A man charged with killing three men found dead on an Atlanta golf course over the July 4 weekend was previously arrested for getting into a shootout at Georgia State University over a drug deal gone wrong.
Five years before Bryan Anthony Rhoden was accused of killing 76-year-old Paul Pierson, 46-year-old Henry Valdez, and 46-year-old golf pro Gene Siller, he allegedly shot 19-year-old Shelton Torance Flournoy three times in the chest during an argument over a drug deal in the parking lot of a Georgia State dorm.
Rhoden, who was attending Georgia State at the time, was hit once in the chest. Both men survived and were later charged with assault, attempted murder, and weapons possession. Rhoden was released from the Fulton County Jail on a signature bond three days later, according to jail records. But there is no record of a trial or conviction, and Rhoden’s case was sealed in 2017.
Rhoden, 23, was taken into custody Thursday evening, four days after a bizarre triple homicide that has stumped authorities.
Three Men, Including Golf Pro, Shot Dead on Georgia Course
Valdez and Pierson, who lived in California and Kansas, respectively, were found dead in the enclosed bed of Pierson’s Dodge Ram 3500 pickup after Rhoden drove the truck onto the 10th hole of the Pinetree Country Club on Saturday afternoon. When Siller, the club’s golf director, approached the vehicle to find out what was going on, Rhoden allegedly shot him in the head and fled on foot.
Valdez and Pierson’s hands, legs, and mouths were bound with tape when police discovered their bodies, states a warrant for Rhoden’s arrest which accuses him of fatally shooting all three men.
Police believe Siller was killed because he “witnessed an active crime taking place” but it’s still unclear precisely what that crime was. The relationship between Pierson, Valdez, and Rhoden remains unclear. None have any affiliation with the Pinetree club at all, said Cobb County Police Chief Tim Cox, and investigators have not revealed a motive or what prompted Rhoden to drive onto the golf course.
Reached by phone, Siller’s wife, Ashley, declined to comment. Henry Valdez’s sister, Erma, told The Daily Beast, “Henry was a loving son, brother, uncle, and friend. A lover of music, surfing, traveling, and made friends wherever he traveled to. His laugh could erupt a room and his big heart will be missed greatly.”
Little is known about Pierson and Valdez, and Erma Valdez would not speculate as to what her brother was doing in Atlanta. Pierson is the co-founder of EcoServices, an environmental remediation company in Nevada, according to the company’s website. Valdez started an apparel business in 2010, according to California state incorporation records. He also established two other entities in the state, whose activities are not immediately discernible.
Hours after the murders, Rhoden—who was by now behind the wheel of a black Maserati Ghibli, according to a separate arrest warrant—was stopped by Chamblee police on misdemeanor charges including DUI, a headlight violation, providing false identification, driving without insurance, driving an unregistered vehicle, and having the wrong license plate on his car. But cops hadn’t yet connected Rhoden to the golf course murders, and he bonded out Tuesday night, booking records show.
Rhoden was taken into custody again on Thursday evening by a multi-agency task force including members of the Chamblee, Georgia Police Department, the Cobb County Sheriff’s Office, and the U.S. Marshals Service. Rhoden was unarmed and was taken in without a struggle, the sheriff’s office said. In addition to three counts of murder, Rhoden is charged with three counts of aggravated assault and two counts of kidnapping, according to Cox, who said at a press conference that Rhoden had no accomplices and was a “lone shooter.”
Cobb County police have not said how investigators linked Rhoden, an aspiring rapper who performs under the name B. Rod, to the three killings. He is set to appear virtually from jail before a judge in Cobb County Magistrate Court at 8 p.m. Friday.
The Georgia State University shootout wasn’t Rhoden’s only previous run in with the law.
In 2020, Atlanta airport police seized nearly $20,000 in suspected drug money from Rhoden as he boarded a flight to Los Angeles. He was never charged with a crime. Rhoden was also arrested last year after a high-speed chase in Indiana, reportedly clocking speeds up to 150 mph.
A Georgia State spokesperson declined to provide further details about Rhoden’s time there as a student.
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