Augusta killer mistakenly released from prison back behind bars

An Augusta killer mistakenly released from the Central State Prison was taken back into custody Thursday evening.


Although Byron Keith Beck, 49, was considered for release on parole Wednesday, the Board of Pardons and Paroles denied his parole. But Beck was released anyway from the Macon prison facility.

Joan Heath, director of the Department of Correction’s public affairs office, said Friday by email that Beck was released in error. The department will review the steps that led to the error and make any appropriate corrections, she said.

Beck, 49, and his accomplice, Gerald Dwayne Taylor, were sentenced to life in prison in 1992 for murder and armed robbery.

Beck and Taylor held up the KB Jewelry and Pawn shop on Deans Bridge Road on May 15, 1991. During the robbery they fatally shot 51-year-old Kenneth Marvin Broome and wounded his wife, Geraldine Broome. According to an Augusta Chronicle report, Beck was 23 and Taylor was 22 at the time.

According to the investigative report compiled by the sheriff’s department, Beck and Taylor had been talking for weeks about the robbery. On May 15, 1991, “We just got the urge,” Beck told investigators.

Beck took in a radar detector to pawn, and after Kenneth Broome filled out a pawn slip with his information, Beck pulled the gun and demanded money. He then shot the pawn shop owner, firing the weapon until he ran out of bullets.

Geraldine Broome told investigators that Beck told Taylor to shoot her and he did. Taylor admitted to investigators he also shot the Broomes’ dog, a black Labrador, who recovered from his wound.

Both men confessed and the murder weapons were found at Beck’s home. Investigators also found $73 in cash and some jewelry. Taylor is still serving his life sentence.

Beck was rearrested at 8:10 p.m. Thursday, Heath said. He was taken into custody by the prison’s fugitive unit assigned to the U.S. Marshal’s Southeast Regional Office.

Reach Sandy Hodson at (706) 823-3226 or



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