'Disarray' at officer's home detailed

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A tape-recorded interview with serial killer Reinaldo Rivera and a 911 call recording from one of his victims were among the police documents and evidence a Richmond County sheriff's investigator left behind when he moved out of an apartment earlier this year.

The discovery of those items, several "cold case" murder files, SWAT gear, a personal gun and ammunition led to last month's demotion and suspension of former Sgt. Richard Roundtree, one of the county's most effective and high-profile investigators.

Prosecutors have said they have so far found no indication the lost evidence compromised any criminal cases.

Sheriff's officials revealed details of the evidence Friday after a Freedom of Information request from The Augusta Chronicle . Discovered by the new owners of the apartment in July were boxes containing materials related to investigations into murders from 1986 to 2003.

Among them were the original files of several well-publicized deaths, including the unsolved cases of 18-year-old Natalie Clark and 9-year-old Tiffany Hawes.

Investigator Roundtree, now working in the property crimes division, would not discuss the cases Friday and referred all comment to Sheriff Ronnie Strength. The sheriff did not immediately respond to a Friday afternoon phone call.

The sheriff's office previously said two closed case files were left in the Telfair Street apartment also. Those included the shooting death of 57-year-old grandmother Margaret Ann King, who was killed during a robbery in 2003 at the Central Avenue gas station where she worked.

The other involved the fatal shooting of Chris Michael Price in 1996.

Also found was SWAT gear, including a partial case of .40-caliber ammunition, one F-18 handheld smoke grenade and one 37 mm barricade penetrating gas round. A personal rifle was also found.

A search of Investigator Roundtree's office after the initial violations were discovered revealed several files in "states of disarray" and documents strewn about.

"The search also revealed that several original documents, such as search warrants, waiver of counsel forms and original property receipts, were scattered loosely about the office, either not with their original files or not returned as they should have been," Lt. Scott Peebles wrote in a disciplinary action form. "There were also original audio and video files which had not been turned in as they should have been."

Investigator Roundtree returned from extended training at the FBI Academy in Quantico, Va., last month to face a disciplinary review board Sept. 15. He was cited for failing to care for county property and unsatisfactory performance.

According to records obtained by The Chronicle , it was the seventh time he received disciplinary action from the department.

Since 1996, Investigator Roundtree has received 16 days of suspension and two written warnings, according to his personnel file.

Reach Adam Folk at (706) 823-3339 or adam.folk@augustachronicle.com.

CASE FILES FOUND

Five "cold case" files and two closed case files were found in Investigator Richard Roundtree's apartment in July. Victims in the "cold cases" include:

JULIAN HAWES JR., 64, of 1862 Gordon Highway -- Mr. Hawes' daughter and granddaughter found his body in the living room Aug. 27, 1993. He had been shot and bled to death while making his way to the family room.

NATALIE CLARK, 18, of 4686 Fulcher Road -- Ms. Clark, an Augusta State University student and former Augusta Chronicle teen board writer, was suffocated in the backyard of her Hephzibah home. She was found dead in October 2003.

TIFFANY ELIZABETH NELSON, 9, of 2308 Getzen Drive -- Tiffany went missing June 6, 1994 while filling her bicycle tires at the Amoco gas station at Lumpkin and Richmond Hill roads. Her bones were discovered May 16, 2005, off Farmers Bridge Road in Burke County.

PAULINE MCCOY, 87, of 2030 Golden Rod Street -- Ms. McCoy was found stabbed to death at her home after neighbors became worried when she didn't attend church. She had been stabbed multiple times with a large knife Dec. 21, 1986.

BOISE EUGENE HANKERSON JR., 20, of 1546 Wooten Road -- Mr. Hankerson was shot dead as he pulled into a Citgo station at Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard and 15th Street on Dec. 6, 1998.

Source: Sheriff's records and Augusta Chronicle archives.

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Riverman1
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Riverman1 10/05/08 - 04:42 am
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He also took the prostitute

He also took the prostitute being held as an accessory to murder out of jail for hours at a time on weekends for unsupervised time together privately. Letters that she had written him were also found in the apartment. Follow her case closely for appeals and any involvement by him. By taking original files he had the power to misplace or alter evidence. That gave him control over who went to jail and for what. Many victims did not have their cases investigated adequately because of him.

patriciathomas
42
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patriciathomas 10/05/08 - 04:56 am
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This article makes it seem

This article makes it seem Investigator Rountree had a very cavalier attitude toward work place rules and their application to him. That seems like a potentially dangerous point of view, especially for a man in his former position. I wonder if his 15 other disciplinary actions were related to this apparent attitude.

Riverman1
94426
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Riverman1 10/05/08 - 05:18 am
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The Officer Wesley Powell

The Officer Wesley Powell incident revealed he had other disciplinary problems in the past, also. What's the deal with giving officers multiple breaks? I can see one mistake, but multiple ones show a pattern.

foxyloxy
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foxyloxy 10/05/08 - 07:16 am
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Disgusta politics as usual.

Disgusta politics as usual. Roundtree should be fired period. I really feel the most for those victims though. How sad our police department is becoming...

PeepThis
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PeepThis 10/05/08 - 07:28 am
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If he was of another race,

If he was of another race, this would not have seen the light of day.

onehotdog
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onehotdog 10/05/08 - 07:30 am
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I guess when your good at

I guess when your good at your job, you can get away with minor things like this.

BakersfieldCityLimits
1
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BakersfieldCityLimits 10/05/08 - 07:58 am
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How about the hotel breaks he

How about the hotel breaks he took with the other deputies on his shift? Anyone who knows the real story want to let us it on it. There were other officers that took the blame for that one. What about taking a plea instead of the death penalty????

426Hemi
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426Hemi 10/05/08 - 08:02 am
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Peepthis; POP this!

Peepthis; POP this!

aaa
2
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aaa 10/05/08 - 08:09 am
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Maybe he just watched a few

Maybe he just watched a few too many DIrty Harry movies.

Truth Be Told In Bold
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Truth Be Told In Bold 10/05/08 - 08:12 am
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We are known for those who

We are known for those who keep charge over us. We are also known for those who reign over those who keep charge over us. I am sorry for the officers who have to wear a black eye because of the actions of this one and others who disgrace the badge and those they are charged to protect and serve.

XY
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XY 10/05/08 - 08:20 am
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Miss Thomas, I take it from

Miss Thomas, I take it from you comment that everything you read in the chronicle is the gospel. First it never said that he was disciplined 15 times but i guess if you wrote it it must be true. Why won't you talk about the the hundreds of cases he has solved or the community programs he is involved in. Ask yourself is he was such a bad an employee, why would the Sheriff's Office send him to the FBI Academy which is reserved for the top 1-2 percent of the law enforcement officers in the world not the nation the world.

christian134
1
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christian134 10/05/08 - 08:25 am
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And this man is not

And this man is not terminated for abuse of job responsibilities Why?

XY
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XY 10/05/08 - 08:55 am
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And how is this still news,

And how is this still news, there is no new information and nothing has been said that has not been said before. it seems that some people only want to read about the negative and if i am not mistaken, wasn't that Investigator Roundtree on 26 news last night teaching a class and representing the Sheriff's Office. The man made a mistake several if you insist, but he was punished for them and life goes on.

karmakills123
8
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karmakills123 10/05/08 - 09:15 am
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IF I was a person with an

IF I was a person with an active imagination and watched a lot of ""cop shows" I would say that this guy's behavior is not unlike one who leads a secret or double life.........you know good cop on the surface and REALLY bad cop underneath...Perhaps he had a vested interest in those "cold cases"..... Of course I do not have an active imagination and I hate cop shows so I guess he is just a lazy messy cop?

mommy22girls
0
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mommy22girls 10/05/08 - 09:18 am
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So he just "forgot" these

So he just "forgot" these items in an old apartment after moving??

jayman
4
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jayman 10/05/08 - 09:52 am
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I am not a fan of Roundtree,

I am not a fan of Roundtree, and I have worked with him before, but this sound like it was a set-up. After the saying that he (Roundtree) might be running for sheriff, now all of a sudden, all of this information come up. How manny time have a person moved from one place to another, and I know that when you move, you walk through the house or apartment several time before you leave. Now do you think that a person with his knowledge would just walk out and leave that kind of stuff just laying around. I don't so. The sheriff office has the person already in line to run for sheriff, and I don't think it is Roundtree.Like I said, I am not a fan of Roundtree, and I have worked with him, but something is just not right.

mommy22girls
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mommy22girls 10/05/08 - 09:56 am
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I agree Jayman, how do you

I agree Jayman, how do you just accidentally leave this stuff behind? If I am not mistaken, most landlords do a walk through before you get a deposit back and if he owned the house wouldn't he have done a walk through with potential buyers or renters?...Strange...

bone
23
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bone 10/05/08 - 10:04 am
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he has always been a shady

he has always been a shady character, peep, regardless of his race. glad he finally got caught. i'm sure there's enough conspiracy-theory skepticism to keep him from going down in flames.

TakeAstand
13
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TakeAstand 10/05/08 - 10:54 am
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Not all landlords do

Not all landlords do walkthroughs when or as they should. And I have seen people even leave their kids baby books and pictures behind... just one box full. What mother would do that? It's not intentional, everyone makes mistakes, and I have seen many people leave lots of things behind. Maybe it was thier last trip and they got distracted, then the landlord put off the walkthrough or signed off early before they moved becuase they were an excellent tenant, and the workers come in to clean up and viola. They find the stuff. Usually we try to contact the last tenant when its obvious its not just trash they left behind but something important. I seen a miliatry guy leave all his medals, certificates family photos etc... Things happen. I don't doubt Roundtree left it. Doesn't sound like a set up to me. And he should be disciplined properly as this was not a little thing. I'd say demotion is very appropriate for this type of irresponsibility. Doesn't mean hes a bad guy or cop, he just acted irresponsibly and it can't be overlooked!! =)

HYPOCRITES 08
7
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HYPOCRITES 08 10/05/08 - 01:41 pm
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The reason he was not

The reason he was not terminated because he was not supervised by judgemental people. There is more to this case than what is printed in the Chronicle. I know many of the Investigators that works for RCSD and GBI. Almost all to a man said that one time or another that they have taken files home to work on them. As far as the person from the jail is concerned. IMHO it was poor judgement on his part. However this was looked into and as far as I remember, no wrong doing was found on his part.

foxyloxy
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foxyloxy 10/05/08 - 01:42 pm
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C.S. Journal reports

C.S. Journal reports Augusta's crime rate is among the highest in the nation. In fact, the latest Federal crime figures show that while the overall crime rate for similar-sized cities dropped 1 percent in the first half of 2007. the rate in Augusta rose 9 percent. The Richmond County Sheriffs Department is also plagued by complaints that officers simply do not respond to hundreds of calls for help each year. "It is not a question of alienation between the police and the city," an officer commented who wished to remain anonymous said. "It is that the police are not there, or they take way too much time to respond." "It often takes hours for them to come out for gunshots, shootings and robberies," the officer said. "There are hundreds of incidents of this." Several high-ranking officials, who spoke on the condition that they not be identified, say that poor management has had a direct impact on police performance. They also blame local politics, faulty record keeping and departmental procedures geared towards promoting affirmative action. According to these sources it has left many in the department feeling powerless to do anything.

mable8
2
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mable8 10/05/08 - 02:06 pm
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Disciplinary action is very

Disciplinary action is very serious; how many "disciplinary actions" must take place before one is terminated from one's job? Apparently, in Augusta-Richmond County, this can be indefinite and one's job is never in jeopardy! He needs to be fired--like on the day this came to the attention of Ronnie Strength.

halffull
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halffull 10/05/08 - 03:25 pm
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If we want to talk about

If we want to talk about patterns it seems the sheriffs dept. has a problem. The chronicle just has its picks about what they want us to know. Did I hear 26 talk about a deputy resigning last week for conversation unbecoming of a human, where is the chronicle? Did the dude (deputy) that was in the Apple Valley confusion turn around and get in trouble for stealing a patrol car doing wheelies for fun. What da h_ _ _ ?

foxyloxy
0
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foxyloxy 10/05/08 - 03:32 pm
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Could not have said it better

Could not have said it better halfull. The RCSD is run by good ole' boys and Uncle Toms no doubt. Read my earlier post I found from the CS Journal that should really turn some stomachs!

blaqbird07
4
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blaqbird07 10/05/08 - 04:18 pm
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I sat here reading these post

I sat here reading these post but now I have had enough. You are a bunch of clueless people. Disciplinary Action at the S.O can be for something as simple as NOT GOING TO COURT, NOT WEARING YOUR HAT ON A CALL, or an accident. Why is it that when a man is down EVERYONE decides to kick at him? Then this post about officers NOT doing the job? PLEASE! Pay attention to the crime rate in Augusta. Look at what is going on in the street. Then go to the County Website and look at a Deputy's starting pay. You want it, Pay for it!

Waymore
114
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Waymore 10/05/08 - 04:25 pm
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If Roundtree is being set up,

If Roundtree is being set up, or something more sinister is at play here, as several have alluded to, why isn't Roundtree speaking up? Could he have been behind on his rent and an eviction took place while he was gone to Quantico? Maybe an eviction was getting ready to take place and the items were found and authorities notified? Again, if Roundtree is a victim, why isn't he speaking up?

TakeAstand
13
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TakeAstand 10/05/08 - 04:37 pm
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Exactly waymore!!!!!!!

Exactly waymore!!!!!!!

BakersfieldCityLimits
1
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BakersfieldCityLimits 10/05/08 - 04:49 pm
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Waymore, you have been an

Waymore, you have been an apologist for Roundtree for sometime, thats well known. Man up and tell me ( us ) about the breaks that were held in the hotel on duty, and who atteneded? Where is K.C.? Why did K.C. have to leave and Roundtree get moved to investigations?

Waymore
114
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Waymore 10/05/08 - 04:57 pm
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Go back and reread my posts

Go back and reread my posts about Roundtree D1216. I never had a problem with Roundtree, but that doesn't dismiss the notion that he screwed up. I am dismissing the notion that he is being set up. I guess the hawks aren't real good at reading comprehension, no? I am completely familiar with the shenanigans. If I remember correctly, anyone who discussed the situation would get fired. Everyone who is complaining that Roundtree is being persecuted because of race needs to go back and look at the history.

sharpshooter
0
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sharpshooter 10/05/08 - 05:13 pm
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The story and the above

The story and the above opinions clash too much, he's either a dumb butt or crooked, for Augusta that's common. He still has his job after what is proven, is bad enough. So guilt on the hotel reports should be decided by a grand jury. Police suspect citizen, and their rights are abused. Police is suspect, they get written up for 15 days.

It is that simple, the legal system is so corrupt around the world but Augusta has a larger and bolder percentage.

Rename the city to Boulderdusta.

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