By Walter Geiger

Barnesviille Herald-Gazette

Murder charges are expected this week against the Flovilla man who shot a 27-year-old Milner man at the Exit 201 Waffle House in a racially-charged dispute on Halloween night. The victim later died at the Forsyth hospital. The restaurant is located on Hwy. 36 at I-75 about two miles north of the Monroe County line. Butts sheriff Gary Long called in the GBI to investigate because the shooter is the son of a Butts County commissioner.

District attorney Jonathan Adams said after looking at the Waffle House video, the GBI is ready to charge Robert Lewis Henderson Jr., 36, of Flovilla, with murder later this week, and his companion, Antonio DeMarty Evans, 39, will face additional charges as well. The two black men got into a dispute with Nicholas Phinazee Bryan, a white man from Milner. 

Bryan used racial slurs toward Henderson and Evans and was asked to leave by Waffle House staff. At some point, Evans and Bryan got into a physical fight. Henderson then fired one round at Bryan, striking him.

One unconfirmed account indicated Henderson had fired a warning shot into the ground that ricocheted and hit Bryan, who was taken to Monroe County Hospital where he was pronounced dead at about 3 a.m. Nov. 1.

Nelly Miles of the GBI said three 911 calls were received in quick succession from the Waffle House beginning at 10:57 p.m. Oct. 31. The first was regarding an irate customer, the second a fight and the third reported shots fired. 

Bryan’s body was taken to the state crime lab for autopsy Nov. 1. Funeral arrangements were incomplete at press time Monday but will be announced by Conner-Westbury Funeral Home.

Henderson’s father, Robert L. Henderson Sr., has represented District 2 on the Butts County commission since 2009. He is also pastor of Rock Creek Baptist Church in Indian Springs. He and his son are partners in R.L. Henderson & Sons Tree Removal Service.