lee Pitcock, 27, was released on $6,000 bond on Wednesday from the Lowndes County Jail. According to warrants, Pitcock is charged with removing "certain articles" from the crime scene on 603 Georgia Ave. before Valdosta Police Department detectives were called to the scene.

The warrants also allege that Pitcock "falsely stated that he did not have anything to do with the illegal drugs or paraphernalia that was in the house," and "stated that he did not move any of these things out of the house before the arrival of law enforcement."

Hatcher has not been located by law enforcement since warrants for murder and possession of Gamma Hydroxy-Butrate (GHB) were issued Friday.

Police would not comment on where they think Hatcher may be, but did say they believe he is living in Georgia.

According to warrants issued for Hatcher, he is accused of "pouring (GHB) in three or four containers and mixed it with a punch type liquid."

The murder warrant states Hatcher provided Franklin with a "lethal amount" of the colorless, odorless liquid drug blamed for his death.

GHB is often slipped into people's drinks unknowingly, and is considered a date rape drug by many in law enforcement. Police would not comment on the specifics of Franklin's death.

Franklin, a native of Blakely, was reportedly discovered just after noon that Sunday, face-down on the living room floor by someone who tried to wake him.

Franklin didn't rent the Georgia Avenue house with Pitcock, Hatcher and two other students, and The Valdosta Daily Times reported at the time that Franklin was not well known to the four.



To contact reporter Peter Failor, please call 244-3400, ext. 247.



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