March 13, 2009
A man who was found unconscious next to his wife''s body Wednesday night has been charged with her murder.
"This was definitely not suicide on her part," said Capt. Fred Shelton of the Columbus Police Department.
Peggy Pate of 415 Eighth St. S. was found by police in her bedroom shot to death Wednesday night. Police went to Pate''s residence after her sister called the CPD out of concern for Pate''s welfare.
Next to her body lay her husband George Pate, who was unconscious after an apparent drug overdose. He was taken to Baptist Memorial Hospital-Golden Triangle''s critical care unit. George Pate regained consciousness in the late hours of Wednesday morning and was questioned by the CPD about the incident. But George Pate refused to answer questions from the police and has asked for an attorney.
"Right now we are trying to establish the timeline of the death," said Shelton. "It is apparent she probably died the day before we found her. Apparently, she and the husband had some kind of altercation the night before. That''s what prompted the sister to call. She was concerned because she couldn''t get in touch with her."
According to Lowndes County Coroner Greg Merchant, Peggy Pate died from a gunshot wound to the head. Merchant did not disclose the type of gun used except to say it was a large caliber handgun. A gun was found at the scene.
"This death is a homicide and nothing but," he said.
George Pate is still in the critical care wing of the hospital; when released, he''ll be transported to Lowndes County Adult Detention Center for booking. Once he is in custody, a preliminary hearing will be scheduled.
Peggy Pate''s arrangements are incomplete and are being handled by Memorial Funeral Home in Columbus.