A Newton County man was found murdered in his home Sunday evening, according to the Newton County Sheriff's Office, in the County's fifth homicide of the year.
The mother of Gary Lamar Jones, 28, came home around 11:30 p.m. to their residence in the Benedict Place subdivision to find her son dead.
There appeared to be signs of a forced entry, said NCSO Capt. Doug Kitchens.
Georgia Bureau of Investigations completed an autopsy but is holding the results pending the investigation.
He was last seen around 1:30 p.m. Sunday at Springfield Baptist Church where he sang tenor in the choir and was an active member of the singles ministry since December 2006, according to church staff.
Springfield Baptist Church announced Tuesday it is offering a reward of $5,000 for information leading to the arrest of the person or persons responsible for Jones's death. New Birth Missionary Baptist Church is matching that amount for a total reward of $10,000.
"Today, we are appealing to the community, because this is not the kind of place where someone should go to church and then be a victim of homicide before Monday came around," said Senior Pastor Eric Lee, in a press conference.
Originally from New Jersey, Jones worked at the Jackson State Prison as a corrections officer for about four months and recently was working at a Red Lobster restaurant in Conyers.
He was described by church staff as a friendly, energetic, pleasant man that people couldn't help but like.
"This guy was a blessing to know," said Lee. "He was delightful. He was a hard worker, a respectful man."
Lee said Jones was a role model to his siblings and family, who are from New Jersey where Jones will eventually be buried.
At a short-notice prayer vigil held Monday night, about 300 people showed up, Lee said.
Lee has ministered to two other incidents of homicide in the community this year, he said, but this is the first active member to be lost in a homicide.
Jones, who had boxed a bit in New Jersey, recently began training again as an amateur boxer about three months ago and had even knocked out his opponent at the March 21 Georgia Golden Gloves competition, said his trainer Quinn Hawkins, who also attends Springfield Baptist.
"He became a permanent fixture to our boxing team," said Hawkins. "We have a lot of smaller kids that looked up to him."
Hawkins said Jones would never hesitate to take the time to work with and teach the younger boxers, which included white, black, Latino kids.
Hawkins said he didn't realize how much the kids loved him until he took several of the kids from the gym to the prayer vigil. One parent told him their son talked about Jones all the time.