Suspect Arrested in Connection to Shooting Death of Woman at Valdosta Hotel

VALDOSTA, Ga. – Authorities have arrested a man in connection with the shooting death of a woman at a local hotel. Valdosta police responded to a call reporting an argument between a man and woman at the Econo Lodge on Sunday, Jan. 14. According to police, the female victim was found on the floor with a gunshot wound to her head, while the man had fled the scene. The victim, identified as Jessica Lee Hilliard, 41, of Tennessee, was pronounced dead at South Georgia Medical Center.

After receiving a tip that the suspect was at the Days Inn, officers found Robert Lodge, 57, also from Tennessee, hiding in a maintenance closet at the hotel. He was reportedly in possession of a firearm, which authorities believe connected him to the shooting. Lodge has been charged with felony murder, aggravated assault, and possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony.

Valdosta Police Chief Leslie Manahan described the incident as a “tragic domestic violence” case and emphasized the collaborative effort between officers, detectives, and other law enforcement agencies to apprehend the suspect without incident. Authorities are urging anyone with information about the shooting to contact the Valdosta Police Department.

The arrest of the suspect brings some closure to the tragic incident, but it also serves as a harsh reminder of the devastating impact of domestic violence. Domestic violence cases often escalate to a critical point, resulting in loss of life, and it is imperative for communities to offer support and resources to those in need.

The Valdosta community is left mourning the loss of Jessica Lee Hilliard and coming to terms with the reality of domestic violence. As the investigation continues, authorities are focused on seeking justice for the victim and her loved ones.