Originally created 01/22/03

Black slayings lead homicide data

Black-on-black crime accounted for nearly half of last year's homicides in Richmond County, and black men continue to make up the majority of slaying victims, authorities said.

In fact, 10 of the 15 people killed last year were black men - 67 percent of the cases.

Sheriff's Maj. Ken Autry, the head of the violent crime division, counted the numbers last week from his book of homicides, which he updates with each slaying.

"That's probably a trend you would see in a majority of our years," he said.

He's right.

Black men made up nearly half of those killed in 2001 and 2000. The figures were 64 percent in 1999 and 65 percent in 1998.

In the only unsolved case of 2002, police say 27-year-old Aldreco Oneal Booker was found dead of a gunshot wound Dec. 14 in his home at Providence Place Apartments - another black man killed in an apparently drug-related case, Maj. Autry said.

"We have what I would call promising leads," the major said.

Barbara Thurmond, the president of Augusta-based Blacks Against Black Crime Inc., said the killings are the reason her organization continues its education campaign.

"What other group of people would have their people lead the homicide list every year and not address it?" she asked. "When I see 10 out of 15, that has an impact on me."

While the numbers show that a high number of slaying victims are black men, there are actually fewer beingkilled each year in Richmond County. In 1998, 21 blacks - 17 of them men - were homicide victims. Last year, that number was cut in half.

Ms. Thurmond, who remembers years with more than 60 slayings, most of them of blacks, said she believes her group deserves much of the credit for the drop in black homicides.

"Whatever we're doing, we are doing effectively," Ms. Thurmond said. "Of course, to those families who lost a loved one, that decrease doesn't mean anything.

"But we are raising awareness of gun violence, working on stricter gun laws and educating the public. It has made our community safer."


Based on police records, these are the homicides in Richmond County in 2002, listed by date of death. The victim's race is in parentheses.

APRIL 11: Gary Collins (black), 46, of Evans, was shot twice and robbed in a Jefferson Street duplex. His body was found two days later. Police say he went there to collect a drug debt. James W. Looper and Kenneth Pruitt were arrested April 13 in Midville in connection with the kidnapping and rape of an Augusta woman. She said she had gone with Mr. Collins to the home, witnessed the killing and was kidnapped for two days before she escaped.

APRIL 18: The body of Marty Thomas Gibson (white), 48, was found floating in Lake Olmstead. Gary Payne, 27, and Air Force Staff Sgt. John C. Kuykendall, 23, were charged with murder. Prosecutors said they believed the pair dragged the victim down an embankment and threw him into the lake, where he drowned.

APRIL 21: Anthony Campbell Jr. (black), 26, was shot in his Harford Street home and died a half-hour later at the hospital. Police said Rufus Owens, 27, shot him because Mr. Campbell left his girlfriend's sick daughter at Mr. Owens' home the day after a slumber party.

APRIL 22: The body of 16-year-old Stephanie Nicole Burnett (white) was found by her brother next to their home on Peach Orchard Road. Police arrested ex-boyfriend Matthew J. Wiedeman, 16, and his friend Raymond A. Soto, 17. Investigators said the girl was beaten with a steel dumbbell and stabbed repeatedly because Mr. Wiedeman thought she was pregnant and didn't want her to have the baby. He pleaded guilty in December and was sentenced to life in prison.

MAY 4: Johnny Henderson (black), 42, of Wylds Court, was stabbed in the left shoulder with a butcher knife and bled to death in his home. Police charged his roommate, Kirby Deon Roland, 19.

MAY 30: Henry L. Murray III (black), 22, was shot twice outside Mom & Pop's Convenience Store on Broad Street. Police said the shooting followed a fistfight with Deon M. Johnson, 22. Mr. Johnson pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter in December and received a five-year prison sentence.

JUNE 13: The bodies of Betty Lou Abraham (black) and Thomas Abraham, both 71, were found in their home on East Taylor Street in an apparent murder-suicide. Police said they believed Mr. Abraham shot his wife in the chest and then shot himself in the mouth. He had terminal cancer.

JULY 14: Alvin L. Cummings (black), 56, who was shot in the back March 16 at a 12th Street boarding house, died at Medical College of Georgia Hospital. Prosecutors upgraded charges to murder against Bernard Starks Sr., 52, but accepted a plea deal Jan. 8 for aggravated assault. A judge ordered a 10-year prison sentence.

JULY 30: Carlton Lamb Jr. (black), 34, was fatally shot in a drug-related disagreement at Golden Rod Street and Aragon Drive. Suspect Robert S. McNeal, 40, of Clearwater, was also shot but survived. Police said it was a drug deal gone bad.

AUG. 11: Marcus D. Taylor (black), 28, was shot to death in front of customers outside a Citgo gas station at 15th Street and Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard. Police charged Lorenzo D. Lindsey, 23; William R. Abrams, 24; John V. Lawton Jr., 33; and Charles Hankerson, 48. Police said Mr. Lawton was the suspected shooter, and Mr. Lindsey was accused of hiring him to kill Mr. Taylor. The victim's father said his son had testified against Mr. Lindsey in a murder case.

SEPT. 6: James Henry Williams (white), 38, was shot in the head at his Ramblewood Apartments home on Center West Parkway during what police said was a drug-related robbery. The disabled Navy veteran bled to death at his doorstep. Police charged Chris E. Evans, 22, and Richard A. Gonnella, 24.

OCT. 18: Wanda Graham (white), 45, of Lace Road, Hephzibah, was strangled and beaten to death. Police said her live-in boyfriend, John D. Cobb, 39, called 911 and confessed to strangling her after a fight.

NOV. 3: Daniel Samilpa (black), 47, died two weeks after he was stabbed in the abdomen, chest and neck on Telfair Street. Roommate Jesse Black was charged. Before his death, Mr. Samilpa told police he was stabbed by Mr. Black because he was sleeping with the man's wife, who lived with both men in a Greene Street apartment.

NOV. 29: Thomas Dyson Jr. (black), 31, was shot twice in the chest in the parking lot at Wesley Arms Apartments. Jacobey Q. Hood, 21, walked up to investigators at the complex and surrendered. Police said the shooting followed an argument.

DEC. 14: Aldreco O. Booker (black), 27, was found shot in the chest at 2:30 a.m. at his apartment on Southgate Drive. He died at the scene an hour later. The front door of the apartment had been kicked in, and police found signs of a struggle. The case remains unsolved, but police said it is believed to be drug-related.

Reach Greg Rickabaugh at (706) 828-3851 or greg.rickabaugh@augustachronicle.com.


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