Suspect caught in cellist's slaying

A man considered armed and dangerous whom police had sought for more than a month in the death of an Augusta Symphony cellist was captured Monday afternoon inside a Hephzibah home.

Anthony Gerome Joe Jr., 19, was caught just before 5 p.m. in the 1900 block of Condado Place, off Brown Road. He was wanted on charges of murder and possession of a firearm during the commission of a crime in the death of David Reader, 26, who was found May 11 in his 1998 Toyota Camry with two gunshots to the chest.

Richmond County sheriff's Sgt. Richard Roundtree said Mr. Joe, who had cut his dreadlocks, was captured "without resistance." He said Mr. Joe seemed surprised officers had found him, stating, "I'm the person you are looking for." Sgt. Roundtree said police received a tip that Mr. Joe had been "dropped off" at the home.

Police were interviewing the home's occupants late Tuesday and were evaluating whether they will face charges of harboring a criminal, Sgt. Roundtree said.

According to affidavits used to obtain search warrants, witnesses told detectives the shooting occurred after Mr. Reader paid someone at East Augusta Commons to find him some marijuana. When the person never returned, Mr. Reader left, but he came back about 15 minutes later.

Witnesses told investigators Mr. Reader demanded his money back, and he and Mr. Joe began arguing. It soon turned physical, and Mr. Joe is accused of punching Mr. Reader through the driver's side window.

Tyreese L. Finey, 16, who was arrested last month on murder charges in the case, hit Mr. Reader from the other side of the car, according to court documents.

When a passenger in another vehicle saw what was happening, she yelled at Mr. Joe to stop, then saw him pull a handgun from his pants and fire inside the car, according to the search warrant.

Sgt. Roundtree said authorities provided a reward to assist in Mr. Joe's capture, though he wouldn't give the value.

Mr. Joe has been in trouble with the law before.

According to documents obtained by The Chronicle in a 2004 investigation, Mr. Joe was left alone in December 2001 with 17-month-old Taj'sha Sierra Adams. The infant's aunt and her boyfriend, Anthony Joe Sr., later rushed the baby to the hospital after the child was found gagging in bed, according to a Department of Family and Children Services report. The infant had suffered internal and brain injuries.

The sealed report was released after The Chronicle made an open records request. Because he was 12 at the time, Mr. Joe's case was handled in Richmond County Juvenile Court. Herbert Kernaghan, who presided over the case, refused to let the public or reporters attend any of the proceedings.

The Chronicle broke the news of Mr. Joe's arrest, posting it on our Web site at 4:46 p.m. Tuesday.

Reach Timothy Cox at (706) 823-3217 or tim.cox@augustachronicle.com.