A Dahlonega man accused of murdering his ex-girlfriend in Alto will have to wait at least several more months for his day in court. A Habersham County judge this week again delayed the murder trial of Jeremy Chastain because his public defender is on medical leave.
Jeramy Ray Chastain has been in jail since March 7, 2020, the day investigators say he beat Alecia Grace Stover to death. Firefighters responding to a fire at her rented residence on Yonah Post Road found the 43-year-old Stover dead in the yard.
Deputies arrested Chastain during a traffic stop in Clarkesville within hours of the murder. They initially charged him with trespassing. Online jail records show he faces five felony and three misdemeanor counts including murder, aggravated battery, simple battery, criminal trespassing, and making terroristic threats, among others.
During a calendar call in Habersham County Superior Court on Nov. 22, the judge put Chastain’s trial on hold because the lawyer representing him is on medical leave. It marked the third time that has happened. The next calendar call is scheduled for March 8, 2022.
An autopsy revealed Stover died from blunt-force trauma to the head. She also sustained fractured ribs, lacerations to her face and bruising. The GBI investigation into the case points to evidence that Chastain was in Habersham County on the morning of Stover’s murder. He’s been described as her on-again-off-again boyfriend.
According to court documents, Stover’s cell phone showed two missed Messenger calls from Chastain’s Facebook account at 11:08 p.m. and 11:15 p.m. on March 6. GBI Special Agent Kristen Perry also uncovered a series of texts a friend sent to Stover in the early hours of March 7, letting her know that a man with face tattoos was waiting for her at her residence.
Around 3:50 a.m. on March 7, another friend told investigators Stover texted and said Chastain was at her residence and that she was going to have to call the police to make him leave. That was the last time anyone heard from her.
Chastain’s mother claims her son was asleep on the couch at their home in Dahlonega around 1:23 a.m. on March 7, according to an affidavit. Chastain himself told investigators he was in Habersham County the night before and morning of the murder, and that he was in Cornelia around 1 a.m. using a local fast-food chain’s wifi, trying to contact Stover through Messenger.
A history of violence
Beyond the seemingly mismatched timelines, the defense will also have to contend with Chastain’s criminal history. The now 31-year-old has been arrested multiple times, including in Forsyth County in October 2015 for battery and aggravated assault with intent to murder.
Public records show that Chastain was involved in an incident at the Habersham County Detention Center during which he fractured another man’s jaw and a bone below his eye. The jail brought charges against him.
Prosecutors have subpoenaed information from Jeramy Chastian’s Google account, such as his location history, account information, app history and email content.
He remains in jail without bond, pending trial.