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Echols County Sheriff’s Office arrests man in homicide case

Man also detained on multiple drug offenses
Arrest
Posted at 3:01 PM, Aug 02, 2022
and last updated 2022-08-02 15:02:48-04

STATENVILLE, Ga. (WTXL) — The Echols County Sheriff’s Office announced Tuesday that a man has been arrested in a homicide case.

The sheriff’s office said Cessor Mario Houston, Jr., age 45 of Naylor, was indicted for felony murder and multiple drug offenses Monday.

During Houston's detainment Monday, small bags of cocaine and methamphetamine were discovered by law enforcement.

Houston is at the Lowndes County jail on the murder charge along with the additional charges of Possession of Cocaine with intent to Distribute, Possession of Methamphetamine with Intent to Distribute, Possession of TCH Oil and Possession of Drug Related Objects.

Houston was indicted by an Echols County grand jury on the offenses.

The sheriff’s office said Steven Johnson, a resident of Echols County was found dead in his yard Oct. 23, 2021.

The death was investigated as a drug overdose.

The Georgia Bureau of Investigation assisted the Echols County Sheriff’s Office in the investigation. Law enforcement alleges Johnson purchased drugs from Houston prior to his death.

On the day of Johnson’s death, Houston and Lacey Gaines’ vehicle was stopped by law enforcement officials at a roadblock at the intersection of Bethel Church Road and J Frank Culpepper Road.

During the stop, illegal drugs along with fentanyl, methamphetamine, morphine, prescription pills and marijuana were discovered by law enforcement officials in the vehicle.

“This Grand Jury indictment sends a strong message to those who want to sell illegal narcotics in Echols County that this will not be tolerated and will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law,” Echols County sheriff Randy Courson said in a statement.