Retired firefighter charged with murder in death of 'close friend' at Lake Oconee

Retired firefighter charged with murder in death of 'close friend' at Lake Oconee

GREENE COUNTY, Ga. — A 45-year-old man accused of shooting and killing another man inside a home on Lake Oconee is now facing murder charges.

Channel 2 Investigative Reporter Mark Winne was the only reporter in the courtroom when the suspect, Chad Haufler, faced a judge for the first time on Wednesday morning.

Haufler was charged with felony murder in the shooting death of Marc Dimos, 51.

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Police say Haufler called 911 around 6:30 a.m. Tuesday to report the shooting at his home on Jones Bluff Court inside Reynolds at Lake Oconee.

In the 911 call, Haufler said he shot an intruder in his home. When deputies arrived, Dimos dead in the basement.

Greene County Sheriff Donnie Harrison Jr. said investigators didn't believe the invasion story, and hours later, they charged Haufler with murder.

On Wednesday, Winne spoke to Haufler's attorney after his client was charged. Manny Arora confirmed that Dimos was not a random home intruder, but had been friends with Haufler for years. Arora said Dimos was visiting Haufler from Ohio and was staying in the home at the time he was killed.

"They're very close friends," Arora said. "They have been hunting, fishing together. The victim has come to his house in Florida, (and) obviously stayed with him here in Georgia."

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Winne obtained the 911 call Haufler made call through an open records request. In the recording a distressed-sounding Haufler told dispatchers a group of people was in his home.

"There's about three persons in my house trying to kill me," Haufler said. "I'm going to defend myself."

Harrison said Haufler initially said he didn't know who the victim was. It wasn't until later that Haufler admitted that he knew Dimos and the victim was a guest in his house.

Harrison said the inconsistent statements by Haufler were key to the decision to charge him with felony murder.

"From the point of the initial phone call to 911 to the point where he was questioned by agents and investigators, there was things leading to us believe what he actually said did not actually take place," Harrison said.

Harrison told Winne ballistics and blood-splatter evidence will play a big role in the case.

We asked Arora why these details were so different from what Haufler told 911 and investigators.

"We just got involved in the case. We need to start looking at everything," he said. "I think they were just a couple of guys hanging out eating steak enjoying life probably drinking a little too much and that’s the best I can tell you right now."

Haufler is a retired firefighter from Florida who has benefited from good family investments and was recently able to buy the large home on Lake Oconee. Arora said Haufler is married to a woman he met 35 years ago and the couple has two sons, one of whom is a deputy sheriff in another state and the other who is a firefighter.

Arora said it's too early to know exactly what happened between the two men.

"We'll sort of figure out what exactly happened. Was alcohol involved, did two people get into an argument, is it self-defense, is it murder? Those are all the things we’ve yet to figure out," Arora said. "I know what he tells me and I am confident and hopefully things will work out for him."

Investigators confirmed that the motive is still unclear.