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Richmond County adds homicide investigator

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In response to this month's eight homicides -- the most during a single month in the past decade -- the Richmond County Sheriff's Office said Thursday it has put an extra investigator on the cases.

Richmond County sheriff's investigators at the scene of a double homicide earlier this month.  File
File
Richmond County sheriff's investigators at the scene of a double homicide earlier this month.

"The number of homicides has made us change the way we do business," said Maj. Ken Autry, who oversees the Criminal Investigation Division. "That's a change we had to make not only to handle these cases today but also to know we're prepared in the future."

Mark Dobbins, who has been working on cold case files and sex crimes for the past year, will be transferred into homicide investigations immediately, Autry said.

He pointed out that this is not the first time there have been two homicide investigators.

Investigator Brandon Beckman is the division's main homicide investigator, but some cases have been reassigned to other investigators to spread out the case load.

With just more than a week to go, July has seen the most homicides in a single month in the past 10 years, according to data from the sheriff's office. Eight people have been killed in seven incidents.

"As far as we can tell right now, (the homicides) are not random, and that should make people feel safer," Autry said.

Most of Richmond County's recent cases appear to be drug-related, Autry said Wednesday.

"These people are putting themselves in bad situations," Sgt. Blaise Dresser said. "A lot of times, victims are involved in a dangerous element."

That appears to be the case with Eric Phillips, who was found dead from multiple gunshot wounds Wednesday at Meadowlark Park. The park, which includes a small, sandy baseball diamond, a broad, grassy field and playground, sits in the middle of a densely populated neighborhood.

Dresser said several people must have seen the body but chose not to report it. It was likely there for hours, Dresser said.

Investigators have warrants out for the arrest of Marcus Richardson, 26, of the 3000 block of Libby Drive, on charges of murder and possession of a firearm during the commission of a crime.

Thursday afternoon, Sunset Villa Apartments, the site of Wednesday's other slaying, was as deserted as the playground. The only evidence of trouble was the yellow crime scene tape over the door of Apt. M105.

Neighbors said David Johnson and his wife, Alicia Johnson, frequently argued, a fact confirmed by Dresser. She is now in jail, accused of stabbing her husband in the chest.

The emotions involved with homicides make them particularly hard to anticipate, Autry said.

"Everybody's got to understand that these (homicides) are not predictable," Autry said.

Anyone with information about any of these cases can call the Richmond County Sheriff's Office at (706) 821-1020 or (706) 821-1080.

Staff Writers Sandy Hodson and Kyle Martin contributed to this report.


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Killings tend to rise in summer

A large number of homicides typically occur in July. Police generally attribute an increase in crime during the summer to school being out and more people -- with more time on their hands -- being on the streets.

Richmond County homicides by month since 2000:

MonthNumber
July29
December*22
November*21
August*21
April21
June21
February20
May20
October*17
September*17
March16
January13
YearNumber

*Monthly totals do not include 2010 figures

Richmond County homicides by year since 2000:

YearNumber
200334
200927
200726
200826
200022
2010*20
200619
200118
200216
200516
200414

*To date

Source: Richmond County Sheriff's Office, Chronicle database

Comments (31) Add comment
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corgimom
32400
Points
corgimom 07/22/10 - 02:14 pm
0
0
“Everybody’s got to

“Everybody’s got to understand that these (homicides) are not predictable,” Autry said today.

We all understand that- except for Countyman.

Countyman, I am sincerely interested in your thoughts on this- since you so smugly told us a couple of weeks ago that homicides in Augusta are not rising.

lifelongresidient
0
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lifelongresidient 07/22/10 - 02:28 pm
0
0
i agree homicides are indeed

i agree homicides are indeed unpredictable, one sure way to cut down on them is to enact a 2-3 strikes law, i bet most of those accused/convicted of homicides have prior records and by locking them up and throwing away the key then chances are those who are homicide victims maybe would not have been because the piece of crap would have already been locked for earlier offenses. when is the criminal justice system here in GA going to wake up and start locking repeat offenders of violent crimes or those who consistantly committ a large number of minor offenses until they die or very, very old. richmond county has a and industrial park out on mike padgette with no industry, why not use that land to build a 30,000 bed super max prision and start filling it up with those don't want to live in an law and order society. at least by having a supermax prison it will create some jobs instead of being an industrial park without any industry....

smbga
38
Points
smbga 07/22/10 - 02:28 pm
0
0
It's only going to get worse.

It's only going to get worse.

baronvonreich
0
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baronvonreich 07/22/10 - 02:38 pm
0
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Glad the RCSO is shifting a

Glad the RCSO is shifting a detective working cold cases to homicides after 8 this month. Will Deke and County jointly declare a state of emergency is we get to 16 before the month is out?

Chillen
17
Points
Chillen 07/22/10 - 02:42 pm
0
0
It's probably the extreme

It's probably the extreme heat from this summer and the crappy economy. Everyone is going nuts!

baronvonreich
0
Points
baronvonreich 07/22/10 - 02:50 pm
0
0
I'm surprised somebody hasn't

I'm surprised somebody hasn't blamed it on the Gay Parade yet and as a sign that uncle jeebus didn't approve.....

memyselfandi
0
Points
memyselfandi 07/22/10 - 02:57 pm
0
0
I am wondering when people

I am wondering when people are going to wake up to the fact that going to jail is no longer a punishment. Air conditioning/cable TV/3 meals a day/exercise equipment/ conjugal visitation/ and anything else they decide that they want or need.
I think we need to set up a tent city - AZ has good ideas about a lot of things.

veggie-d
0
Points
veggie-d 07/22/10 - 02:58 pm
0
0
its because society waits for

its because society waits for law enforcement to do the job neighbors used to do 20-30 yrs ago...look out for each other...show a lil care & concern mixed with awareness...and REPORT suspicious behavior/wife beaters/child abusers/criminals...it won't stop it...but i MIGHT slow it down...

and...carry a good gun.

veggie-d
0
Points
veggie-d 07/22/10 - 03:01 pm
0
0
sorry memyselfandi but...that

sorry memyselfandi but...that arizona "tent city" crap AIN'T workin' AT ALL!

additionally, arpaio is an idiot criminal who frames teenagers by using ex cons to set them up so he can make hi-profle busts...he's a loser and should be living in his own tent city...some day...some day...

omnomnom
3964
Points
omnomnom 07/22/10 - 03:02 pm
0
0
Baron, jeebus is waiting til

Baron, jeebus is waiting til it gets a little cooler outside for retribution

Chillen
17
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Chillen 07/22/10 - 03:41 pm
0
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veggie-d "society waits for

veggie-d "society waits for law enforcement to do the job neighbors used to do 20-30 yrs ago"

Yep, Government to the Rescue! That can be applied in this manner also.

"society waits for government and taxpayers to do the job that they themselves, family and neighbors used to do 20-30 yrs ago"

follower
59
Points
follower 07/22/10 - 03:53 pm
0
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Baron, have you been somehow

Baron, have you been somehow let down by a church in your past? The fact that a man/men failed you in the past doesn't mean that all "religion" is bad. Men will let you down, and many will do it while at the same time claiming to be "christian"[little c]. I'm sorry about whatever they did. But to be so demeaning to what so many hold sacred is the utmost show of disrespect. While we may disagree, I hope I would never do that to what you hold dear.

bettyboop
7
Points
bettyboop 07/22/10 - 04:01 pm
0
0
Oh follower do not worry

Oh follower do not worry about baron...God loves him and has plans for him.

3g
0
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3g 07/22/10 - 04:14 pm
0
0
Follower - instead of

Follower - instead of inciting a religous debate , keep it on the topic and your religous ( fictional ) views on a relevant thread .
My solution - release all non-violent drug offenders and TREAT them for their addiction - that will free up plenty of space to house these lawless gangsters .
Veggie - carry a reliable weapon and INTEND to use it if necessary .

TakeAstand
13
Points
TakeAstand 07/22/10 - 04:22 pm
0
0
Tent city style does work,

Tent city style does work, there are some criminals that will never learn no matter their punishment, and they deserve to be executed. Tent city concept would work even better if the bleeding hearts would let it be run 100% the way it should be, at least Arpaio has the balls to try. None of that cable tv, basketball, weightlifting, 24 hour ac and heat, conjugal visits for cold blooded killers, none of that crap. Hard labor 16 hours a day. The losers would be too tired to keep the trouble they do in prisons and criminals wouldnt get street respect for going to prison. They would more than likely not want to go back. As it is now, prison is a training ground, a place for criminals to meet up, plot, cause trouble because they have nothing better to do. I'm not talking those weenie jobs like making license plates, working in the kitchen or laundry, I mean busting boulders 16 hours straight 7 days a week. As it is now none of these losers even care about doing time, its just a minor setback, not punishment. And violent criminals, when theres irrefutable evidence, death penalty and swiftly...ex: Brian Nichols. The taxpayers had to spend millions defending this waste of flesh from the punishment he truly deserved and people condone it. And how does a 2 time killer get released after only 16 years to set his child on fire shortly after being released. Evidently the rewards were far worth the punishment in prison for this loser to try to kill again and some ignorant bleeding heart released him. And he still wont be executed, we will still have to pay for this wof to suck up ac, food, medical, etc.. for the rest of his life, or until another bleeding heart panel releases him again. Bleeding hearts are ruining this country, thank one today.

Nativeson1
2
Points
Nativeson1 07/22/10 - 04:50 pm
0
0
Rising unemployment, rising

Rising unemployment, rising crime, no surprise...You will always have a criminal element in society, but when the economy is bad you will see a rise in crime, especially property crimes (regular perps stealing, but also overall good people who succumb to economic pressure/erosion of ethics)...The homicide rate isn't too shocking because as you can see this year is on track with the past nine years and I'm sure with the years beyond 2000...Harsh reality but reality all the same...My advice is be vigilant and if you legally carry a weapon (handgun) make sure you are proficient in the use of it...

veggie-d
0
Points
veggie-d 07/22/10 - 05:31 pm
0
0
3g- if i didn't "INTEND to

3g- if i didn't "INTEND to use it if necessary"...i wouldn't carry it. ; )

countyman
20120
Points
countyman 07/22/10 - 10:20 pm
0
0
I said overall crime in

I said overall crime in Augusta is not rising.... And the 2010 homicides are still not higher than 2003, 2009, 2007, 2008, 2000....

Stop trying to take my words and twist them around...

deMOJO
0
Points
deMOJO 07/23/10 - 03:52 am
0
0
business as usual for

business as usual for Richmond County. the "gang" on "gang" murders do nothing but rid society of the useless humans that drag our world down. i don't have exact numbers of course, but i would be willing to bet 80% of the murders in Augusta are drug related. good riddens i say.

lsmith
105
Points
lsmith 07/23/10 - 04:13 am
0
0
3g: how about a little less
Unpublished

3g: how about a little less arrogance on your part. You are not the moderator of these forums and they are available for whatever one desires to post, which is really good for you since you have a proficiency for making multiple snide retorts for nearly everyone who dares express a view you have no use for. If you don't like what people post, just ....errr.....DONT" READ IT, or simply hit the "ignore user" button. Don't waste your time here my friend.

peonynut
2
Points
peonynut 07/23/10 - 08:21 am
0
0
For an area the size of

For an area the size of Augusta-Richmond County it is a crying shame to have only two murder cops. Some of the parks and recreation money should be filtered into the sheriff's department for hiring new officers and transferring qualified individuals to homicide.

lsmith
105
Points
lsmith 07/23/10 - 08:39 am
0
0
peonynut: I've always thought
Unpublished

peonynut: I've always thought probably the sherff's department had too much budget tied up in patrol cars and beat deputies. Good investigators are a wise investment and can be flexible because they're cross trained and can lend a hand where ever the need arises.
There are those who tend to overlook the seriousness of shootings and knifings if the result is not death. In my mind most all such crimes are just as serious because the intent was to probably kill anyway. Just because the victim doesn't die doesn't diminish the fact the assailant was trying to end their life. It's only be sheer luck that every shooting isn't a death statistic.

Mac2406
22
Points
Mac2406 07/23/10 - 09:46 am
0
0
People like to have their

People like to have their right to "Bear Arms." Personally, they do not belong in private citizen hands. The only people who should possess fire arms are law enforcement officers and military personel, that way, most people will not lose their life from a gun shot. Since this will never happen, another solution is anyone who owns a gun must have it registered, rounds fired from chamber and listed in the FBI data base, which would limited man hours looking for the criminals. Costly, but effective. Maybe the manufactures of weapons should be made to pay for the expense.

noway
201
Points
noway 07/23/10 - 09:59 am
0
0
All of these homicides and

All of these homicides and people are more worried about illegal immigration? There is so much crime here in our community. We need to beef up the police to fight CRIME. There is more of a chance that we can be murdered or robbed than anything else. GO Mac2406!! Totally agree!!

seenitB4
87178
Points
seenitB4 07/23/10 - 10:16 am
0
0
Wow...this even made the AJC

Wow...this even made the AJC today....The highest monthly # of homicides in the past decade.....countyman where are you??

montega12
0
Points
montega12 07/23/10 - 10:36 am
0
0
mac2406 what good will that

mac2406 what good will that do most murders are done with stolen guns so thats a stupid argument...and check your facts in countries and even towns where you a required to carry a gun crime is drastically less...and only law and military should carry guns research europe where no private citizen is allowed a gun and check how that is working for them.....here ill help you.... it isnt europe murder rates by guns is skyrocketing

keeanzia
44
Points
keeanzia 07/23/10 - 12:20 pm
0
0
This is sad. Augusta is

This is sad. Augusta is changing and not in a good way. This used to be a place where people come to retire, not anymore.

Mac2406
22
Points
Mac2406 07/23/10 - 12:36 pm
0
0
Montega12, thanks for the

Montega12, thanks for the comment, but we have to start from somewhere. It does not hit home until we lose a love one. Personally, I do not own a gun and do not plan on buying one. When I finished serving my country of 20 years, I left it with them because it was government property. However, I caution you, with the rise in crime rates and an unstable economy, the situation will not get better. If control measures aren't put into place soon, you or I might be a victum of a violent crime. "The next day is never promise to no one."

countyman
20120
Points
countyman 07/23/10 - 12:54 pm
0
0
Seenitb4, countyman is right

Seenitb4, countyman is right here... While homicides increase in July, the 2010 homicide count is still lower than 2000, 2003, 2007, 2008, 2009.

The overall crime rate is still down. June, May, and April total arrest are lower compared to March..... Jan 422, Feb 380, March 462, April 422, May 427, June 432....

baronvonreich
0
Points
baronvonreich 07/23/10 - 02:31 pm
0
0
Mac - when the government

Mac - when the government knows who has the guns, how many they have, and where they are, then this country as we know it will cease to exist.

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