Crime & Courts

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Judge shoots intruder who broke in through window

Richmond County Sheriff Ronnie Strength press conference about the shooting at Judge Overstreet's home, Friday, Aug. 20, 2010.
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John E. Howard Jr. -- the man shot to death by Judge Carlisle Overstreet after breaking into his house Friday morning -- was on probation for three burglaries and a shoplifting offense, according to information from the district attorney's office obtained through an open-records request.

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A Richmond County sheriff's deputy enters the gate at Judge Carlisle Overstreet's home on Cumming Road.   Rainier Ehrhardt/Staff
Rainier Ehrhardt/Staff
A Richmond County sheriff's deputy enters the gate at Judge Carlisle Overstreet's home on Cumming Road.


The 20-year-old Blythe man, whose nickname was "Killa," according to the Richmond County jail's booking sheet, was arrested June 25, 2008, after investigators in Burke and Columbia counties connected him to a June 12, 2008, residential burglary on Maddox Road, and break-ins at Keysville Baptist Church and Blythe Baptist Church.

Most of the items stolen from the Maddox Road break-in -- which was discovered by the victim's mother, who is Judge Overstreet's secretary -- were recovered at pawnshops or at a home where Howard was staying.

Howard told investigators he had done the crimes alone, and charges against the second man were dismissed.

Augusta attorney Jacque Hawk, who represented Howard, said at the sentencing hearing that Howard had been in jail for 9 1/2 months and had not asked for bond because Howard and his family -- his mother and three brothers -- thought Howard needed to spend some time behind bars to think about what he had done and to get drugs out of his system.

Hawk said that Howard was abusing an over-the-counter cold medicine, Coricidin.

Howard was 2 years old when his father died while serving in the military in Korea, Hawk said.

According to police records, Howard had no criminal history before the 2008 break-ins. At that time, he was unemployed after dropping out of school in the 11th grade.

Judge Carl C. Brown Jr. accepted a plea negotiation worked out by the attorneys. He sentenced Howard on May 1, 2009, to serve 10 years' probation. Brown suspended a 1-year prison sentence on the condition that Howard complete a program with the Day Reporting Center.

On Friday night, police announced that they were searching for a second suspect believed to have been involved in the burglary about 4 a.m. at Overstreet's Cumming Road house.

William Omar Jacobs, 22, is being sought by authorities on a charge of burglary in connection with the break-in, according to Richmond County sheriff's Investigator Chris Langford.

At a news conference Friday morning, authorities said Howard and another man, who was later identified as Jacobs, entered the house after throwing a rock through a glass door, and went upstairs.

Overstreet heard voices, got his gun and saw Howard coming down the stairs with a bandana covering his face and socks on his hands. Overstreet fired, hitting Howard in the chest.

Howard was taken to Medical College of Georgia Hospital, where he was pronounced dead. Authorities said no weapon was found on Howard.

"At this point, there is little doubt it was nothing but random," said Sheriff Ronnie Strength, adding, "Physically, the judge is fine but upset."

Strength said the way the men entered the home -- "making that much racket" -- makes police suspect they were not aware Overstreet was inside.

A laptop computer was missing.

According to records published in The Augusta Chronicle, Jacobs, of the 2000 block of Starnes Street, was indicted May 11 on charges of possession of cocaine and a misdemeanor count of family violence battery.

Strength said his office advocates that people be armed and follow the judge's example.

"We support that 100 percent," the sheriff said. "If somebody breaks into your home, we expect and hope that what Judge Overstreet did this morning would be done by any other citizen."

The sheriff said he has known Overstreet for about 45 years and called him a "good marksman."

Friday's break-in wasn't the first at the Overstreet home. On March 12, 2008, a man kicked in the door while Overstreet's wife, Shara, was there.

She told police she was taking a nap when she heard the doorbell ring several times. She ignored it, but then heard a crashing sound.

She went to investigate and saw a man standing in the foyer. The man ran.

The report makes no mention of anything being stolen, and police say they're not aware of anyone ever being arrested in that case.

Shara Overstreet died of cancer later in 2008.

Anyone with information on Jacobs is asked to call the sheriff's office at (706) 821-1080.

Comments (174) Add comment
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sjgraci
2
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sjgraci 08/20/10 - 01:07 pm
0
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Any of you rightwing gun nuts

Any of you rightwing gun nuts want to break into my home, you'll face the same fate as the crook. And then I'll pin my US Army Expert Marksman badges on you to cover the holes.

ibitebcareful
0
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ibitebcareful 08/20/10 - 01:11 pm
0
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sjgraci - What? Rightwing

sjgraci - What? Rightwing gun nuts don't break into homes. They serve and protect. An extension of the law if you will.

Johnny Rotten
0
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Johnny Rotten 08/20/10 - 01:13 pm
0
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Austin, unfortunately I am

Austin, unfortunately I am unable to send you the exact link for that segment of audio. In the archives section of RCSO north and south (both precincts ended up being involved) you can look for the times starting about 4am or just before on: www.scanaugusta.net which is a non-commercial site. I was listening to it live.

Taylor B
5
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Taylor B 08/20/10 - 01:22 pm
0
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Oh, good news on the alarm

Oh, good news on the alarm then. Mine is loud too. My kids used to accidently set it off when we first moved in.

leoswife
0
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leoswife 08/20/10 - 01:23 pm
0
0
The Sheriff went to this

The Sheriff went to this crime scene because he has known the victim for over 40 years. To me that means this is a close personal friend of his who he cares about. I'm sure he was there in the capacity of a friend and as the Sheriff. He can't possibly go to every crime scene as there is a killing practically every day of the week. The Judge protected himself from intruders, I'm sure he's not patting himself on the back. I've never taken a human life but know those who have in the line of duty and they do not take it lightly. Pray for the Judge and his family that they will move forward.

Austin Rhodes
2852
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Austin Rhodes 08/20/10 - 01:33 pm
0
0
Taylor...mine was set off

Taylor...mine was set off accidently when we were on vacation...the cops were at the door before my mother in law could answer the phone from the security company...

stillamazed
1488
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stillamazed 08/20/10 - 01:42 pm
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0
Judge or no judge, honest

Judge or no judge, honest people are arming themselves, we have the right to protect ourselves and our property. I feel sorry for this young mans family as I am sure they love him very much, but he choose this life and now he has paid the ultimate price for his actions.

3g
0
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3g 08/20/10 - 01:52 pm
0
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Wow , about 4 or 5 asked

Wow , about 4 or 5 asked whether he was armed , not 1 read carefully enough to see at the end of 2nd par. ( suspect was NOT armed ) however , Catfishstew had it right - he WAS 2 armed . Guess the frenzy to post " opinion " outweighs gathering all the facts from the story .

Chillen
17
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Chillen 08/20/10 - 02:00 pm
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sjgraci says "Any of you

sjgraci says "Any of you rightwing gun nuts want to break into my home, you'll face the same fate as the crook. And then I'll pin my US Army Expert Marksman badges on you to cover the holes."

I'll make sure to tell all the liberal criminals & thugs that they are welcome in your home.

Austin Rhodes
2852
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Austin Rhodes 08/20/10 - 01:57 pm
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The Judge is a 65 year old

The Judge is a 65 year old handicapped man, who recently had much of one leg amputated. The perp was headed straight at him, wearing a mask, and he heard the guy yelling back and forth with another perp.

Had he NOT shot the guy, there is a better than good chance we would be replacing a Superior Court Judge next week.

Chillen
17
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Chillen 08/20/10 - 02:02 pm
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What a scary situation this

What a scary situation this guy was in. He is obviously very level headed to hold it together in light of everything. At 4 am too! He had to have been groggy.

KingLouisville
0
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KingLouisville 08/20/10 - 02:18 pm
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Oh mamma I'm in fear for my

Oh mamma I'm in fear for my life from the long arm of the law...

mary dits
2
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mary dits 08/20/10 - 02:22 pm
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austin, is that real math?

austin, is that real math? how did you come up with the better than good chance of the judge getting hurt? i'm not criticizing the judge's response in the moment, but you with the hindsight knowing this guy was unarmed, how do you figure? i guess you'll say the other guy had a gun. why would only one of them have a gun?

overburdened_taxpayer
116
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overburdened_taxpayer 08/20/10 - 02:29 pm
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3g - in defense of some of

3g - in defense of some of the posters, they posted their comments before the article included that the perp was not armed. This has been an evolving story all day and the article has been changed and added to a few times.

overburdened_taxpayer
116
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overburdened_taxpayer 08/20/10 - 02:32 pm
0
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Official Code of Georgia

Official Code of Georgia Annotated § 16-3-23. Use of force in defense of habitation

A person is justified in threatening or using force against another when and to the extent that he or she reasonably believes that such threat or force is necessary to prevent or terminate such other's unlawful entry into or attack upon a habitation; however, such person is justified in the use of force which is intended or likely to cause death or great bodily harm only if:

(1) The entry is made or attempted in a violent and tumultuous manner and he or she reasonably believes that the entry is attempted or made for the purpose of assaulting or offering personal violence to any person dwelling or being therein and that such force is necessary to prevent the assault or offer of personal violence;

(2) That force is used against another person who is not a member of the family or household and who unlawfully and forcibly enters or has unlawfully and forcibly entered the residence and the person using such force knew or had reason to believe that an unlawful and forcible entry occurred; or

(3) The person using such force reasonably believes that the entry is made or attempted for the purpose of committing a felony therein and that such force is necessary to prevent the commission of the felony.

overburdened_taxpayer
116
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overburdened_taxpayer 08/20/10 - 02:34 pm
0
0
Official Code of Georgia

Official Code of Georgia Annotated § 16-3-23.1. No duty to retreat prior to use of force in self-defense

A person who uses threats or force in accordance with Code Section 16-3-21, relating to the use of force in defense of self or others, Code Section 16-3-23, relating to the use of force in defense of a habitation, or Code Section 16-3-24, relating to the use of force in defense of property other than a habitation, has no duty to retreat and has the right to stand his or her ground and use force as provided in said Code sections, including deadly force.

laprince
0
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laprince 08/20/10 - 02:44 pm
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0
This guy is someones SON and

This guy is someones SON and you people are the most insensitive people I have ever seen.

dvdbiggs
13
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dvdbiggs 08/20/10 - 02:56 pm
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0
When I was a resident of

When I was a resident of Augusta living on Johns Road, I had someone break into my home. The person, race white, had come up the stairs and was about to enter one of the bedrooms. I yelled to this person that I had a gun and would use it. He ran down the stairs and out the door, where someone was in a car waiting for him. I did not have a gun, but if one had been available, I would have used it. I did feel that my life was in danger and that this person was possibly armed. My house was located just off Walton Way and on a well traveled road, which law enforcement patrolled often. Good job Judge Overstreet. Maybe this will help stop some of the crime in the area.

dvdbiggs
13
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dvdbiggs 08/20/10 - 02:53 pm
0
0
When I was a resident of

When I was a resident of Augusta living on Johns Road, I had someone break into my home. The person, race white, had come up the stairs and was about to enter one of the bedrooms. I yelled to this person that I had a gun and would use it. He ran down the stairs and out the door, where someone was in a car waiting for him. I did not have a gun, but if one had been available, I would have used it. I did feel that my life was in danger and that this person was possibly armed. My house was located just off Walton Way and on a well traveled road, which law enforcement patrolled often. Good job Judge Overstreet. Maybe this will help stop some of the crime in the area.

overburdened_taxpayer
116
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overburdened_taxpayer 08/20/10 - 02:57 pm
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0
laprince - wasn't he kind of

laprince - wasn't he kind of insensitive in breaking into an elderly person's home to try and take things the owner worked for? It seems Howard made a career of taking other people's stuff. Sounds pretty insensitive and selfish to me.

BennyS
0
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BennyS 08/20/10 - 02:59 pm
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Wonder if he was one of the

Wonder if he was one of the thugs that Overstreet let go free in court? there's been so many of them.

overburdened_taxpayer
116
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overburdened_taxpayer 08/20/10 - 03:01 pm
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also, if you have never been

also, if you have never been a victim of a burglary then you wouldn't know that it robs you of more than just your stuff, it robs you of feeling safe in your own home and being safe in your life. It is a very traumatic event for a victim that causes bouts of PTSD that no person should have the right to give another simply by taking away their sense of security.

overburdened_taxpayer
116
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overburdened_taxpayer 08/20/10 - 03:02 pm
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BennyS - if you listen to the

BennyS - if you listen to the Sheriff's press conference you will hear that there has been no connection between the two until today.

sassygirl352
0
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sassygirl352 08/20/10 - 03:08 pm
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THUMBS UP JUDGE. A JOB WELL

THUMBS UP JUDGE. A JOB WELL DONE. YOU SEE WHEN YOU BREAK INTO SOMEONES HOUSE THAT THEY WORKED SO HARD TO HAVE, YOU GET WHAT YOU GET..HE SHOULD HAVE KNOWN BETTER... YOU GO JUDGE

disssman
6
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disssman 08/20/10 - 03:06 pm
0
0
Folks if you want to deter

Folks if you want to deter burglars do what I do. Get yourself some 12x12, plywood 1/4 thick and some 2 inch roofing nails. Resharpen the nails to needle points and drive them thru the board. Paint the board and nails to match the surroundings, if you want to be creative, put some dog mess on the nails. Place the boards under windows on the back side of your house and wait on the wailing. I do it for my shop and paint the boards to match the floor. Every day I pick up my boards and relplace them at night, honestly it looks as if they are just thin pieces of wood, but lord help you if you step in them with tennis shoes.

disssman
6
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disssman 08/20/10 - 03:08 pm
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Laprince. Every mass

Laprince. Every mass murderer in history was someones son, but they didn't care about their parents. No wonder this country is headed down the tubes.

FallingLeaves
27
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FallingLeaves 08/20/10 - 03:11 pm
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justus4, as usual, you don't

justus4, as usual, you don't know what you are writing about. Check your own person for that smell you're wondering about.

FallingLeaves
27
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FallingLeaves 08/20/10 - 03:16 pm
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overburdened_taxpayer, thank

overburdened_taxpayer, thank you for your comment quote here:
"if you have never been a victim of a burglary then you wouldn't know that it robs you of more than just your stuff, it robs you of feeling safe in your own home and being safe in your life. It is a very traumatic event for a victim that causes bouts of PTSD that no person should have the right to give another simply by taking away their sense of security." I can vouch for the loss of the sense of security in my own home, I've been through it, too.

overburdened_taxpayer
116
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overburdened_taxpayer 08/20/10 - 03:17 pm
0
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sassygirl - I doubt you will

sassygirl - I doubt you will see justus4 on this post again. he/she is usually a hit and run poster.

albertoli
179
Points
albertoli 08/20/10 - 03:52 pm
0
0
Cool, nice shootin' Tex.

Cool, nice shootin' Tex.

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