Georgia man charged with murder, arson in wife's 2013 death

A Georgia man has been accused of killing his wife and setting fire to their home to conceal the crime after a five-year investigation into the cold case, authorities said.

Timothy Larue Sheffield was charged Friday with murdering 49-year-old Edith Sheffield, according to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation. They had been married 29 years when she died, court papers show.

Firefighters found her body after responding to a fire on Jan. 18, 2013, at a home she shared with her husband on a pond in Coffee County, Georgia, GBI said.

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The death was ruled a homicide after an autopsy determined that Edith Sheffield had died of multiple shotgun wounds, including two rounds to her head.

Sheffield was interviewed by investigators but never charged.

“He was one of the last people to see her alive,” GBI agent Mark Pro said last year during an interview with the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. "He lived at the residence, and he was near the residence at the time so we can’t really exclude him.”

The article also included an interview with Sheffield’s attorney, J.L. King, who said that the last few years had been hard on Sheffield because he had to deal not only with the loss of his wife but with false accusations by insurer State Farm "that he played a part in her death.”

King told the paper, “We hope and pray the perpetrators of this crime will be brought to justice.”

King did not immediately return a call Monday from Fox News seeking comment.

After a jury trial in 2016, Sheffield won a $270,000 judgment against State Farm after the company refused to pay his insurance claim for fire damage to the house and a motorcycle.

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Prior to the trial, the presiding judge issued a ruling in which she wrote that State Farm refused to pay the claim, "alleging that they have reason to believe that plaintiff killed his wife and intentionally ignited the fire, given the circumstances surrounding her death and the subsequent blaze."

In her decision, the judge wrote that during a deposition, State Farm lawyers wrung an admission from Sheffield acknowledging affairs with at least three women while he was married.

She also wrote that as part of their investigation, GBI investigators found nude photos of a woman on a cellphone Sheffield used to call the woman on two separate occasions just prior to the murder of his wife.