Tuesday, August 16, 2022
HomeNewsA Hephzibah Man was Murdered. She Burned His Clothes to Cover It...

A Hephzibah Man was Murdered. She Burned His Clothes to Cover It Up, Cops Say.


Bizarre new details in the Hephzibah murder of Chad Garner who was found dumped in a local shed:

  • STEPHENSEmily Stephens, 17, of Augusta (shown above and at right), was charged Tuesday for tampering with evidence after allegedly burning the Garner’s clothes. A warrant says she burned the victim’s clothes at 1153 Piney Grove Road after knowing the victim was dead. She “did knowingly destroy evidence with the intent of obstructing the apprehension” of murder suspect William Krepps. Her relationship with Krepps is unclear.
  • Tybee Island Police Investigator B. Whitley confirmed Wednesday that his agency recovered a vehicle there that was driven by Garner’s missing friend, Preston Overton. Authorities say the men who killed Garner – William Krepps and Vaughn Verdi – took a vacation over the weekend to Tybee Island after the murder. Sources tell us the suspects may have used Overton’s car to get to Tybee Island. The vehicle was a 2014 Dodge Journey.
  • missing posterOverton remains missing. He was last seen Friday, and authorities released a missing poster on Tuesday that says he was last seen with Garner. People with knowledge of his disappearance are asked to call Investigator Lucas Grant at 706-821-1020 or 821-1080.

Previous story. A pair of Richmond County friends were charged Monday in the death of a Hephzibah man whose body was found dumped in a shed with five gunshots.

Vaughn Austin Verdi, 23, of Augusta, and William Krepps, 23, of Hephzibah, were both charged with murder and weapon possession in the death of 27-year-old Chad V. Garner, also known as Damien King or D.K.

Garner’s body was discovered Sunday morning inside a shed at 4401 Peach Orchard Road after someone called authorities. (Garner is pictured here with his wife.)

CHaddAuthorities say the pair shot Garner five times, including twice in the back of the head and once each in the chest, back and tricep. They used a Black High Point 9 mm, which was later found wrapped in a towel inside a garage of Krepps’ family residence.

Both suspects are felons and weren’t even supposed to have a gun. That earned them both an additional charge of weapon possession by a convicted felon.

Verdi has a felony conviction for entering an automobile with the intent to commit theft. Krepps was convicted a few months ago of kidnapping.

Verdi KreppsKrepps Violent History. Krepps was released from jail in February after two years awaiting trial for a 2014 rape and kidnapping case. He pleaded guilty to the kidnapping charge and prosecutors dropped the rape charge. Judge Sheryl B. Jolly released him with time served and probation.

Krepps (shown here in a Facebook photo) was wearing a mask in 2014 when he secured a woman’s hands with duct tape inside a local house and then choked her into unconsciousness when she woke up.

Krepps photoIt was part of a bizarre scheme by 43-year-old Ricky Lee Darby to win the victim’s affections by “saving” the woman. He told police that his friend Krepps took it too far.

According to the victim, she was drugged while having dinner with Darby and woke up in a house with the masked man over her. After being choked, she awoke a second time in bed with Darby, a disabled man who told her she could have sex with him or with the other strangers in the house.

Verdi photoLast year, Darby pleaded guilty to false imprisonment and got a 10-year prison sentence.

Verdi’s History. In November 2014, Verdi was one of two men arrested for entering autos at the Select Auto Sales on Tobacco Road in Augusta at 2 in the morning.

Verdi (shown here in a Facebook photo) was charged with five counts each of entering a vehicle to commit theft and criminal trespass.  The owner of the business called 911 after an alarm was triggered at the back of his property.

He pleaded guilty to every charge in March 2015 and was given probation by Judge Carl C. Brown Jr.

Cover Issue 903For more crime news, pick up this week’s new edition of The Jail Report, which includes coverage of this murder.


Greg Rickabaugh
Greg Rickabaugh
Greg Rickabaugh is an award-winning crime reporter in the Augusta-Aiken area with experience writing for The Augusta Chronicle, The Augusta Press and serving as publisher of The Jail Report. Rickabaugh is a 1994 graduate of the University of South Carolina and has appeared on several crime documentaries on the Investigation Discovery channel.


  1. Interesting how quick people are to make such harsh comments on ANY of this case when Richmond county FAILS to release ALL the info – only what makes the story “juicy” or dramatic. Where is the part about WHO the gun that was found was registered to?? And just so happens to be the same person that found the body FIRST an entire day before it was reported, yet he failed to call the police or tell anyone about it- it’s that a crime in itself? and since they are bringing up their pasts…his makes the story REALLY interesting- all though it’s not his past when his case is still pending and he’s looking at a life sentence. I’m just saying we need to remember that the media will post what they want us to see/think and not stick to posting just straight facts. And it’s odd that certain information gets left out conveniently of the story to help mold the opinion they want everyone to have …

    • Guns aren’t registered to anybody. You can go buy one from Walmart today and then sell or give it away just like it was a pair of shoes. That gun registration junk is only done in like 2 states. Get your facts straight.

      • My apologies for using the wrong WORD… should have said who OWNED the gun, there … happy? Still doesn’t change the point of the comment- important facts are being left out that create valid questions…. and I guess Georgia doesn’t have a contact number that people can call to report suspicious or illegal things (like dead bodies) and it’s not suspicious at all that a person happens to stumble across one and he decides to leave it there and immediately start covering his own tracks and hiding his gun and proceed to act completely shocked when someone else finds the body a whole day later … that’s normal right? So no point in mentioning it I guess..

        • I’m assuming this is Amber as you’re the only buying the “he’s setting me up.” They have him at Emily’s asking her to burn the clothes. They found the car in Tybee. As well as a lot of other details you DON’T KNOW. The guy you are referring to was never at Emily’s and never went to Tybee. I suggest distancing yourself from this rather than jumping in the fire before the details come out in court.

        • And why would investigators wants to create questions from the public when the investigators already know the answer to those questions but can not make them public? Like I said, I strongly encourage you to take a step back from this bc you will look foolish when details emerge

          • But for giggles, please elaborate on your theory on how he was set up but felt the need to have his cousin burn the evidence and also drive the victims car to Tybee? There’s no disputing those 2 things….

        • So if you know all these facts, why aren’t you talking with the media, if you went to them you would have some protection because it would all be public. Are you just trying to create some doubt for these two thugs for killings these two people? Did this person take a vacation to Tybee in one of the victims auto?

          • The investigators have all the info which is my point…. they know everything I know, but yet the public doesn’t… and as far as a vacation goes… I have no knowledge of the accused driving the victims car to tybee … so I can’t speak on that

    • If you are in possession of so much truth, why aren’t you calling a press conference instead of debating people on a web site’s comment section? If you know something, do something. If not, why debate??

  2. “He pleaded guilty to the kidnapping charge and prosecutors dropped the rape charge. Judge Sheryl B. Jolly released him with time served and probation.”

    I’m astounded these words are actually put together to describe actual facts.

    Judge Sheryl B. Jolly, I’m sure the victim’s wife would like an explanation of why a kidnapper was released with time served.

  3. From the looks of things several people have a lot more info than they are willing to make public. Maybe someone should be asking these folks some questions to see if they can help with the location of Preston. Someone knows where this young man is and his family deserves to know. Enough is Enough, if you know something spit it out!

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