Douglas, GA (August 28, 2022) – The GBI Douglas Office has arrested James Schmit, age 52, of Douglas in connection with the death of John Lark Conley, age 80. Schmit is charged with one count each of felony murder, aggravated assault, and arson. Schmit is being held in the Coffee County Jail.

On Friday, August 26, 2022, at 6:30 a.m., the GBI Douglas Office was requested by the Coffee County Sheriff’s Department to investigate a death. The Coffee County Sheriff’s Office received a 911 call, at approximately 6:00 a.m., that a family member was requesting a welfare check at John Lark Conley’s home at 4463 Hwy. 32 West, Douglas, GA. Deputies arrived and found the house on fire. After the fire was extinguished, deputies found Conley deceased inside the home. An autopsy will be conducted on Conley at the GBI Medical Examiner’s Office in Macon, GA.

The investigation is active and ongoing. Anyone with information is encouraged to contact the Coffee County Sheriff’s Office (912-367-8305) or the GBI Douglas Office (912-389-4103). Anonymous tips can also be submitted by calling 1-800-597-TIPS (8477), online at, or by downloading the See Something, Send Something mobile.


Special Agent in Charge Mark Pro


ASAC Jason Seacrist