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Published: Thursday, 9/4/2003

Georgia wants extradition of accused killer

Georgia authorities plan to seek the extradition of a former Oak Harbor man charged in the drug-related slayings of two men outside a popular Atlanta shopping mall last year.

Steven Timmerman, 26, has been held in the Ottawa County jail in Port Clinton since his arrest early Sunday for drunken driving.

The Ohio Highway Patrol trooper who pulled him over discovered through a routine warrant check that Mr. Timmerman was wanted on four counts of felony murder in Fulton County, Ga.

Georgia officials asked Ottawa County officials to hold him until an extradition hearing can take place.

The Fulton County district attorney's office in Atlanta said Mr. Timmerman of Atlanta and Mohammad Hussein, 22, of Chamblee, Ga., each were indicted June 17 by a Fulton County grand jury on nine counts stemming from the May 2, 2002, murders of Jonathan Rice, 20, and Steven Strickland, 19, both of Marietta, Ga.

The two men were shot multiple times in the parking lot near Phipps Plaza, an upscale shopping center in the Buckhead neighborhood of Atlanta. Erik Friedly, spokesman for the district attorney's office, said the murders were drug-related.

Mr. Timmerman and Mr. Hussein were implicated in the shootings early on, and both surrendered to Atlanta police in June, 2002, after investigators announced they were wanted in the shootings.

Mr. Timmerman's Atlanta attorney, Jay Abt, said his client spent about a month in jail after he turned himself in but had posted bond and was not restricted from traveling to Ohio.

Mr. Abt said the whole case is baffling to him. Police testified at a previous court hearing that Mr. Timmerman was not the shooter but that Mr. Hussein pulled the trigger, he said.

“Quite frankly, he's charged with a murder he did not commit,” Mr. Abt said.

More than a year after the incident, Mr. Timmerman and Mr. Hussein were indicted on four counts each of felony murder, one count of conspiracy to commit a crime, two counts of possession of marijuana with intent to distribute, and two counts of possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony, Mr. Friedly said.

Two other co-defendants were indicted on lesser charges related to the case.

Mr. Abt said he was unaware of the indictment and arrest warrant until yesterday.

“I haven't heard any of that,” Mr. Abt said.

When arrested early Sunday, Mr. Timmerman told local authorities he lived with his family on State Rt. 2 in Benton Township.

Reached at home, Mr. Timmerman's mother said the family had no comment and referred all questions to his attorneys.

Ottawa County Sheriff Craig Emahiser said he did not know a murder suspect was living in the county nor was his office ever asked by Georgia authorities to look for Mr. Timmerman.

“I don't think anyone had any idea, any clue he was in our area,” Sheriff Emahiser said. “It is kind of bizarre. I know if we had someone we wanted for a murder warrant and that he had family in Georgia, we would certainly be talking to Fulton County to let them know we're looking for Joe Blow and could you check to see if he's in the area.”

Mr. Timmerman is scheduled for arraignment on the local charges Monday in Ottawa County Municipal Court.



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