Deaths of two gay Ga. men ruled murder-suicide

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The deaths of two gay middle Georgia men were the result of a meticulously-planned scheme carried out by a jealous former boyfriend bent on exacting revenge, authorities said.

The bodies of Randall Kinard, 33 (top photo), and Christopher Michael Dukes, 41 (second photo), were found Wednesday on different floors of a home on Heritage Drive in north Houston County. Neighbors called 9-1-1 to report smoke coming from the house.

On Thursday, Houston County Sheriff Cullen Talton said autopsies performed by the GBI and evidence collected at the home and Dukes' apartment in Warner Robins showed that Dukes murdered Kinard and then killed himself. Dukes wanted to exact revenge on Ashley Battle, his former partner, for their split earlier this year and for Battle's new relationship with Kinard.

So Dukes, according to authorities, devised a plan to kidnap Kinard, force him into Battle's orange Jeep, shoot him while speeding along Interstate 75, and drag his lifeless body into the home on Heritage Drive. Dukes and Battle bought the home in 2006 and have been trying to sell it since their February breakup.

“The Houston County Sheriff's [office] has determined that Randall Kinard died from a single gunshot wound to the back while Christopher Michael Dukes died as a result of a self-inflicted gunshot would to the head,” Talton said in the press release.

On Wednesday, Dukes rented a Toyota Yaris and drove to Azul Salon & Spa in Macon where Kinard worked. Dukes lived in an apartment in Warner Robins while Battle and Kinard lived together in Macon. When Kinard rushed out of the salon about 11 a.m., Dukes confronted him and forced him into the Jeep., which he was driving that day.

“After the abduction, investigators believe that Dukes shot Kinard in the back as they drove from Arkwright Road back to 512 Heritage Drive. During this time, Kinard's cell phone and driver's license were located along I-75 in Bibb County,” Talton said in the press release.

Dukes shot Kinard with a .22-caliber pistol.

'It's a tragic, tragic thing'

Evidence showed that Kinard was shot and died while in the Jeep and that Dukes carried his body into the home. Once inside, Dukes left Kinard's body on the first floor and then set 10 fires in the home. He retreated to a second-floor bedroom and shot himself in the head with a .380-caliber handgun.

Sheriff's investigators found detailed plans of the abduction and murder in Dukes' apartment. Items found at the house with the bodies indicated that Dukes may have tried to change appearance to flee, but instead committed suicide, according to the Macon Telegraph.

“This evidence revealed that Dukes had pre-planned the abduction and murder of Kinard. The evidence indicates that Dukes was motivated to commit these crimes based on jealously and anger towards Battle and Kinard. Dukes murdered Kinard and burned the house to retaliate against Battle,” Talon said in the press release.

Battle declined to discuss the incident with Project Q Atlanta on Thursday.

“It’s a tragic, tragic thing,” Sheriff's Capt. John Holland told the Telegraph. “It’s a disturbing incident and a disturbing crime when someone takes these steps to exact that kind of revenge against someone.”

On Sunday evening, friends of Kinard will gather for a candlelight vigil at Coleman Hill in Macon.

This is a time to remember, support, and love one another as we gather together to remember the life of Randall Kinard.

Please bring candles and your good memories. We will have candles there if you don't have any.

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