DECATUR — A coroner's jury deliberated for about 10 minutes Wednesday before returning a verdict that Georgia Ann “Annie” Smith Lump, 47, took her own life on or about Oct. 1. Police found her in the basement laundry room of her home in the 2000 block of North Graceland Avenue.

Lump had a ligature mark around her neck and a 15-foot-long wire cord lay partly looped around the top of an arm; the cord was not suspended from anything. An autopsy found ligature marks on her neck matched the cord. The jury was told Lump had alcohol in her blood and traces of cocaine and cannabis.

Decatur police detective Andrew Hastings, under questioning from Macon County Coroner Michael E. Day, said it was possible the cord had been suspended but later fell as the body slumped to the floor. Hastings said the body showed no defensive wounds but couldn't rule out the possibility someone else strangled Lump. 

“We just don't know exactly, 100 percent, what transpired in this situation?” Day asked.

“That is correct,” Hastings replied.

Hastings said Lump was last seen alive on Sept. 30, sitting in her yard. Her husband was indoors watching television. He told police she had yelled at him and later left for a walk. When she did not come back, her husband tried to find her before going to bed and leaving the back door open. The next day, after he searched the house, but not the basement, he called police when he still couldn't find her.

“He could not explain why he didn't search the basement. He just didn't think she would be down there," said Hastings, who added that Lump had made previous threats to hang herself.

In other rulings, the coroner's jury returned verdicts of homicide in two unrelated shooting deaths in Decatur.

In the first case, police detective Jeremy Appenzeller told the jury that the body of James M. Basse, 40, had been found early on the morning of Sept. 15 lying in the 1400 block of East Wood Street. He had been shot twice, in the right thigh and left chest.

Appenzeller said police had no witnesses and were searching for leads.

The second body was found in the early hours of Sept. 26 outside of a house in the 800 block of West Decatur Street. Andrian T. Chatman, 21, died from multiple gunshot wounds, including one to the torso.

Detective Bryan Kaylor said police had responded to reports of shots fired about 11:25 p.m. Sept. 25 near where the body was found. Nothing was seen at that time, but residents called about an hour later to report they had discovered Chatman's body.

Kaylor said this case was also active but, again, police have found no witnesses.

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Staff Writer

Courts and public safety reporter for the Herald & Review.