Man charged with murder, arson
Police: Woman found in fire had been shot

LAWRENCEVILLE - An eeriness fell on the Sentinel Ridge subdivision Wednesday that had nothing to do with


Police and fire officials arrested a Suwanee man in the death of a woman found shot and burned Tuesday in the normally pleasant Lawrenceville enclave.

David Robert Norton, 39, of 615 White Stag Court, is charged with murder and arson, first degree. He's accused of shooting a woman who lived at 3040 Sentinel Parkway in Lawrenceville and setting fire to her home, according to an arrest warrant.

The warrant identifies the victim as Amy Lee Ayer. Neighbors say Norton was the boyfriend of the dead woman, who lived with her two teenage sons.

Kevin McKinney lives two doors down from the home. Inflating Halloween decorations in his front yard, McKinney called the alleged murder a tragedy for the "normal family" he knew in passing. He said Ayer had recently bought the home.

"I feel really bad for the two boys. They can't replace their mother because of some idiot," McKinney said. "I wish there was something we could do for them."

Two teenage boys believed to be Ayer's children reported the fire about 2:50 p.m. Tuesday, said Gwinnett County Fire Department spokesman Lt. Thomas Rutledge. The home was first thought to be empty, but a search of the residence proved otherwise.

Norton was arrested at the Days Inn Suites on Peachtree Industrial Boulevard in Norcross less than 24 hours after authorities discovered the woman's body.

It was unclear why or how long Norton had been staying at the hotel, Rutledge said.

According to an affidavit, Ayer was shot in the back of the head. Rutledge said investigators have not commented on a possible motive in the woman's death.

Norton sometimes stayed at the Lawrenceville home as a sort of live-in boyfriend, Rutledge added.

The suspect worked as a graphic designer for Atlanta-based Action Integrated Marketing, an automotive marketing company, according to jail records.

A company spokesperson confirmed Norton worked for the marketing company but declined further comment.

The Wednesday arrest was not Norton's first. Jail records show he was booked in February for simple battery, property damage and interference with a call for emergency assistance. He bonded out of jail on those charges in March.

Norton was also charged with obstructing law enforcement in 2006.

McKinney, the neighbor, said the boys attend Collins Hill High School.

"I've seen him here taking (the teens) canoeing," McKinney said. "I've got two boys of my own. (The alleged killer) could have turned on anybody."