- Associated Press - Sunday, December 21, 2014

STAHAM, Ga. (AP) - Retired physician C.B. Skelton writes poetry. But few works ever penned by the doctor contained as much emotional urgency as did the poem he wrote at the request of a grieving father.

Dickie Cole recently approached Skelton with the hope that the man known as the “Poet Laureate of Barrow County” could write a poem that might convince someone to identify the person who killed his son on Nov. 19, 2013.

“I heard about his poems, so I went over and talked to him,” Cole said. “He told me to gather up some articles from the papers and I talked to him about Lance.”

After listening to the father tell his story, Skelton agreed to the poem.

“I don’t have a big audience, but I thought it might be possible,” Skelton said Tuesday. “I wrote it for the folks who read my column in The Barrow County News. I put it on my Facebook page, sort of fishing you might say. You cast your bread and see what happens.”

The poem was simply titled “Help Solve Lance Cole’s Murder.”

“Forensic evidence was sent to the state; but more than one year later, we sit and wait,” the poem goes.

“I loved it,” Dickie Cole said about the poem, which Skelton e-mailed to many of his readers on Sunday.

The Cole family hopes the poem will spur new information.

The 24-year-old man was found dead in his mother’s home on Kirkland Circle in Statham with a gunshot wound to the head. Cole and Lance Cole’s mother had divorced when he was only about a year old. The father, who lives in Winder, and son remained close over the years.

No suspects have been identified and the Barrow County Sheriff’s Office released a statement earlier this year that the investigation “has plateaued at this point. We are working close with the family to request help from the public.”

A $2,500 reward was offered early this year.

“If you let things go too long, the longer it goes, the colder the case gets,” Cole said.

As the holiday season approached, Cole said his family recently collected 75 basketballs and donated them in memory of Lance Cole to the Empty Stocking Fund of Barrow County.

“He loved basketball and children,” said Cole’s sister Ashley Lane, who suggested the donation.

“I talked with my father and said, ‘Nobody wants justice more than we do, but I think we should focus on Lance’s legacy, the person he was and the things he did in life. This is where we should put our energies.’”

Cole, a 2008 graduate of Apalachee High School, had started working at Home Depot only about two weeks before his slaying.

“He had found a car he liked, a 1995 Honda Prelude. He loved it and at the time he didn’t have a job. I looked at it and I told him, ‘Son, I’ll get the car for you, but you’ll have to get a job.’ He had been helping me cut trees and building decks, but I knew he couldn’t make enough money working for me.”

The loss of his son has been difficult.

“I hope I can be the man he was, and I’m not just bragging because he was my son, but he didn’t believe in violence,” said Cole. “He didn’t get in confrontations with anybody. That’s what hurts so bad, knowing the person he was.”


Information from: Athens Banner-Herald, https://www.onlineathens.com

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