Deputy Ethan Wise and Sgt. James Atkins, right, escort suspect Michael Scoggins from his residence to a cruiser to take him to the Jones County Adult Detention Center for booking for manslaughter. (Photo by Mark Thornton)

Oh, brother!

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Domestic dispute between sons of chainsaw artist turns deadly

A fight between brothers turned deadly Saturday afternoon at a residence on Charlie Green Road, near the Wayne County line.

Michael Scoggins, 27, of Laurel may have been protecting himself and family members inside the mobile home when he shot his brother Kenny Scoggins, 31, of Sandersville, according to an affidavit that was read by Justice Court Judge Billie Graham in the suspect’s initial appearance on Sunday afternoon.

The victim was shot multiple times, according to a report from the Jones County Sheriff’s Department, and investigators recovered eight spent shell casings from the scene, Graham said, reading from the affidavit.

Michael Scoggins was charged with manslaughter and Graham set his bond at $20,000. When asked by a reporter if he felt like he had no choice but to shoot his brother, he said, “Leave me alone, man.”

The circumstances that led to the shooting were read by Graham from the affidavit of JCSD Investigator Keith LeRoy.

The day before, Michael Scoggins allowed his brother’s wife and children to come over and stay “to get away” from a possible “domestic situation,” according to the affidavit. But on Saturday, Kenny Scoggins called and said he was coming to get them, and when he arrived in his pickup, he “attempted to run over” his brother.

The truck almost struck Michael Scoggins and the porch, the affidavit continued, and when Kenny Scoggins got out, he “came at (his brother) with an open pocket knife.”

The two began fighting and Michael Scoggins, who had a 9mm handgun in one hand and a hammer in the other, “started shooting,” according to the affidavit. Kenny Scoggins was found on the porch of the mobile home and was pronounced dead by Deputy Coroner Ernest Hollingsworth. When deputies arrived, Michael Scoggins was “kneeling over” his brother’s body and told them that the gun was inside on the table.

The brothers are the sons of well-known chainsaw artist Dayton Scoggins. He was on the scene along with other family members gathered at the end of the driveway, behind crime-scene tape, waiting to find out what happened.

Family members who witnessed the shooting were separated and held for questioning. When they were released a couple of hours later, they went to the end of the driveway, hugging and crying with other family members. The victim’s young son, who was there when his father got shot, sobbed as others tried to comfort him.

Speaking in a very low voice, Michael Scoggins told the judge that he lives in the mobile home with his wife and their two children, ages 3 and 15 months. He said he works as a “self-employed carver” and also said, “I just lost my job.” He grew up in Jones County but moved to Louisiana and has been back for “about two months.”

The suspect has no criminal history, LeRoy told the judge, and they had no history of domestic disputes, he added. No knife was recovered at the scene, investigators said.

Along with the JCSD, investigator Wayne Black of the District Attorney’s Office, EMServ Ambulance Service, Powers and Rustin volunteers also responded.

It was the second time in three weeks that what reportedly started as a domestic dispute turned deadly and the suspect was charged with something less than first-degree murder.

On Feb. 20, 42-year-old Whitney Kitchens of Ellisville was charged with second-degree murder in the death of his wife, Erin Galaher, 43. Kitchens told investigators that he was acting in self-defense after his wife pulled a .22-caliber pistol on him in their home on Oak Bowery Road.

She was shot five times — including two in the back, sources with knowledge of the case say — with a .38-caliber handgun that Kitchens reportedly grabbed off the top of his refrigerator.