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.
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.