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Toll of deadly month mounts

Augusta has seen 8 July homicides

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Two killings Wednesday brought Augusta's total to eight homicides for the month, 20 for the year so far.

Wednesday's first victim was David Lee Johnson, 23, who was discovered about 2:45 p.m. at Sunset Villa Apartments with a stab wound to the chest.

His wife, Alicia Johnson, told first responders that he had accidently fallen on the knife, but after further investigation she was charged with stabbing him during a fight, according to Capt. Scott Peebles.

Johnson was taken to Medical College of Georgia Hospital, where he was pronounced dead about 3:30 p.m.

Alicia Johnson was booked Wednesday at the county jail on charges of murder and possession of a knife during the commission of a crime.

Hours later, about 7:15 p.m., deputies were sent to a park at the end of Meadowlark Drive in south Augusta to investigate a shooting. They found 21-year-old Eric Phillips of Barnwell, S.C., shot at least one time. An autopsy is scheduled for today.

July's homicide numbers are already the highest of any month in 2010, but police say the unusually high toll is just a coincidence.

"These things just vary," said Richmond County sheriff's Sgt. Ken Rogers. He expects the numbers to level out to average rates soon.

In 2009, August saw the most killings, with five, followed by May and December, with four.

Counting Alicia Johnson, three people have been charged in this month's eight killings.

Jerome Jerrod "Dirt" Sturgis, 22, was arrested July 14 as a suspect in a shooting at a Fourth of July barbecue in the 1900 block of Second Avenue.

Darnell Lorenzo Brown, 19, died after being shot in the head. Two others, a 19-year-old and a 12-year-old, were also shot but have recuperated.

Charges against Sturgis include two counts of aggravated assault, murder and possession of a firearm during the commission of a crime.

Warrants for the arrest of Henry Wright Bailey are pending his release from an Augusta psychiatric hospital, Rogers said. Bailey is the suspect in the death of his 84-year-old wife, Gene, on July 16.

Investigators think the 84-year-old retired surgeon suffocated his wife with a plastic bag before attempting suicide by taking medication. She was in the advanced stages of dementia and was no longer able to move or communicate, authorities said.

Rogers said there doesn't seem to be a common thread between the month's homicides. Investigators are looking at different motives for almost every case.

According to a Bureau of Justice study from 1976 to 2005, cities such as Augusta, with more than 100,000 people, are more likely to see drug- and gang-related homicides and less likely to see domestic and work-related killings.

A database created by The Augusta Chronicle of all homicides since 2005 shows the majority of slayings in Richmond County, 39, resulted from arguments.

Eight were considered drug-related. Robbery, domestic violence and unintended victimization fell in between.

The database considered 108 homicides as having a known motive.

"It's not easy to say a large part of homicides (in Augusta) are this or that," Rogers said.

The circumstances surrounding Augusta's homicides vary as much as the location, he said.

"They happen in good areas and bad areas," Rogers said. "I don't think you can say they always happen in low-income areas."

Investigators expect next month's homicide rate to "level out" with previous months.

"Being that it's up now in July, doesn't mean that it's (consistently) going up," Rogers said.

Staff Writer Kyle Martin contributed to this report.

The numbers

Augusta homicides in 2010

January - 3

February - 2

March - 1

April - 2

May - 1

June - 3

July, to date - 8

Augusta yearly totals

2009 - 25

2008 - 19

2007 - 25

2006 - 18

Source: Richmond County Sheriff's Office's Monthly Crime Report

Georgia yearly totals

2009 - 558

2008 - 622

2007 - 712

2006 - 601

Source: Georgia Bureau of Investigation

July homicide victims

Eight victims of homicide have been reported this month in Augusta, bringing the year's total to 20.

- The body of Jquanda Johnson, 27, was found July 2 at M.M. Scott Apartments in the 800 block of Spruce Street. She was last seen June 30; there are no suspects in the stabbing death.

- Darnell Lorenzo Brown, 19, was shot in the head in the 1900 block of Second Avenue on July 4. He died the next day. Jerome Jerrod "Dirt" Sturgis, 22, is in custody.

- The bodies of Jeramie Anthony Hammonds, 20, and Kayla Marie Wells, 19, were discovered July 5 in a wooded area off Glenn Hills Drive. There are no suspects in the shootings.

- The suffocation of Gene Goode Bailey, 84, is considered part of a homicide/attempted suicide. On July 16, her body was found inside her home in the 3200 block of Dresden Way; her husband was found unresponsive. Henry Wright Bailey, 84, is expected to be arrested pending his medical release.

- Deangelo Rondelle Hudgins, 25, was shot in the chest July 18 after he and a fellow military police officer approached a suspicious vehicle in the 5000 block of Sanctuary Drive. Albert James Gilbert, 25, was shot in the abdomen. There are no suspects.

- David Lee Johnson, 23, was found Wednesday at Sunset Villa Apartments in the 1700 block of Essie McIntyre Boulevard. His wife, Alicia Washington Johnson, told officers he had fallen on a knife. She is in custody.

- Eric Phillips, 21, was found Wednesday at Meadowlark Park on Meadowlark Drive. He had been shot to death. The investigation is in the early stages.

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dreamschasers
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dreamschasers 07/21/10 - 05:48 pm
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With the name of the street,

With the name of the street, was there any question?

Fiat_Lux
15043
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Fiat_Lux 07/21/10 - 06:02 pm
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Too bad one or both of them

Too bad one or both of them never learned to how deal with conflict in a civilized manner, especially after bothering to get married.

AugustaVoter
2
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AugustaVoter 07/21/10 - 06:49 pm
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I was always told you had to

I was always told you had to be a single or unwed mother to live in Augusta's Public Housing. If so, how is it that she has a husband and lives in the projects? Does anyone ever follow up on who lives in these places?

backagain
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backagain 07/21/10 - 06:57 pm
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These people live on the
Unpublished

These people live on the margins of society,they're poor.What does the name of a street has to do with anything.A very foolish response.

RoadkiII
6445
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RoadkiII 07/21/10 - 07:10 pm
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Another senseless death by a

Another senseless death by a knife. When is congress going to do something and get these dangerous things off the streets and out of our houses!?!?!?

backagain
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backagain 07/21/10 - 07:15 pm
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People make mistakes,killing
Unpublished

People make mistakes,killing someone is bad,maybe he had been beating her,look at this thing from all angles....

Zoe
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Zoe 07/21/10 - 07:19 pm
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interesting twist. now its

interesting twist. now its the woman. Probably defending herself from an abusive man. Probably had ENOUGH

humbleopinion
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humbleopinion 07/21/10 - 07:47 pm
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Backagain, these people are

Backagain, these people are NOT poor. They live in an apartment that is probably 50% larger than the average apartment in Paris France....They probably have cable TV that over 80% of the population on Earth DOES NOT have....They probably had a car that "poor" people around the world do not have.....They probably have an EBT card that gives them access to food from any number of grocery and convenience stores in the area....They probably both have cell phones.....I'll bet there was a TV set in the apartment that is larger than 32".....They have running water, electricity and an indoor bathroom that their "african" counterparts do not have. No, these people are NOT poor. They had the opportunity for a "free" education that would / could have gotten them jobs that pay MORE than what they get in public "assistance" (Democrat vote buying). They are NOT poor.....They are SLAVES to the liberal political powers. Nothing more, Nothing less that voters for the person with a "D" next to their name.

AWyld1
3
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AWyld1 07/21/10 - 08:06 pm
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I have to agree with

I have to agree with humble...it's supposed to be a hand up not a hand out!!

Just Another Day
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Just Another Day 07/21/10 - 08:07 pm
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Essie McEntyre? I was looking

Essie McEntyre? I was looking to dabble in real estate in that area. I heard the market there for housing was hot hot hot and a "killer of a deal"...........

Fiat_Lux
15043
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Fiat_Lux 07/21/10 - 08:14 pm
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JAD, you bad!

JAD, you bad!

ceegold
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ceegold 07/21/10 - 08:21 pm
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To humbleopinion. This death

To humbleopinion. This death is a tragedy regardless of name of the street, political affiliation or socio-economic condition. There are plenty of people in this nation who have degrees and are still out of work. This is a problem that can be blamed only on democrats, republicans, liberals or conservatives but on all of us, who are too busy with our own little lives to care what happens to neighbors anymore. May I suggest instead of looking for someone to point the finger of blame at, and we all work together to find solutions for the problems that are plaguing our nation, our neighborhoods, our schools and our neighbors.

thewayitis
15
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thewayitis 07/21/10 - 08:34 pm
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Domestic violence against men

Domestic violence against men by women is a widespread problem. The woman is not always the victim, nor is she always defending herself from an abusive man. Sometimes the woman is the primary aggressor. Aggressive and abusive women need to be locked up like the criminals they are.

TakeAstand
13
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TakeAstand 07/21/10 - 08:49 pm
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I agree with humbleopinion.

I agree with humbleopinion. ceegold, The solution is stop the subsidies or reform them to where you can not keep having children while on assistance. Birth control is free. Or if you want to continue getting help get "fixed". Stop making more dependants when you dont want to work to support them. Fathers not supporting kids, get fixed or go to jail so you cant make more dependants. The ones who suffer are the children being raised in these subsidy war zones created by the entitlement crowd. No one should be living cradle to the grave being government supported without being truly disabled. Lack of pride, self esteem, work ethic, morals and family stability created by an entitlement environment isn't a disability, its abuse and neglect to children. The hand up turned into handouts that people who never worked a day in their life feel they are owed by people who do work. Having a bunch of kids while already on assistance is criminal theft and abusive to children. Stop having them when you first get on assistance and in 5 years they will be in school so you can get a job. The only thing most of these people work at is how to get more free stuff for doing nothing more than being alive. The word earn never crosses their mind! And the solution is easy, the bleeding hearts just wont ever let it happen. They do not believe in personal responsibility, just what excuses they can use for the lazy and criminal.

TakeAstand
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TakeAstand 07/21/10 - 08:54 pm
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With that being said, my

With that being said, my condolences to both their families as none of them deserved this tragedy, especially if they had children. Until we know which one was the abuser, I can't comment appropriately, It could go either way.

corgimom
31079
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corgimom 07/21/10 - 09:04 pm
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"I was always told you had to

"I was always told you had to be a single or unwed mother to live in Augusta's Public Housing. If so, how is it that she has a husband and lives in the projects?"

You were told wrong, Augusta Voter. As in disabled people can be married and live in public housing. Or the elderly. Or if they both qualify for housing, as in one's disabled, one's below poverty level. It is not uncommon at all to be in public housing and be married.

Sheesh.

chascush
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chascush 07/21/10 - 09:29 pm
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backagain, ‘These people live

backagain, ‘These people live on the margins of society,they're poor’
The point is not that are poor the point is they are mostly trash. I grew up very poor but we were not like those people. The govamint schools and the entitlement programs have made trash out off a lot of people. More to come from Hussein and his crowd.

j2says
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j2says 07/21/10 - 09:37 pm
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Humbleopion...that's all you

Humbleopion...that's all you wrote and suggested is just that an opinion. You don't know anything about those people accept what you assume. The only facts we have is their location, one is dead and the other is charged. Have we learned nothing about knee-jerk reactions and opinions in the past couple of days?

dani
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dani 07/21/10 - 10:17 pm
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Worser and worser. Will it

Worser and worser. Will it never cease? I don't believe that being poor makes a person bad. Actually it is the other way around. The poor are more humble as a rule. That is a pitiful excuse for taking a life.

cdixon9112
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cdixon9112 07/21/10 - 10:51 pm
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What's expected after a 200

What's expected after a 200 years of slavery. Abuse is a disease that is left untreated can spread through out the whole family for generations. I challenge any one to try to over come a year of abuse by the disease call slavery.

TakeAstand
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TakeAstand 07/21/10 - 11:01 pm
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That's just the thing

That's just the thing darealist, a lot of other posters are just like me, grew up dirt poor, didnt live off the governement and werent a family of criminals. We been through some real struggles and did something about it...legally and with pride. My parents never accepted public housing just because they dont want their kids to live in such an environment, and I have done the same for my kids, though through tough times, we could have gotten every assistance under the sun. Instead we didn't keep having kids and worked harder. I could have went on disability at the age of 21 and gotten supported the rest of my life, but there was no way that was going to happen. Yeah I'd probably be in less pain and misery had I not worked so hard and just gotten the freebees, but I wouldnt have a fraction of the pride and self respect and my children live better than I ever did because of it and we arent even middle class, just hard working poor.

TakeAstand
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TakeAstand 07/21/10 - 11:02 pm
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Corgi, you are right, but

Corgi, you are right, but lets no forget all the ones who lie and say their husband or boyfriend doesn't live there. I know plenty of people who have that scam down pat.

TakeAstand
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TakeAstand 07/21/10 - 11:08 pm
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cdixon, you are right, as

cdixon, you are right, as long as people keep enabling that mentality, they can't break the cycle. So the excuses need to be stopped and the changes made. And your excuse doesnt fly considering the millions of people who didn't follow that cycle. So lets stop enabling and start changing it since they surely wont do it for themselves. The bleeding hearts will never let that happen though, they can't comprehend personal responsibility and accountability.

smalltowngal
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smalltowngal 07/21/10 - 11:08 pm
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All of us have had our

All of us have had our struggles. Many of us here in the south grew up poor. Its how we deal with our adversities that define our character. Either we weather the struggles and come out stronger or we blame others. Sad to say, we have too many blaming others for their plight in life intead of making their life better.

TakeAstand
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TakeAstand 07/21/10 - 11:09 pm
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Nicely put smalltowngal.

Nicely put smalltowngal.

smalltowngal
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smalltowngal 07/21/10 - 11:20 pm
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TY takeastand. I just get so

TY takeastand. I just get so tired of hearing the same ole story-no one cares, he made me do it, I was poor, I am poor, the schools failed me, etc. This woman who is charged with killing her husband knew before today something was terribly wrong in her marriage. Instead of resorting to violence, as so many do today, why not try another approach and, say, LEAVE! Too many stay in a bad marriage. Id rather starve on my own than stay with someone who would hurt me and my kids. And, besides, my hubby taught me to shoot, lol. so I never had that particular problem. Many others, but thats something I would never tolerate.

baronvonreich
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baronvonreich 07/21/10 - 11:32 pm
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I expect Deke's cheerleader

I expect Deke's cheerleader to provide us with a full report tomorrow on how murders and violent crime are going down in RC and why there is no reason to be alarmed....

Nativeson1
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Nativeson1 07/21/10 - 11:32 pm
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Good points TAS and STG....

Good points TAS and STG....

crackertroy
540
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crackertroy 07/21/10 - 11:35 pm
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humbleopinion has a great
Unpublished

humbleopinion has a great post. The usual suspect right-out-of-the-liberal-box standard issued posts follow, "Don't judge" and "you don't even know them". Like they even know what judgment means. You lock a bunch of poor, uneducated people (regardless of race) up in a small area and you expect something different to happen?

smalltowngal
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smalltowngal 07/21/10 - 11:47 pm
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I agree, Humble's post is

I agree, Humble's post is right on target, there are very few peeps in this country who are poor. Even peeps on welfare have lots more than I had growing up. Cars, TV's, celll phones, hair do's, fingernails, more that I had. Just made me try harder to get to where I am now-not rich but able to pay my bills, buy a home, have a car and still manage to pay enough taxes to support others.

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