Bobby Jay “B.J.” Cole, the Walker County man whose wife was found dead off a rural county road on June 18, turned himself in and was arrested Monday evening, June 24, Walker County Sheriff Steve Wilson said.

Wilson emphasized that the arrest is because Cole, who is on parole, violated his parole. He has not been charged in connection with his wife's death, Wilson said.

The Sheriff's Office continues to actively investigate all leads in the death of 31-year-old Britney Parker Cole and is awaiting toxicology results, Wilson said.

The Georgia Board of Pardons and Paroles issued an arrest warrant June 24, said Steve Hayes, director of communications for the board.

Cole, 45, was released on parole in the late summer of 2018 after serving time for a 1990 murder in Walker County.

The body of Britney Cole was found about 115 feet off a roadway in a rural area of Walker County, just outside the LaFayette city limits. The couple had been married eight days. Officials said she had been dead 3-5 days. Bobby Cole had not reported his wife missing, officials said.

Wilson said Cole left Walker County Sunday afternoon, June 23, and spent that night “camping out somewhere between Whitfield and Gordon counties.”

The sheriff said that at about 6:30 p.m. on Monday, June 24, Cole reached out to someone to help him turn himself in to the Georgia Department of Community Supervision. The DCS is tasked with monitoring parolees in the state of Georgia.

The officer in charge of Cole's case at the DCS office was on hand in Gordon County to take custody of the parolee when he arrived to turn himself in to authorities, Wilson said.

The Walker County Sheriff's Office was also on hand to transport Cole back to its jail. Cole will be held there while awaiting Pardons and Paroles’ decision on whether to revoke parole.

Parole violations — which can include avoiding supervision, not being at approved work locations or approved residence, or leaving the state without prior authorization — can result in the parolee facing charges for each parole violation, which can result in parole revocation and the return to prison.

Hayes said Bobby Cole's parole violation will result in him being held without bond in the Walker County jail until a disposition of the parole violation charges can be made by the DCS.

Once the DCS has made its disposition to the parole board, the board will review the charges and decide whether to revoke or continue parole, Hayes said.

This process and its resulting conclusion can take significant time to complete since it involves multiple parties, including a five-member parole board.

Sheriff Wilson said it could take up to four weeks before a hearing can be held in such matters. Cole will be held in his facility without bond until the hearing has been held.

Background

Bobby Cole was released on parole on Aug. 22, 2018, after serving nearly 28 years for a 1990 murder in Walker County.

He was 16 years old when he was accused of killing 27-year-old Ringgold High School graduate Benjamin West on Aug. 13, 1990. Police say he lured West to a secluded area, robbed him, and then fatally shot him in the back of the head. The two had worked together at Kentucky Fried Chicken in Ringgold. West was the store’s manager and Cole was a team member.

Cole pleaded guilty to the crimes and was sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of parole.

On Monday, June 24, when the warrant was issued by the Georgia Board of Pardons and Paroles, Cole had been out on parole 10 months.

Cole was taken back into custody on the board's warrant on Monday night, June 24, almost a week after his new wife's body was found in the 2900 block of Old Mineral Springs Road in Walker County.

He and Britney Parker Cole had been married eight days before her body was found by two farmers driving by the rural grassy area just outside the LaFayette city limits. The body location was approximately two miles from their residence.

The investigation into the death of Britney Parker Cole is ongoing. Anyone with information is asked to contact the Walker County Sheriff's Office at 706-638-1909.

Jan Morris is assistant editor for the Catoosa County News in Ringgold, Ga., and the Walker County Messenger in LaFayette, Ga.

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