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Detective accused of assault

LAWRENCEVILLE - A Lawrenceville police detective was arrested this week after an ex-girlfriend alleged that he choked her and threatened her with a gun.

Cornelious Lenon Zellous, a burglary detective employed by Lawrenceville police since January 2000, faces charges in Walton County of aggravated assault, terroristic threats and two counts of cruelty to children.

According to the police report, the officer's ex-girlfriend arrived home from Christmas shopping with her daughter on Sunday to find Zellous in her upstairs bathroom.

Zellous was sitting on the edge of the bathtub reading her mail, and a pistol was lying on the counter, the report said. The girlfriend claimed Zellous began questioning her heatedly about whether she was sexually involved with the principal at a local middle school.

Zellous allegedly grabbed the pistol and then stuck it in his pocket. As his ex-girlfriend began walking backward out of the bathroom, he began to speak louder. He followed her into the bedroom, head-butted her and pushed her into the bedroom window, the report stated.

Zellous then allegedly pushed her down onto the bed, grabbed her by the neck and began choking her with one hand while pointing a pistol at her with the other.

Zellous said, "I will take you out, the man you're sleeping with out and then take myself out," according to the police report. His ex-girlfriend said Zellous then telephoned the principal and told him she was sleeping with him, too.

While the altercation was happening, his ex-girlfriend's daughter overheard the commotion. She was trying to get inside the room to help her mother. A friend of the daughter who was spending the night also heard the argument, according to the report.

Once the daughter came into the bedroom, Zellous left in his black Ford Mustang. Zellous was jailed later that evening. He has since been released on $15,000 bond.

Matt Crosby, an attorney representing Zellous, issued a written statement on Thursday.

"Of course Detective Zellous would like to personally respond to the charges, but I have advised him not to comment at this stage since the case is pending," Crosby said. "We acknowledge that the allegations are serious, but they are just that - allegations, allegations which Detective Zellous adamantly denies. My client looks forward to the opportunity to address each and every one of the charges in the proper forum as soon as possible."

Zellous has been suspended with pay pending the outcome of an internal investigation, said Maj. Paul King of the Lawrenceville Police Department.

"This is a serious matter, and we are taking it seriously," King said. "We are conducting an internal investigation into the allegations that were made which led to his arrest. A hearing will be held to determine his status at that point."