Deputy death: GBI still
waiting on tests

LAWRENCEVILLE - More than two months have passed since the mysterious shooting death of Gwinnett County Sheriff's Department Lt. Don Bassett.

In that time, no public theory has emerged as to precisely what happened, how the gun went off. The first official answers could be weeks away.

Forensic tests prepared by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation at its Decatur crime lab arrived on the desk of Gwinnett District Attorney Danny Porter this week. Homicide investigators have left the filing of possible charges in the Bassett case to Porter's discretion.

But the forensic tests, Porter discovered, were incomplete. A key investigative component - a wiping of Bassett's hand meant to detect the presence of gunshot residue - had mistakenly not been sent to the lab.

Porter said he's expediting the final tests and won't decide whether to charge Bassett's live-in fiancee, Morgan Schrader, until each forensic shred is accounted for.

"I'm not going to decide on this case until all of the evidence is in," he said. "I don't have a timeline."

The 38-year old Bassett, a 17-year department veteran, died from a single gunshot to his abdomen in the early morning hours of April 30. The gun fired during a heated argument and struggle with Schrader, 20, who'd resigned as a deputy the previous month when her superiors claimed she reeked of alcohol at work.

Bassett died shortly afterward at Gwinnett Medical Center. The handgun that killed him was issued by his employer, but was not his service weapon, authorities have said.

Gwinnett police conducted a weeks-long investigation and forwarded a detailed report to Porter's office for review. Authorities have not said how they believe the gun discharged.

Schrader has not been ruled out as a suspect, but no charges have been filed. A police report noted alcohol was somehow involved in the couple's clash.

Schrader could not be reached for comment this week.

Bassett worked in the department's professional standards unit. He was the father of four children from a previous marriage.