Accused killer of officer returned to Georgia after arrest
YULEE, Fla. – A central Georgia man accused of killing a police officer Saturday night was returned to Georgia on Monday after being arrested in Nassau County early Monday morning.
Officer Tim Smith was shot to death Saturday night in a residential area of Eastman, Georgia, about 60 miles southeast of Macon. Smith, who had been with the Eastman Police Department since 2011, was responding to a suspicious person call when he was shot.
Nassau County Sheriff Bill Leeper said that deputies knew that 24-year-old Royheem Deeds, who was wanted in Smith’s killing, may be in a gold Nissan Altima with Georgia tags driving south on U.S. 1, possibly toward Gainesville.
Nassau County deputies pulled over a car matching that description about 1 a.m. Monday in Hilliard on U.S. 1 at County Road 108. Deeds was found in the trunk.
“A police officer’s job is very dangerous. We see this around our country and even locally that things have happened. The Eastman officer was doing his job and was killed as a result of that,” Leeper said. “It’s very sad when that happens, but it’s certainly a good day when we can find the individual that did it and arrest them.”
Deeds, his sister, 22-year-old Franshawn Deeds, who was driving the car, and a passenger, Jamil Mitchell, 32, were all arrested without incident. Mitchell is Franshawn Deeds’ boyfriend, according to authorities.
No weapons were found during the arrests, Leeper said.
“Police used great restraint in my opinion doing this. It’s always emotional when police are apprehending someone that killed someone,” News4Jax crime and safety analyst Gil Smith said. “It’s even more emotional when he’s killed another law enforcement officer. I think they used great restraint in not using deadly force or beating him severely for that matter.”
Royheem Deeds is charged with murder, and Franshawn Deeds and Mitchell are charged with hindering the apprehension of a fugitive.
Leeper told News4Jax that all three waived extradition during their first appearance Monday morning. They were transported in three separate cars to Glynn County, Georgia, about 1:30 p.m. Monday. Leeper said the three will be housed in the Glynn County jail temporarily.
According to Telfair County records, Royheem Deeds has a violent criminal past, including an arrest in 2010 for robbery and aggravated assault, as well as a 2015 arrest for cruelty to children in the first degree.
Mitchell also has two prior arrests for possession of cocaine.
Franshawn Deeds was arrested in Dodge County Georgia for obstructing police.
Smith leaves behind two sons, a daughter and a stepson, his fiancé Chelsea Clark told CNN. Smith would have turned 31 on Monday, she said.
Eastman, the county seat of Dodge County, is home to about 5,500 residents. It is about 55 miles southeast of Macon.