No unsolved homicides this year in Athens, police say

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ATHENS, Ga. -- Six people were murdered in Athens this year, one more person than in 2010.

The murder rate seems to have stabilized, after a peak at 10 in 2009 and dip to five in 2010, but this year marked the first time in 75 years that local officers had to investigate the murder of one of their own.

While police believe they have solved all of this year’s murders, all of the cases remain pending in Clarke County Superior Court.

• The first victim this year was Larry James David, 60, who was killed Jan. 8 in Tent City, a homeless camp north of Lexington Road.

Police didn’t think foul play was involved until a few days later, when an autopsy found that the hyoid bone in David’s throat had been fractured.

Another homeless man, 40-year-old Joseph Richard Craft, was charged with murder after police determined he strangled Davis during a fight. He’s the same person who found David’s body, police said.

• A month later, on Feb. 1, police were called to the Vintage Court home of James and Briana Hood, who told officers they stabbed a man to death after he tried to burglarize their home.

The husband and wife later were charged with murdering 26-year-old Christopher Coon, when investigators determined the Hoods stabbed Coon to death after a drug deal went bad inside their home, police said.

• On March 22, officers heard a countywide lookout for Jamie Hood, wanted in connection with the armed robbery and kidnapping of a man on Rannick Road.

Senior Police Officer Tony Howard spotted an SUV that Hood was in and stopped it, but police said Hood shot Howard in the face and shoulder before the officer could get out of his patrol car.

Howard survived his injuries, but Hood shot and killed Senior Police Officer Elmer “Buddy” Christian as he arrived on the scene, according to police.

Hood later was indicted not only for Christian’s murder, but for one of the last murders of 2010. Authorities say Hood shot and killed Kenneth Omari Wray, an Athens-Clarke Transportation and Public Works employee, the night of Dec. 28.

The last local officer to be murdered in the line of duty was Herman Stein, who was shot to death by an armed robbery suspect in 1936.

• The following month, 28-year-old Demetrius Antwon Ball was slashed in the neck and stabbed in the chest during a fight with another man on Vine Street the night of June 11. He later died at the hospital.

Randy Roderick “Rat” Perry, 36, was charged with Ball’s murder when he was arrested two days later in Decatur. Perry claimed he stabbed the other man in self-defense, but his version of events contrasted with eyewitness accounts, police said.

• Two months later, on Aug. 4, Fernando Leondus Terrell, 25, was shot in the stomach during an argument on West Hancock Avenue. He staggered into the Broadacres Homes housing complex nearby, where he collapsed and died.

Police first arrested the wrong man for Terrell’s murder, after a witness gave false statements. Investigators quickly realized they’d been duped, and charged 21-year-old Sabien Jacquand Jones with Terrell’s murder, which police called drug-related.

• The last murder of 2011 also was drug-related, according to police.

It happened the night of Nov. 6 when 19-year-old Jeremy Buchanan of Commerce drove to Rolling Ridge Apartments on Kathwood Drive, where he went into a building’s breezeway and was shot once in the head.

Buchanan died at the hospital hours later, when doctors removed him from life support.

Investigators identified 22-year-old Cody Lumpkin as the shooter, and Sentquila Hill, 25, as an accomplice.

Lumpkin and Hill stole money, a wallet and a cellphone from Buchanan as he lay wounded, according to a grand jury indictment.


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