Nearly a third of this year’s homicide cases remain unsolved.
There have been 10 homicides in the county in the first six months of 2014, compared with nine at midyear of 2013, and three are unsolved.
Sgt. Paul Godden, a homicide investigator for the Richmond County Sheriff’s Office, said forensic evidence could be the key they need to solve two of the three open cases.
All of the homicides last year except one – the June 11 shooting death of 39-year-old Yossarian Brooks on Massoit Drive – have been closed by arrests.
The first homicide of this year remains open and is awaiting forensic evidence to be returned from the Georgia Bureau of Investigation crime lab.
Willie Aiken Jr., 34, was killed Jan. 13 at his home in the 400 block of Colorado Street from at least one gunshot wound.
“We’ve interviewed dozens of people in this case, but no one seems to know,” Godden said.
Aiken’s friends verified to investigators that he had been at the College Bowl on Laney-Walker Boulevard earlier that day before returning home, where he was shot. Neighbors told authorities they heard shots but didn’t see anything.
The killing is believed to be drug-related.
The remaining open cases occurred in vehicles.
The body of Gerald Clifford, 28, was discovered Feb. 8 with a gunshot wound in what deputies initially thought was a disabled vehicle on eastbound Bobby Jones Expressway near Mike Padgett Highway.
Godden said hundreds of people have been interviewed in the homicide, which has been deemed gang-related. The case is also awaiting results from the crime lab.
Antonio Counts, 28, of North Augusta, appeared to be in the wrong place at the wrong time when he was shot in Augusta and later discovered in a wrecked vehicle in a ditch off U.S. Highway 1 in North Augusta on April 8.
“We don’t believe he was the intended target,” Godden said.
A passenger in the vehicle, 34-year-old Donald Hill, was also shot but has not been forthcoming with information on the shooting, he said.
Although the men were found in North Augusta, Richmond County sheriff’s deputies picked up shell casings at the Broad Street ramp to Gordon Highway, making it an Augusta case.
Investigators are working with the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives task force in Aiken to obtain technical evidence that could lead to a suspect, Godden said.