Same Name, Same Crime? Brothers Accused in Similar Murders

May 12, 2011 by Julie Montanaro

A Tallahassee man is accused of killing his girlfriend and dumping her body in the river. The story is shocking in itself. But we were surprised to discover the man's brother is serving a life sentence for an eerily similar crime.

February 2011. Fishermen find the body of a missing Tallahassee woman in the Ochlocknee River. Amanda Evans dead. Her on-again, off-again boyfriend Orrin Battles accused of killing her.

October 2006. Fishermen find the body of a missing Havana woman in the Ochlocknee River. Martha Battles dead. Her estranged husband Johnnie Lee Battles accused of killing her.

Orrin Battles and Johnny Lee Battles are brothers.

In fact, Orrin testified against his baby brother in court, saying Johnny Lee confessed to him on the stairs of his home.

""He was crying. He said I done something. I done something. I asked him, I asked him what did he do. He told me man, I killed her, I killed her," Orrin Battles said when he testified at Johnny Lee's trial in April 2010.

Amanda Evans's body was found in the Ochlocknee River here near the bridge in Fairbanks Ferry. About five years earlier Martha Battles body was found a little bit farther downstream by Iron Bridge Road.

In fact, when Amanda Evans went missing earlier this year, her sister reminded deputies of the sister in law's fate.

"I knew about the brother killing his wife and using that same river, that's where I told police to start looking," Easter Evans said.

According to arrest reports, Amanda Evans was last seen at a Fast Pay Day loan store on South Monroe street with a man police believe to be boyfriend Orrin Battles.

We were able to get a copy of the store's surveillance video. You can see a man with a white cloth in his hand. Police believe he was wiping down the door handles of Evans's car.

The video later shows Evans walking into frame, getting into the front passenger seat of the car and then the car pulling away and out of sight.

Those may be the last images of Amanda Evans alive.

The surveillance video is sure to be a key piece of evidence in Orrin Battles's upcoming trial, though no date has been set for that.

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