The man who allegedly shot and killed a Birch River resident Tuesday morning has a long history of run-ins with the law, police and news outlets said.

Bobby James Miness, 36, of St. Simons Island, Georgia, is being charged with murder in Nicholas County after he allegedly put a gun to 28-year-old Nathan Branham’s head, led him into the yard, then shot him three times, according to a criminal complaint filed in Nicholas County Magistrate Court.

Miness is also wanted in Braxton County for being in possession of explosive devices, being a felon in possession of a firearm, and being in possession of a controlled substance, according to a criminal complaint filed in Braxton County Magistrate Court.

On Tuesday, Nov. 29, State Troopers were dispatched to Bays Road in Birch River to investigate a shooting. When police arrived, they found two men trying to hide a body under a “coal shed,” the complaint from Nicholas County said. 

The victim was 28-year-old Nathan Andrew Branham.

The men trying to hide Branham’s body were identified as Scotty Carter and Dustin Goodwin. Carter has been arrested and charged with concealment of a body and Goodwin has been arrested and charged with accessory to murder and attempting to conceal a body, police said.

State Police interviewed several witnesses from the scene who said Bobby James Miness took Branham from his home before shooting him three times, the complaint said.

Miness then took Branham’s car and fled to Webster County where he was arrested Tuesday evening.

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Although Miness is wanted in Braxton County, it isn’t clear when Braxton State Police will get to interview him. According to Trooper J.O. Hensley, no one is really sure why Miness and his friends had two blasting caps at a Microtel in Gassaway.

On October 29, Microtel staff contacted Braxton County State Police and said a group of people were doing drugs in one of their rooms.

Police brought out a K-9 unit and the dog searched the area, leading police to the suspected room, which belonged to Bobby Miness, staff said.

Police asked Miness if they could search his room and he said “not without a search warrant,” according to the criminal complaint filed in Braxton County Magistrate Court.

Police were able to get a search warrant and found two guns, two blasting caps, 24 Tramadol pills, methamphetamine and a syringe full of, what was believed to be, methamphetamine.

While police were searching the room, Miness said he was going to get cigarettes, but he never returned. Miness’ friends, Joshua Jarvis, Jason Williams and Danielle Currence were all arrested on the scene and charged with possession of a controlled substance.

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Bobby James Miness was convicted of burning down a church when he was a teenager, according to an online news outlet and several Georgia jail websites.

On April 27, 1999, the Full Gospel Tabernacle Church of Christ in Georgia was burned down, leaving the congregation without a place of worship, according to “Disaster News Network,” a site that puts together briefs from around the country about manmade and natural disasters.

A few days after the fire, Bobby James Miness and his friend William Monroe Cassatt were arrested and charged with burglary and arson.

In the article, Reverend William Williams said the congregation never held any hatred towards the two young men.

“The two boys admitted they set the fire because they were mad at their families, who are Christians,” the reverend said. “They saw setting fire to a church as a way to get back at their families.”

The church received a check for $790,000 from the insurance company, the money going to pay off the loan on the church, “leaving the congregation with nothing,” the article said.

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Bobby James Miness is in Central Regional Jail. He has a $30,000 bond from Braxton County, but no bond has been set for him in Nicholas County.

—Email: cneff@register-herald.com; Follow on Twitter @RHCodyNeff

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