Double murder suspect shot mother in bed; wife also charged

Deputies say 73-year-old Virginia Thomas and 75-year-old Charles Barnett were found shot to death in their bed at their home in Waycross. (provided photo)

The Georgia Bureau of Investigation said agents arrested a husband and wife in connection with the double murder of a Waycross couple.

Bernard Rittenhouse and his wife Janet Rittenhouse were arrested and charged with the murders of 73-year-old Virginia Thomas and 75-year-old Charles Barnett. They were found dead at their home on the 2900 block of S Lakeview Drive in Waycross.

Bernard Rittenhouse is Virginia Thomas’ son, according to the GBI. He was booked into Ware County Jail on July 12. His with was arrested a day later.

Ware County Sheriff Carl James requested the GBI assist in a death investigation on July 11. A relative made a 911 call at 8:49 am saying they found Barnett and Thomas dead. Deputies found the couple had apparent gunshot wounds.

According to investigators, both Thomas and Barnett had been shot while lying in their bed.

The investigation is ongoing. If you have any information about the case, call the GBI’s Douglas Office at 912-389-4103 or the Ware County Sheriff’s Office at 912-287-4327.


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