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Sought in Murder Manhunt, Armed Georgia Lawyer Flees into Woods, Commits Suicide

Posted Feb 2, 2011 1:47 PM CDT
By Martha Neil

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Corrected: Named in an arrest warrant after allegedly shooting another man to death on Monday night, trial attorney Richard F. “Richie” Dodelin was at his home in Columbus, Ga., yesterday morning when police came to get him.

But he ran out the back door into nearby woods carrying what looked to be a shotgun, sparking a daylong manhunt by multiple departments. It also resulted in the lockdown of 11 schools before Dodelin shot himself to death, the Columbus Ledger-Enquirer reported. Dodelin reportedly exchanged gunfire with authorities, although the circumstances aren't clear.

He was in his early 40s, a Type I insulin-dependent diabetic who hadn't stopped drinking. Recently, according to court filings in debt-collection cases, he had apparently been having financial problems, recounts another Ledger-Enquirer article.

The son of a prominent Columbus DUI attorney, Dodelin was accused of shooting to death William Hugh Bullard II, 42, who police say died at some point around midnight Monday. Police say they found Bullard lying on the pavement in front of a lumber company; he had been shot in the head and possibly in the back.

Bullard and Dodelin were involved in a dispute over Bullard's daughter, whom the attorney had been dating, and the two men had agreed to meet at the lumber yard, the newspaper reported. Bullard thought he could take Dodelin in a fight, but the attorney brought a pistol, which ended the argument.

A third Ledger-Enquirer article offers some additional details.

The Georgia Bureau of Investigation is reviewing the handling of the matter.

Corrected at 1 p.m. to note that the incident happened in Columbus, Ga.

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