Local News


Thieves leave man for dead

By MICHAEL HALL The Brunswick News

The tattoo that reads "Truly Blessed" across the chest of Josh Atchison may carry with it some added meaning after a Thursday night attack that left him with multiple stab wounds and a fractured eye socket.

Atchison opened the door of his room at a local motel Friday without a shirt on, revealing the bandages dressing his wounds that were allegedly inflicted by two men who robbed him at knife point, stabbed him and took his truck after he agreed to give them a ride.

Sitting on the edge of the bed in his room, Atchison, 21, a Memphis native who is working temporarily at the Georgia Pacific plant in Brunswick, said he realizes just how blessed he is to be alive.

"I thought to myself this morning, that could have been it," he said.

After lying in bed, unable to sleep for several hours Thursday night, Atchison drove to Parker's convenience store in Sterling to buy some cigarettes. While there, he saw a man who he recognized as the Walmart employee who had sold him a phone card earlier that day - a suspect Glynn County police have identified as Justin Johnson, 22.

Johnson was with someone he identified as his brother - who police have identified as Christopher Knowles, 20 - and asked Atchison for a ride.

As the son of a missionary, Atchison wanted to help the men out because he himself had lived without a car and knew how taxing it can be to have to walk everywhere, he said.

Once in the car, Atchison said he noticed the man in the back seat of his extended-cab truck had moved from the passenger side to the seat behind his own.

He thought nothing of the move until he felt an arm wrap around his neck, he said.

"The next thing I know, he puts his arm around me and a knife to my neck," he said.

After driving a little while longer, Atchison said the men told him to stop at what looked like a vacant lot in a subdivision - an area identified by county police as Two Way Fish Camp on U.S. 17 in north Glynn County.

They told him to get out slowly and to hand over his money and cellphone and said they would take his truck, Atchison said.

"One of them said he had a baby at home and he had to buy diapers," Atchison said.

But the comment about the truck changed what had been Atchison's previously calm demeanor. He admits he can become very angry very quickly.

"I told him, 'You realize I know where you work, right?'" he said. "You're not going to take my... truck."

That is when the fight began, he said.

Atchison, who trains as a mixed martial arts fighter, held his own for a while, but eventually the two men, one wielding a knife, had him on the ground, Atchison alleged.

"That's when they stabbed me four or five times. Right here," Atchison said, lifting the right side of the shirt he had put on to again reveal the bandages.

The men made off with his truck, cellphone and wallet, and left Atchison bleeding from his wounds, he said.

Feeling faint and seeing the pool of blood where he had been beaten and stabbed, Atchison began knocking on doors at the fish camp. The first three or four he said had padlocks and appeared to be vacant.

Finally, he found a house where someone was home, knocked on the door, and laid down on the porch.

Friday, after being treated at Southeast Georgia Health System for his wounds, Atchison said he doesn't plan to give any rides to strangers anytime soon.

"I just expected to pick up a pack of cigarettes," he said.

Glynn County Police Chief Matt Doering said the two suspects were arrested around 2:30 a.m. Friday in McIntosh County and face charges related to the robbery and assault. He said the suspects were caught while putting gas in the truck.

With his truck back, his phone missing and his life still intact, Atchison said he still plans to enjoy the beach during his stay and said he has no hard feelings about the people of Glynn County. Bad things can happen to anyone, anywhere, he said.

"Sometimes it's the position you put yourself in," he said.

* Reporter Michael Hall writes about public safety, environment and other local topics. Contact him at mhall@thebrunswicknews.com, on Facebook or at 265-8320, ext. 320.