FORSYTH, Ga. - A 15-year-old from Covington accused of killing his aunt on July 14 on Tingle Road, in Monroe County, made his first appearance in court Friday.
A sullen-looking Dante Krieger wore a blue Polo-style shirt, white undershirt and elastic-waist khakis as he was formally charged with murder as an adult before Judge Tommy Wilson. He also wore handcuffs and leg irons for his appearance at the Monroe County courthouse.
Krieger will be held at the Macon Regional Youth Detention Center without bond.
Sheriff Brad Freeman sent investigators to the foster home where Krieger stayed in Covington this week to collect evidence in the case but said they’ll have to return because DFCS officials were at the home. Krieger stole his foster parents’ car and drove to Forsyth the morning of July 14 before killing his aunt, Tryeflue O’Neal, 42, at her home at 240 Tingle Road, said the sheriff. O’Neal’s best friend Amy Haines-Ross said that Krieger took O’Neal’s pistol, whipped her with it and then shot her in the head before covering her body with leaves and other items. Krieger then stole O’Neal’s car and fled to South Carolina before he turned himself in between Columbia and Charlotte in Chester County, S.C.
Haines-Ross said that O’Neal used to keep Krieger at her home but that he had been moved to a foster home and that she was scared of the boy. But Krieger’s mother Felicia Krieger told the Reporter that Dante had severe mental illness and that Newton County DFCS was to blame for the incident. She said that Dante hadn’t lived with O’Neal for the past six months but that O’Neal was not scared of Dante and only had rave reviews of him.
Freeman said they may never know Krieger’s motive. Krieger, who will be represented by public defender Doug Smith, is slated to be back in court for another hearing on July 30. The next Monroe County Grand Jury is scheduled to meet on Aug. 11, which would be the first opportunity to indict Krieger.
Because he’s 15, district attorney Jonathan Adams said he cannot seek the death penalty.
Monroe County Reporter Publisher Will Davis granted The Covington News permission to publish this report.