published Tuesday, November 27th, 2012

Three Murray County men charged in connection to stabbing

Three Murray County, Ga., men are in jail and charged in connection with the stabbing death of a 39-year-old man over the holiday weekend.

Law enforcement authorities said Charles Congden was drinking and playing pool with three friends at a house on North White Oak Drive when the men got into an argument and 36-year-old Dwane Fowler stabbed Congden with a knife.

Congden then wandered the neighborhood Friday night, first knocking on a house where no one was home, then collapsing on another neighbor's porch, Murray County Chief Deputy Ray Sitton said.

Firefighters tried to revive Congden, but he died at a hospital, Deputy Coroner Alan Robbins said.

Police charged Fowler with felony murder. Fowler's roommate, 41-year-old Randy Campbell, was charged with being party to a crime, along with 54-year-old James Patterson, who lived down the street, arrest reports show. Being party to a crime is a felony charge.

But the sheriff's office and the Georgia Bureau of Investigation still are investigating why the fight started and Campbell and Patterson's involvement in Congden's death, Sitton said. Police believe the folding knife used to stab Congden in the chest could have belonged to Fowler, he said.

Records show Fowler was sentenced to a year in the Murray County Jail in 2007 after he pleaded guilty to bringing items into jail.

Meanwhile, funeral arrangements hadn't been made for Congden as of Monday afternoon. His criminal record consists of a disorderly conduct charge that was dropped.

Contact staff writer Joy Lukachick at or 423-757-6659.

about Joy Lukachick Smith...

Joy Lukachick Smith is the city government reporter for the Chattanooga Times Free Press. Since 2009, she's covered crime and court systems in North Georgia and rural Tennessee, landed an exclusive in-prison interview with a former cop convicted of killing his wife, exposed impropriety in an FBI-led, child-sex online sting and exposed corruption in government agencies. Earlier this year, Smith won the Malcolm Law Memorial Award for Investigative Reporting. She also won first place in ...

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