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A look at the Cobb County triple homicide suspect's criminal history, music career and $27K PPP loan

The circumstances of the shooting are tragic and bizarre - with hundreds asking questions about what happened.

COBB COUNTY, Ga. — New information on the man suspected of killing three people at the Pinetree Country Club in Cobb County over the weekend shows that he received thousands from a Paycheck Protection Program loan

Bryan Rhoden also has a lengthy criminal history, records show.

Here's what we know so far about Rhoden, his background, and the latest on the shooting investigation.

Warrants describe triple homicide

The circumstances of the shooting are tragic and bizarre - with hundreds asking questions about what happened.

Both the U.S. Marshals and Cobb County Police refused to comment on the case Friday as the investigation continues.

"What is all this? There's a lot of open questions here," Criminal Defense Attorney Meg Strickler said. 

She wants to know the same thing everyone does - why were these homicides committed? What motive did Rhoden have to allegedly kill three people?

In the Cobb County police warrants, describing what happened, investigators don't give a reason for the homicides - but they do lay out the circumstances. The two victims found in the truck, Paul Pierson and Henry Valdez, were bound and gagged before they were shot, the warrants claim.

The golf pro on the scene, Gene Siller, was allegedly shot at point blank range.

Rhoden's first court appearance was held Friday evening; he remains in jail.

Bryan Rhoden's background

Strickler said the circumstances raise a lot of questions about the suspect.

"He was born in 1997, I believe. That's young. Look at Google, that says it all. He was a GSU student, and now he's a rapper, He's got Instagram. He's got a life and a future, not anymore," she said. 

A lot of people asked if the victims knew each other - or knew Rhoden.

Police did not link any of them in the reports they have released or the brief news conference they gave about the arrest Thursday night. However, they did say Siller was not involved, and was allegedly only shot when he went to investigate what was going on.

RELATED: Cobb country club shooting | How police say they captured the suspect after he was released from jail on unrelated charges

Prior arrests records

Police did confirm that Rhoden had prior arrests including hours after the homicides, when he was arrested for a DUI in Chamblee.

Records also show in 2020, he was arrested in Indiana for driving 100 miles per hour. He was arrested in 2016 in Fulton County, allegedly for a drug deal gone wrong on Georgia State University's campus. At the time, he was charged with attempted murder, but 11Alive learned Friday, that case was sealed in 2017.

Many people want to know, why was he not in jail?

"I don't know why someone was let out on bond. But it can happen. I can tell you that confidently. Fulton County, it's a big city, the city of Atlanta, the jails are very much overcrowded," she said. 

Strickler said there are a few reasons court records can be sealed.

The accused could be cooperating with authorities, or they could be part of a larger criminal investigation.

"I think we will learn. There have been cases in the past in Atlanta where strange circumstances have happened and then years go by, and we learn the connecting dots. And I think we will learn them," she said. 

Music career and PPP loan

11Alive has also learned Rhoden received $27,000 in PPP money just months before he was arrested. We found his small business records for his music career - he goes by B. ROD on Instagram.

He applied for the Paycheck Protection Program and was approved for $27,595 this March.

11Alive Financial Expert Andrew Poulos said having a criminal record does not disqualify someone from receiving the loan; he said the application focuses on allegations fraud, bribery, and embezzlement.

The loan application reads: "Within the last 5 years, for any felony involving fraud, bribery, embezzlement, or a false statement in a loan application or an application for federal financial assistance, or within the last year, for any other felony, has the Applicant (if an individual) or any owner of the Applicant 1) been convicted; 2) pleaded guilty; 3) pleaded nolo contendere; or 4) commenced any form of parole or probation (including probation before judgment)?"

Rhoden was accused of attempted murder in 2016.

He has thousands of fans on Instagram. On his page, he advertises shows he's scheduled to perform this weekend.

His first post is from November of 2020, that's four years after he was accused of attempted murder on Georgia State University's campus in 2016.

"You can get out on bond, because he likely had no priors at that point, I'm guessing. He was enrolled at Georgia State, I'm guessing. He was young, he was a rap star," Strickler said.

11Alive found out the records from that incident where Rhoden allegedly shot a teenager and was shot himself were sealed in 2017 - but the charges have not been dismissed and there was not a plea deal or a trial.

But public records show he forfeited more than $85,000 and a car to the government in 2019.

"And that has to do with criminal activity. You can't do a forfeiture action unless you are claiming that the money seized was part of criminal activity. That's what a forfeiture action is," she said. 

Strickler said all of his past criminal history will play into what happens with this case, and how soon more information will be available.

"It will be a long time because they will have to do a lot of research on this new aspect. And then there will be a lot of looking at what happened over the past 4 years with this investigation," she said. 

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