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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
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:


*Monthly totals do not include 2010 figures

Richmond County homicides by year since 2000:


*To date

Source: Richmond County Sheriff's Office, Chronicle database

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peepanson 07/23/10 - 03:04 pm
When will we come to the

When will we come to the conclusion that God and Jesus is completely in
control of Us, Ourlives, and this entire world? And that we are'nt going to do anymore than they intend for us to do. God's Holy word Reminds Me,
that once apointed a man to Live, He must Die, and After Death, JudgeM
ent. Sin, Murder, Killing and Hatred, has been in the World, Long Before W
e Were Born. Am I to Think that the Order and Will of God is going to Cha
nge now, in 2010? God Warned Me that the Love of Man Shall Wax Cold.
Im Certain that I am Facing that Order in God's Plan and Will, this Very M
oment?I try to Thank and Praise God and Jesus for Every Precious and W
onderful Moment that I Have Left to Serve, Honor and Please Them. I Kn
ow that Im not here to Live a Trouble Free Life? And that Im going to be
faced with ups and downs, just like with anything else that God brings me
through in this world. Im not in anyway saying that what we do and say,
should be overlooked or Accepted for anything else than what our Action
s is meant to be at that moment? Im trying to point out that there is a Ju
dge that is far Greater, Fairer, and Wiser than We could Ever Hope to Be.
God said that His way's are not like ourway's, and His Thoughts is not lik
e our Thoughts. Im Minister. John Walton. Augu
sta Georgia 30901-2744. The United States Of America. 07-23-2010 @
03;16PM. It's Wonderful that I have the oppurtunity to voice my feelings
and Thoughts in a positive and Respectful way. Im Thankful that We have
the many Humane Rights that We have Truly been Blessed with. And I wo
uld like to Thank the Residents of the CSRA, and other surounding Counti
es, and Communities. As well as the Augusta Chronicle. Its a Blessing to me in knowing that God is so good, not just now, but alway's.

peepanson 07/23/10 - 04:09 pm
I would like to Share this

I would like to Share this about the Love and Care of Man towards His Fe
llowman has waed cold. I was watching Divorce court this morning, and the sister who was Divorcing Her Husband. Had another sister who had sl
ept with Him, and had a baby with Him, when the Truth got ready to com
e out. The Husband lied like His wife's mother asked Him to take care of
His wife's sister baby, before their mother died? Bottom line, the Brother
and Sister Inlaw was planning on getting married after the other sisters Di
vorce. On Judge Judy, a Lady thought that She was smart enought to us
e this man as a sugar Daddy. In the end, she losted Her Lexus, that she t
hought that she was going to get back, along with a $ 1000.00. And an
Apartment for Her and Her Child to Live in. She got much less than she th
ought that she was intittled to. It's True that the Love and Care that we s
hould have for ourselves and our fellowman, is starting to turn very cold.
And theres very little that it seems like we are trying to do about it? WE C
AN Attempt to put the fault of our shortcommings on others, and the De
vil all we want. But the fingers are pointed at us, because we have to give
an account for ourown actions. Miss. Keeton is suing Augusta State Univ
ersity, cocerning the issues about Gender Identity, and Gayism, I read th
e article. But I dont know whether or not, to aplaud Her for the stand tha
t she is taking about Her Belief? I don't know if She's in Favor of the subj
ects, or against them? But I do know that the battle of Transgender, and
Transsexualism is very real, and that it's being dealt with all around the w
orld? There are millions of people not born in the right body, for one reas
on or another, and theres very little that many of them could do about it.
And its sad if Miss. Keeton feel that shes not going to come in contact wit
h these people? How can people and socalled Christians think that they ar
e taking a powerful and much needed step against Lesbianism and Homo
sexuality. When the practice is going on wide open in our Jails, prisons, Youth Development Centers, Churches, Schools, Jobs, and Homes. We
need to clean around ourown doorsteps, before we can try to tell others
about theres? Im Minister. John Walton, Augus
ta Georgia, 30901-2744. The United States Of America. 07-23-2010 @
04;10PM. Why would a person want to work with people who may have
Gender Issues, and think that they could deal with these situations on a
Spiritual Level only? This problem or Livingstyle is'nt going to giveup and f
ade away. And it's more people caught into it, than perhaps the people of
this world may Care to Know?

ishouldknowbetter 07/23/10 - 09:06 pm
Umm, peepanson... what?

Umm, peepanson... what?

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