Five homicides from 1998 remain unsolved in Richmond County. Two of the deaths, however, happened within 72 hours of each other, and investigators believe they might be connected.
On Dec. 2, 1998, 20-year-old Robert Thurmond was shot in the head after getting out of his car in the 1900 block of Broad Street. Investigators say that after parking his car, a man approached and called him “Little Bob.” Thurmond was then chased and shot in the head by a second man, police say.
He was disconnected from life support later that week.
Less than three days after Thurmond’s death, Boise Eugene Hankerson, 20, was shot in the left side while driving on Wooten Road. He pulled into a Citgo service station about 9 p.m. at Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard and 15th Street. He struck a parked car before dying in his Oldsmobile Cutlass.
Initially, law enforcement believed Hankerson was a possible suspect in Thurmond’s death, Chief Deputy Ronald Strength told The Augusta Chronicle in 1998. But when Hankerson was killed, authorities said the two homicides occurred in a battle over illegal drugs.
Before his death, Hankerson had been acquitted in June 1998 of murder in the January 1997 shooting of Donald Grace. Police were unhappy with the jury’s decision.
“Without a doubt, we knew (Hankerson) was guilty,” Strength said at the time.
After that case, Hankerson was suspected in at least three other shootings, according to Chronicle archives.
Richmond County sheriff’s Lt. Allan Rollins said they are no closer to locating suspects in the two homicides.
Anyone with information can call the Richmond County Sheriff’s Office at (706) 821-1000.