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Covington man facing murder charges months after wife found dead
Transported to Newton after separate murder charge the same day led to monthslong stay in Gwinnett jail because of COVID-19
Arrief McKenzie
Arrief McKenzie. — Photo courtesy of Gwinnett County Police Department

COVINGTON, Ga. — A Covington man will be arraigned on murder charges in Newton County Superior Court Dec. 10 more than nine months after police found women he had relationships with in two separate counties had been killed.

Arrief McKenzie, 50, is facing charges of malice murder, felony murder, burglary, home invasion and others in Newton County related to the March 3 death of his estranged wife, Niki McKenzie, at a residence on Keyton Drive in Covington.

He recently was transported from Gwinnett County jail to the Newton County jail and is scheduled for arraignment on the charges before Newton County Superior Court Judge Cheveda McCamy Dec. 10.

Active warrants naming Arrief McKenzie as a suspect had been filed in Newton County since the March 3 incident after deputies found Niki McKenzie, 51, dead in the garage of the Keyton Drive home, according to a Newton County Sheriff’s Office press release.

Two hours later, a Dunwoody Police officer took McKenzie into custody after ordering the suspect to pull his vehicle to the side of I-285 in north DeKalb County.

McKenzie had been traveling westbound near Ashford Dunwoody Road at 8:47 a.m. when the officer saw the suspect’s vehicle fail to maintain its lane and nearly sideswipe another vehicle. 

The officer then checked McKenzie’s records and found an arrest warrant on a homicide charge from Newton County. 

However, he was taken to the Gwinnett County jail and Gwinnett officers arrested him on a murder charge after police found 36-year-old Jillian Myles-Walters dead earlier that morning at her home in unincorporated Lawrenceville. Myles-Walters and the suspect reportedly had been in a prior relationship.

Police in both Newton and Gwinnett counties were not transporting suspects from their jails through much of this year because of the threat of infection from COVID-19. As a result, the suspect had remained in the Gwinnett jail without bond, said District Attorney Randy McGinley.

In October, the courts allowed grand juries in Georgia to convene again and a Newton County grand jury indicted him on the charges, McGinley said.