Man convicted of murder of two men whose bodies were found in West Point Lake

Published 4:02 pm Wednesday, March 20, 2024

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A man has been convicted of the 2021 murder of two men that were found days later in West Point Lake.

Joshua Wayne Nutt, also known as Joshua Wayne Bradley and “A-1,” was found guilty of two counts of malice murder, six counts of felony murder, two counts of armed robbery, two counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, two counts of use of firearm by convicted felon during commission of another felony, and one count of possession of firearm by convicted felon.

On March 19, after a seven-day trial, Coweta Judicial Circuit Superior Court Judge N. Markette Baker sentenced Nutt to serve four consecutive life-without-the-possibility-of-parole sentences, followed by an additional 40 years without parole, according to a press release from the district attorney’s office.

Chief Assistant District Attorney Jack Winne prosecuted the case. Troup County Sheriff’s Office (TCSO) Captain Kelli Ellington and Lieutenant Jeff Adams led the investigation. The evidence revealed the following:

During the evening of August 7, 2021, the victims, Marcus Lee Caswell, Jr., 46, and Travis Michael Lodato, 31, both of Newnan, traveled to Nutt’s residence in an effort to collect a debt Nutt owed them. Nutt was not present at the time.

After the victims returned home to Newnan, Nutt arrived back at his house, upset, and told another person that he planned to rob the two victims of their motorcycles. Later that night, Nutt contacted Caswell and made arrangements for the victims to return to Nutt’s house the following day to settle the debt.

The victims arrived on their motorcycles in the early afternoon of Aug. 8 and were at Nutt’s house, along with Nutt and his then-girlfriend, for several hours. At some point during the late afternoon or early evening, while the girlfriend was outside and the other three were in Nutt’s house, Nutt shot Caswell once in the rear of the base of his skull and shot Lodato five times, including once in the head.

After gunning down the victims, Nutt took their jewelry and other possessions from their dead bodies, spray-painted Lodato’s motorcycle and drove it to Newnan, with the plan to break into their apartment, and then returned to LaGrange where the victims remained dead in Nutt’s house. In the early morning hours of Aug. 9, Nutt and another yet-to-be-charged accomplice, drove the victims in Nutt’s pickup truck across the county to the Lower Glass Bridge Road bridge, where Nutt dumped the victims’ bodies into West Point Lake.

Later, on Aug. 9, a fisherman discovered Caswell’s body; on Aug. 10, a boater discovered Lodato’s body.

On Aug. 12, TCSO investigators executed a search warrant at Nutt’s Lower Big Springs Road home, where they quickly found the victims’ motorcycles locked in a trailer and two pools of apparent blood in Nutt’s crawlspace. As investigators continued to search, they noticed Nutt’s pickup truck drive by the residence and pursued him. Nutt led TCSO deputies on a chase before deputies immobilized his truck by deploying stop sticks. A later search of the vehicle revealed Nutt to be in possession of Caswell’s motorcycle helmet and car keys, and Lodato’s chest plate. With the assistance of Georgia Bureau of Investigation agents and scientists, TCSO investigators recovered significant physical evidence, including both victims’ blood and DNA in Nutt’s house, despite Nutt’s efforts to clean up the crime scene, which included ripping off drywall and burning it. During interviews in August 2021, Nutt claimed he did not know how the victims were killed. At trial, Nutt claimed he killed them in self-defense, which the jury rejected with its verdict.

Nutt was on parole at the time of the murders and had six prior felony convictions, including (1) armed robbery in Clayton County, 2001, (2) multiple counts of entering an automobile in Floyd County, 2001, (3) Possession of Firearm by Convicted Felon and violations of the Georgia Controlled Substances Act in DeKalb County, 2015, (4) Trafficking in cocaine in DeKalb County, 2015, (5) violations of the Georgia Controlled Substances Act in DeKalb County, 2015, and (6) Possession of a Controlled Substance by Inmate in Baldwin County, 2017.

At sentencing, the state also showed that Nutt was associated with the Ghostface Gangsters, a violent and notorious statewide prison and street gang.

“This defendant is a cold-blooded murderer who deserves to die in prison,” said District Attorney Herb Cranford in the press release. “He chose to live a life of crime, marked by multiple felony convictions in multiple Georgia counties and by his association with the violent criminal street gang known as the Ghostface Gangsters. I am thankful that justice was done for these victims and their families.