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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)

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Ole School
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Ole School 08/21/10 - 04:34 am
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WAY TO GO JUDGE !, that what

WAY TO GO JUDGE !, that what we do here in Harlem also ! that is the kind of message we need to send them ! .....CASE CLOSED

nofrills
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nofrills 08/21/10 - 06:44 am
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Something smells here! When

Something smells here! When my house got broken in to and they found out I shot a the guy in my living room I was told I had better be glad I didn't kill him or I would be charged with murder. It seems normal people have to prove you are in fear of your life even in your own home. The law is not defined enough. Overstreet being a judge gets a free pass and it doesnt matter that he wasn't in fear of his life, he didn't fire a warning shot, He knew who was in his house. There is more to this story then we are being told. I really don't care about a thief being shot what I am upset over is the law for a judge and the laws towards working people. If this happens to you then you can expect to be charged, More good ole boy politics...

Truth Seeker
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Truth Seeker 08/21/10 - 07:11 am
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A laptop computer is missing,

A laptop computer is missing, the victim's mother is the judge's secretary- what's on the computer? All of his other burglaries were in or close to his living quarters, why come to the OTHER side of town? Again, what is on that computer?

Little Lamb
40136
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Little Lamb 08/21/10 - 07:44 am
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Nofrills wrote: When my house

Nofrills wrote:

When my house got broken in to and they found out I shot a the guy in my living room I was told I had better be glad I didn't kill him or I would be charged with murder.

Well, Nofrills, from what we have read in the paper the laws vary from state to state. What state did you live in when you shot the burglar?

Also, the laws are changed from time to time. How long ago did you shoot the burglar? Georgia's “castle” law has been strengthened and simplified only recently.

isaidit
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isaidit 08/21/10 - 08:27 am
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Truthseeker I hear

Truthseeker I hear you.....good food for thought!! Is there more to the story.....maybe. The unarmed son of his long time secretary killed burglarizing his home? Only his personal lap top taken? That's enough right there to raise a flag in any reasonable persons mind. Maybe justus4 isn't just the racial wolf cryer many think he is!? I for one am very curious to learn more, and hope an outside agency conducts the investigation for the sake of the good judges integrity. There's obviously some "critical" dots that need connecting.

chucktoons
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chucktoons 08/21/10 - 09:06 am
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Sounds like a great way to

Sounds like a great way to reduce the work load of the probation officers.

overburdened_taxpayer
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overburdened_taxpayer 08/21/10 - 09:25 am
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isaidit - the burglar was not

isaidit - the burglar was not the "son of his long time secretary". He burglarized the home of his long time secretary's daughter. That is the burglary he was on probation for from Judge Brown.

isaidit
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isaidit 08/21/10 - 09:42 am
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"Randum"....really!! Given

"Randum"....really!! Given the additional information that was withheld orignally, I'm shocked that an experienced investigator......oh, lets say the Sheriff of Richmond County, (whom undoubtedly was privy to this info from the offset!!) would be soo quick to make such a statement! Does this remotely sound randum to you?? REALLY??!! This unfortunate tragedy is screaming "FISHY" at best. If it's not "usual" for the son (that you've known for years!) of your personal secretary to break into your home and the ONLY item stolen is your personal laptop.....than it's very irresponsible (or lazy??!!) investigating for you to conclude it to be randum at this time!! Are you serious sir?? A young man lost his life to his mother's boss over a personal laptop......do your job!

isaidit
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isaidit 08/21/10 - 09:58 am
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Overburdened......I'm not the

Overburdened......I'm not the only person reading it that way. Hope I'm wrong though, because I really think more of Sheriff Strength. Thanks for pointing that out.....I feel better already just thinking I could have misread the article. Kuddos

usafvet
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usafvet 08/21/10 - 10:27 am
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Justus4 probably became as

Justus4 probably became as quite as the "proverbial church mouse" when it was shown the burglar is white. Even he had assumed that a "brother" was innocent, a nice citizen in the community, was thinking about going to church,,,,,wait a minute, he had recently been to several churches, but was shot because he is a...... but now the truth is out. Prejudice in its truest form.

bud
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bud 08/21/10 - 10:31 am
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good for the judge.......the

good for the judge.......the man was in his home...had no business there...

doesn't matter if he was armed or not......serves the intruded right

WW1949
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WW1949 08/21/10 - 10:42 am
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Just purchased "The Judge"

Just purchased "The Judge" handgun recently and have it loaded with double buck and 45 long every other round. Only my wife and I live here so no children to worry about. If the alarm goes off and someone is comming up the steps at 4 AM they should not be here. Unless my wife sets off the alarm letting out the dogs. Better check to make sure.

mefirst
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mefirst 08/21/10 - 11:51 am
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While I am in complete

While I am in complete agreement with the judge's actions,I do have some qualms about how happy it makes most of the posters here that Judge Overstreet has killed a man. There is no doubt whatsoever that he was within his rights as a citizen of this great country to blast the perp out of both pairs of his socks. The thing that concerns me is how willing most of you seem to kill people. A truly bloodthirsty lot, if ever I saw one. For Mr Howard to be simple enough to break into a man's home with the intent to steal his property is criminal, and foolish as well. For you all to be glad that someone is dead is poor commentary on your concept of Christianity.Surely God's law is skewed by your obvious misunderstanding of Overstreet's actions.He has been on the bench in Augusta for a good many years, and has always been careful and considerate in his interpretation of the rule of law. I don't believe he is, or should be happy about taking a life.

fontana
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fontana 08/21/10 - 11:55 am
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Can't post about Cherry Tree.

Can't post about Cherry Tree. Lot of AC employees live there. You do the math.

Johnny Rotten
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Johnny Rotten 08/21/10 - 11:56 am
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RCSO just captured William

RCSO just captured William Omar Jacobs. Let's see how long it takes AC to notice.

corgimom
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corgimom 08/21/10 - 12:41 pm
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"There is holes in this one,

"There is holes in this one, but the judge should be treated just like any other citizen involved in a shooting i.e. ballistics test, drug test, witness testimony, and other evidence."

This is hilarious. We are supposed to think that Judge Overstreet, while high on drugs, got an illegal gun and just happened to shoot a stranger in his own house, who had broken a glass window to gain entry to the Judge's house.

Justus, you've said some really off-the-wall things, but this one takes the cake, even for you. The only "hole" in this case is the one that Judge Overstreet put in that thief.

Only Justus would come up with such bizarre nonsense.

laprince
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laprince 08/21/10 - 12:46 pm
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mefirst, YOU are the only one

mefirst, YOU are the only one that made a comment that I agree with. Shows you are the only one with a heart. All these blood thirsty murder minded people on here! God sees it all and hears it all.

corgimom
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corgimom 08/21/10 - 12:46 pm
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Mefirst- oh yeah, this has

Mefirst- oh yeah, this has everything to do with Christianity. When you do wrong, you WILL pay. I have no sympathy for Howard. Nobody told him to break into that house, he chose to do so. I know that if I break into people's houses, there is a very good chance that I will be shot and killed.

Howard brought this entirely upon himself.

And what I'm happy about is that the intruder was killed, not the victim.

laprince
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laprince 08/21/10 - 12:50 pm
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corgimom, you are showing

corgimom, you are showing your ignorance to God's word! God says his mercy, triumps over judgement in other words sometimes, his mercy prevails. Obviously you don't know anything about that!

corgimom
19235
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corgimom 08/21/10 - 12:54 pm
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"PUPPYMOMMA should they sing

"PUPPYMOMMA should they sing " I wish we were in Dixie"?"

No, because that would be incorrect.It's "I wish I was in Dixie", singular.

crackertroy
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crackertroy 08/21/10 - 02:54 pm
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Wow, good thing the criminal

Unpublished

Wow, good thing the criminal was white, Al Sharpton might have to make another visit.

chascush
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chascush 08/21/10 - 03:07 pm
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corgimom, ‘The only "hole" in

corgimom, ‘The only "hole" in this case is the one that Judge Overstreet put in that thief.’
That is not the only hole involved here the other one is in justus4’s head.

Summerville
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Summerville 08/21/10 - 04:07 pm
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Judge Overstreet, Glad you're

Judge Overstreet,

Glad you're ok; We're behind you 100%.

The Cho Family

proud2bamerican
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proud2bamerican 08/21/10 - 05:38 pm
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Praying for Judge Overstreet

Praying for Judge Overstreet - how traumatic for him not only to go be woken in his home in the middle of the night, knowing a stranger was in his house, but to then have to shoot and kill someone or gamble on them killing yourself/your family, and then live with the memory of it all...not something most people would want to go through.

Darby
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Darby 08/21/10 - 06:41 pm
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Real E Bugged - I came home

Real E Bugged - I came home and entered my back door while the bad guys went out the front. I went down the next day and filed for my carry permit. They didn't find my weapon and now they can't because it is alway on my person.

Painter
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Painter 08/21/10 - 09:50 pm
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Judge Overstreet is now my

Judge Overstreet is now my hero!

innorthaugusta
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innorthaugusta 08/21/10 - 10:02 pm
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Way to go judge. More people

Way to go judge. More people need to start protecting their property. if someone is breaking in your house, they are up to no good. Shoot em' and call the coroner to come and get them.

pharmt106
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pharmt106 08/23/10 - 04:15 pm
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Wow dumb and dumber break

Wow dumb and dumber break into a judges house! Are you serious!?!? Cant approve of killing but i guess you get what you deserve.

cable
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cable 08/26/10 - 10:31 pm
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come on people, dont you

come on people, dont you realize "killa" was just getting his life back together and was reforming himself!?! [ just kidding ]

RIPJr082010
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RIPJr082010 08/31/10 - 02:24 pm
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As reading the comments on

As reading the comments on this story of my brother, I think its only fair to speak on my families behalf since the reporters that wrote this story do not have the decency to return calls.

I agree the judge did his dutiful right in protecting his home. What I don't believe is how this story made my brother look like a proffessional convict that deserved to die sooner.

From what I gather from all of your comments, you have never had anybody in your family make mistakes. Everybody in each of your lives is a perfect model citizen that would never dare break the law in this great country! People make mistakes and we have to pay for our mistakes. Unfortunately, my brother paid for his mistake by dying. He was good kid that had two jobs and was attending school to obtain his Bachelor's in Psychology. Has a baby on the way due in January. His lifestyle growing up consisted of having everything he ever wanted and to work hard for what you want out of life.

I truly believe my brother got caught with the wrong people and was influenced to make horrible life changing decisions. He never carried a weapon on him and he would never intentionally hurt someone.

So before you make your ruthless remarks and pass judgement on someone you don't even know, keep in consideration that this individual has a family that cared about him. May you rest in piece little brother, you were a wonderful son, brother, cousin, and would've made a great father. God has his reasons why he took you from this world on 08/20/2010.

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