Aiken County, GA – A former Democratic congressional candidate has been charged with the murder of her campaign treasurer.
Kellie Lynn Collins, who was running against incumbent U.S. Representative Jody Hice in Georgia’s 10th Congressional District on a pro-gun control platform, has been charged with fatally shooting her former campaign staffer, 41-year-old Curt Cain, WSB-TV reported.
Collins’ former campaign manager, Clayborn Thigpen, told The Augusta Chronicle that Collins and Cain had been living together, but said he hadn’t seen them in months.
“I didn’t think anything like this could have happened,” Thigpen said.
Police were called to do a welfare check on Cain after he failed to show up for work on Aug. 7, WSB reported.
Deputies found Cain dead from an apparent gunshot wound in his home on Old Powderhouse Road in Aiken County, and said his Subaru Legacy was missing.
Aiken County Coroner Tim Carlton ruled Cain’s death a homicide due to loss of blood from the gunshot, and said he believed Cain had died on Aug. 4.
Police sought warrants against Collins for murder and grand larceny, the Aiken County Sheriff's Office said in a press release, according to the Aiken Standard.
Collins surrendered to authorities in McDuffie County on Aug. 7, and was being held pending extradition to Aiken County.
Cain was an active member of the Aiken County Democratic party, according to the organization’s spokeswoman Elizabeth Foy.
Federal Election Commission records listed Cain as the treasurer for Collins’ 2018 official Political Action Committee, but then Collins inexplicably dropped out of the race just before the primary citing only “personal reasons,” The State reported.
In an ironic twist, WSB reported that Collins had “touted her support for responsible gun regulation to protect the community.”
On her website, she said she felt the Democratic Party had lost touch with the people, and encouraged protesters to disrupt conservative speaking engagements on college campuses, according to Heavy.
She called President Donald Trump an “unqualified demagogue” and said “the GOP is targeting all women, minorities, members of the LGBT community and disabled people as lesser sections of society and you can see it in the bills they have passed and are attempting to pass so far in 2017.”
In an interview with the website GirlsReallyRule, Collins touted herself as walking the moral high road, according to Heavy.
“When your friends and family are depending on you to make ethical decisions that affect their lives for many years, a member of Congress should hold her or himself to a much higher standard than the bare minimum that many GOP members are currently using as a benchmark,” she said.
No motive was known for Collins’ fatal shooting of her former employee and current lover, but the investigation was ongoing.
“Without the assistance of McDuffie County Sheriff’s Office, the Aiken County Coroner’s Office and the exceptional work of the investigators of the Aiken County Sheriff’s Office, this arrest would not have been possible," Aiken County Sheriff Michael Hunt told the Aiken Standard. "We hope this will bring some closure to the family of the victim.”
Cain had been slotted to graduate with his master’s degree from University of South Carolina (USC) – Aiken the week after his murder, Inside Edition reported.
“Curt was a member of the third on-campus MBA cohort and was on the verge of completing the program next week," USC – Aiken Chancellor Dr. Sandra Jordan said. "According to School of Business faculty, Curt was one of the top students in his class and had a promising future ahead of him."