Originally created 06/26/02

Law officials honor retired investigator

Wearing a Regis Philbin suit and shoes without taps for a change, Larry Hendrix watched with tears Tuesday night as lawyers, sheriffs and even Georgia's Supreme Court chief justice spoke in his honor.

"I never expected anything like this," Mr. Hendrix said.

The speakers came to the Julian Smith Barbecue Pit to show their respect for the district attorney's chief investigator, who retired May 31 after 38 years in law enforcement.

"I would trade three fresh, brand-new lawyers for one Larry Hendrix any day," said Sam Sibley Jr., who worked with Mr. Hendrix as Augusta's district attorney from 1981 to 1988.

And the praise continued.

"I don't think you could name anyone more known in this area than Larry," said Columbia County Sheriff Clay Whittle, adding that he enjoyed Mr. Hendrix's kind personality.

"I walked up to him (tonight) and told him you look like Regis Philbin. He just laughed."

Richmond County Sheriff Ronnie Strength said he would always remember Mr. Hendrix's unique presence.

"Larry always wore taps on his shoes - those big ol' horse shoes," he said. "You could hear him tapping through the crime scene."

Mr. Hendrix's legacy proceeded him, Sheriff Strength said.

"I've known Larry for 30 years, but I've heard about him for 35 years," the sheriff said.

Mr. Hendrix worked as an officer for Richmond and Burke counties before becoming the lead investigator for the past five district attorneys.

Danny Craig, the latest of the five, said Mr. Hendrix's hard work helped his office win many cases.

"He's a one of a kind," he said.

Georgia Supreme Court Justice Norman Fletcher, who traveled from Atlanta, gave credit where many said credit was due.

"Danny Craig is a great attorney," he said. "And now I know who made him one."

Reach Preston Sparks at (706) 828-3904.


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