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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.

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choppergirl 09/11/10 - 12:55 pm
You may think a person has

You may think a person has the right to defend their home. But the law says you can only use physical force to deter physical force.

Shootings someone wearing socks on their hand is not matching force with force. Socks have never been nor probably never will be considered a deadly weapon. This is the law. You can not shoot someone just because they are trespassing, no matter where they are on your property or the time of day. Trespassing is, after all, simply crossing an invisible line in the dirt. I see no threat to the judge's life here and the man had no gun or weapon at all. You can't just shoot someone because you are afraid. (If that were the case, many students would go postal at the fear of approaching final exams.)

Where's the trial for murder? The public demands a murder trial Anyone else and there would be an exhaustive investigation by an independent body other than the corrupt Columbia County / Augusta Police, and a trial for murder.

Just an example (which we would never know without an independent investigation and a trial): How do we know the guy wasn't interested in dating the Judge's daughter, for example, and the Judge wouldn't have any of it because he knows the guys colorful history, so he invites the guy over for a heart to heart talk, shoots the guy point blank range in his home, puts socks on his hands, and calls his buddies down at the police station saying he just shot a burglar.

If anything, all of you should be disturbed, we now know what we knew all along. Judges are a ruling class above the law.

Further, if we assume the guy was robbing Overstreet's home, if you know anything about cat burglars which a judge of all people should know from years of being a judge), you know the last thing in the world a cat burglar wants is to run into anybody and have any confrontation at all. They are very skittish, they want to get in and out as quickly as possible and don't want to be seen or heard or leave any trace at all. If anything, he was probably as scared and spooked as the judge was and if indeed, for assumption, he was a burglar, the one thing on his mind then was to run or get away as fast as possible.

As the relative of the guy who got points out, the Judge, nor any of the laws, take into account, the human experience which is complex, stressful, and wrought with often times things that seem like a good idea at the time, but turn out to be wrong in the end. Maybe the guy was desperate for money to buy a birthday present for his kid. Or for money for a drug addiction. Maybe someone threatened him that he will join their game and do an initiation ritual or harm will come to him. Maybe being a product of our pounded into our consumer heads from birth to want stuff - he just wanted - stuff. He is held to measure up against the highest ruler at all times, and yet, our very own government, can descend into outright violence and wholesale mechanized murder and slaughter upon civilian populations (as we saw in Iraq) simply by declaring 'war'.

From birth to death we are ruled by these rules and laws, many of which, were made by dead people, and we have had no say so or input into the voting, creation, or vetoing of them whatsoever. The Constitution was a contract made between a bunch of old white guys, many of whom were openly seditious, traitorous, squatters, thieves, slave owners, and criminals. Why should we be bound by these laws and this contract, when none of us alive today had any part in making it, never signed it, nor even agree to most of it?

Our government is not a government of the people by the people, for the people who formed this regime are long since dead, and even then when it was made, it excluded women, blacks, Indians, and children from having any input into it whatsoever. It is not a government by or for the people at all. And definitely not for the people, who were here first.

Just about all of the land America was founded on, even the land Overstreet's house is on, including the courthouse and all the government buildings in Augusta, was stolen outright from the Indians, who were put on death marches to concentration camp reservations out west. Where's the justice for them? This ethnic cleansing happened hundreds of years before the Nazis repeated the same tactic against the Jews. Look around Georgia, it use to be covered in Indians. Today you could drive for miles and miles and not see a single one.

These laws, you pass far away behind closed doors, and we are expected to know and obey every single one of them. But if you don't know them all, how are we expected to. Up until recent modern times, most of us had no access to law libraries at all, they were hidden away private things set up by lawyers, there were no law books at all in public libraries. Only with the recent advent of the internet does the larger public finally have access to such information to defend ourselves from the overreaching criminal state. A lot of us wonder, why does the State of Georgia even exist at all, its criminal past is so long and so dark, it should of been dissolved for good at the end of the Civil War.

So I ask Overstreet this. Are you a law unto yourself? Do you know all of these thousands of laws on the books, in the law library, can you quote them all verbatim if we were to quiz you on it. Then you were suppose to know this law. You can only use physical force to deter physical force.

And Overstreet, if you could go back to that moment, knowing what you know now, would give that man your laptop, and say here, take a VCR as well, you probably need it, and I my friend do not? I do not need it, because I made $200,000 a year, each and every year, and you, my friend, probably will never make anywhere near that in your entire lifetime. Would you say to this silly guy wearing the socks on his hand, holding the gun on him as he is shocked coming down the stairs, you may not believe it, but your life is worth more to me, than these silly things, which in 10 years time, will be worthless and for sale down at the Augusta Salvation Army. Would you ask him if he needed a place to sleep at night, or money for food?

And will you go to his grave, and look down at it, and ask Why? Why? Why? Most of the people who ended up in your courtroom, I am sure, had no idea why they were there, and were asking that very question. Evil is like a tornado, it touches down and seeks out the most vulnerable and simple minds and whirls them off. Your justice system does nothing but profits from it, turning society against those who need help the most, criminalizing and vilifying them and torturing them in concrete little boxes all in the name of some unenlightened retributive justice.

Little Lamb
Little Lamb 09/11/10 - 03:09 pm
Nice writing, ChopperGirl,

Nice writing, ChopperGirl, but it is clear you have not taken the time to read the Georgia law regarding intruders in a home. Your second sentence is false.

Katiekins77 06/15/11 - 03:55 pm
Love you Judge! So glad that

Love you Judge! So glad that you are still with us.

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