GREENE COUNTY, Ga. - The family of a retired firefighter talked only to Channel 2 Action News after police said he shot and killed a man at the suspect's home in the high-end Reynolds development on Lake Oconee. Chad Haufler is charged with murder.
Members of Haufler's family told Channel 2 Action News they knew the victim, Marc Dimos, and they said they do not think the incident was murder.
Monica Haufler said her husband was at the $1.9 million vacation home the family purchased this summer after a financial windfall preparing for what was supposed to be a big family and friends weekend.
She said Dimos was visiting. Now the weekend is going to be very different for two families.
The shooting was reported just before 7 a.m. Tuesday inside the home on Jones Bluff Court.
"Our hearts go out to them for their loss because what we’re experiencing is very difficult and it hurts but we saw my husband. We’re able to talk to him. They don't have that luxury and that's heartbreaking for us. Marc was a great guy," Monica Haufler said about Dimos' family.
Monica said her husband and Dimos met on a hunting trip last October and quickly built a close bond of friendship.
But now, Chad Haufler's attorney, Manny Arora, said he's preparing for a bond hearing Tuesday since the 45-year-old has been charged with Dimos' murder.
"It was unbelievable. My husband is the one that called. You just go numb," Monica Haufler said.
Monica said Dimos previously visited the Hauflers' home in Florida for a week.
"They looked like high school best friends, a duo. If they are talking to somebody, they are passing a joke between the two of them together," Blake Haufler said.
Blake said he followed his dad into a career as a firefighter.
Monica said she has visited her husband in jail. She told Channel 2 Action News she does not know what happened, but she maintains her husband is incapable of murder.
"This was not murder," she said. "We've been married for 25 years. I know my husband very well."
Chad Haufler's son, also named Chad Haufler, said he is a deputy sheriff himself in Florida and has been to homicide scenes in his work.
"He's not capable of murder," he said.
"He would never do anything like that," Blake Haufler said.
"It's a surreal nightmare. Its unbelievable," the younger Chad Haufler said.
"If you were at the Greene County Sheriff's Office here in Georgia, it would make you suspicious wouldn't it?" Channel 2's Mark Winne asked Chad.
"It would make me want to figure out the whole story," the younger Chad Haufler said.
Greene County Sheriff Donnie Harrison indicated after a 911 call, Chad Haufler the suspect's story began to change. And the changing story, before he got a lawyer and physical evidence at the scene were keys to the decision by the GBI and the sheriff's office to charge Haufler with murder.
Blake Haufler said he followed his dad into a career as a firefighter, from which the dad's now retired.
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