published Wednesday, June 25th, 2014

Chickamauga man denies beating grandmother to death

LaFAYETTE, Ga. — The Chickamauga man accused of beating his grandmother to death still says he didn't do it.

Joshua Michael Fowler, 30, appeared in Walker County Superior Court on Tuesday morning for his arraignment. He pleaded not guilty and returned to jail, where he has been held for almost three months. His trial is scheduled to begin in November.

The Walker County Sheriff's Office arrested Fowler on the night of March 29. Earlier in the day, a neighbor had noticed that a door was open on the side of 75-year-old Joyce Ann Fowler's home on Mimosa Drive in Chickamauga. The neighbor called Joyce, but someone had cut her phone line.

Suspicious, several neighbors knocked on her door. When nobody answered, they called the police, who found Joyce Fowler on her bed, beaten to death.

A crime scene specialist believes Joyce died around 9 a.m., and one neighbor told investigators he saw Joshua at Joyce's home around that time.

When deputies arrived at Joshua Fowler's house later that night, Sheriff Steve Wilson said, Joshua told them he was high on cocaine and methamphetamine. Investigators then found his 2005 Chevrolet Tahoe, which was covered with splotches of blood.

The sheriff's office charged Fowler with murder, aggravated assault and armed robbery. Investigators believe he killed Joyce for money and pills.

Contact staff writer Tyler Jett at 423-757-6476 or tjett@timesfreepress.com.

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