Four charged with kidnapping, murder after man found dead on side of road

Last updated March 7, 2023 @ 3:40 PM ET

The following was taken from a press release distributed by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation:

Berrien County – (March 6, 2023) – The GBI has arrested and charged Norman Wright, 21, of Warner Robins, Ernest Smith, 23, of Valdosta, Eric Smith, 26, of Valdosta, and Yas’mine Harris, 21, of Valdosta each for the following charges: three counts of felony murder, kidnapping, robbery, and aggravated assault.

Wright is being held in the Fulton County Jail. The Smiths (siblings) and Harris are being held in the Berrien County Jail. The GBI was requested by the Berrien County Sheriff’s Office to assist with a death investigation on Saturday, February 25, 2023.

Ja’kesse Middleton, 20, of Valdosta, was found deceased on the side of Highway 122, near Possum Creek Road, in Berrien County.

This investigation is active and ongoing. Anyone with information is encouraged to contact the Berrien County Sheriff’s Office at (229) 686-7071 or the GBI Region 4 Douglas Office at (912) 389-4103.

Anonymous tips can also be submitted by calling 1-800-597-TIPS (8477), online at, or by downloading the See Something, Send Something mobile app. Once the investigation is complete, the case file will be given to the Alapaha Judicial Circuit District Attorney’s Office for review and prosecution.