Jimmy Harper hadn’t been seen for more than 48 hours.
So on Nov. 30, 1993, his daughter, Kellie Harper-Lee, drove to his apartment at Village Square in the 200 block of East Hancock Drive. On the living room floor was Harper, 62, who had been shot to death.
More than two decades later, Harper’s death remains unsolved.
“We are going on a few leads but we don’t want those to get out right now,” Richmond County Chief Deputy Ronald Strength told The Augusta Chronicle in December 1993. “The only thing we can confirm is that Mr. Harper was shot with some type of handgun.”
Despite having “a few leads,” no suspect was ever convicted in the death of Harper, who was a self-employed auto mechanic.
Investigators uncovered little information about a motive. However, deputies said Harper was known for selling beer and liquor from his home.
“It appears that he was bootlegging some beer and liquor, selling it on Sundays,” Strength told The Chronicle. “We seized 177 cans of beer and three half-gallon bottles of liquor.”
Harper was last seen by neighbors the Saturday before his death as he was heading off to a blues concert at Bell Auditorium. A ticket to the show had been given to him by several of his children for his recent birthday.
“The last time we talked to him was after the concert,” Harper-Lee told The Chronicle. “We called to ask how he liked it.”
Investigators ruled out robbery after finding a wallet with money near Harper’s body.
Reach Doug Stutsman at (706) 823-3341