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Man accused in Quarry Road murder arraigned; victim was robbed, shot, run over

August 3rd, 2011 12:55 pm by Becky Campbell

A man found shot to death over the weekend on Quarry Road was robbed and run over by the man charged, according to court documents filed in the case.
Justin A. Stratton, aka Puff, 30, 1500 Bell Ridge Road No. 16, is charged with first-degree murder and especially aggravated robbery in the death of Gary Couch.
Stratton was arraigned in Washington County Sessions Court on those charges and charges of burglary, theft under $500 and two counts of theft over $1,000 from a related case.
Couch’s body was found lying in the road Saturday by a passing motorist, according to Johnson City police.
Couch had been shot multiple times and run over. He went to Quarry Road with two women, Ginger Holtsclaw and Ashley Harold, after leaving Numan’s Bar with them, police said.
“Holtsclaw and Harold stated that Stratton ordered them to drive the victim down to the underpass (Quarry Road),” Johnson City Police Department Investigator Michael Barron wrote in a court document.
The women, and others, had apparently seen Couch counting his money while they were at the bar and Stratton said he was going to “get his stuff.”
Stratton apparently followed the women to Quarry Road and pulled in behind them. He got out of the vehicle he was in, got Couch out of the women’s car and “shot him multiple times,” the court record reads.
Earlier in the investigation, police linked Stratton to a burglary and auto theft that had occurred at Reliable Imports on West Market Street on the same day.
Two vehicles, a white Ford Expedition and black Mercedes, were taken from the lot after someone broke into the business and took keys to those vehicles as well as a camera.
On Sunday, police pulled over a vehicle with the two women and Stratton in it and took them to police headquarters for questioning. The women claimed they had left the bar with Couch, but dropped him off at Powell Square Park where he got into a large white SUV.
Other information on Monday led police to question Holtsclaw and Harold again and this time the women said Stratton had robbed and killed Couch.
The white Expedition was tested for the presence of blood on the undercarriage and those results were positive, according to court documents.
Stratton is jailed on a $181,000 cash bond and also has unrelated charges pending, according to Assistant District Attorney General Julie Hayes.
She told Judge John Kiener that Stratton is due in court next week on charges of identity theft and two counts of forgery.
Kiener appointed attorney Jim Lonon to represent Stratton.

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