Ex-investigator sentenced for forgery

A former Columbia County sheriff’s investigator accused of forging victims’ names on official documents pleaded guilty and was sentenced to probation at a sentencing hearing this afternoon.

Former Property Crimes Investigator Brooke Renai Kelly, 35, pleaded guilty to violating the oath of a police officer and three counts of forgery. Superior Court Judge Michael Annis sentenced Ms. Kelly to seven years probation under the First Offender Act, $5,000 in fines and 200 hours of community service.

“You were someone in a public trust position,” Judge Annis said. “You violated that trust. That is the worst part.”

Ms. Kelly, who also is a former investigator for the Richmond County Sheriff’s Office and the U.S. Army, was arrested in October after a victim claimed her case was incorrectly closed and her name was forged on a waiver of prosecution form.

“She cut corners. It is as simple as that,” Ms. Kelly’s attorney, Richard Goolsby Sr., said as an explanation of her actions.

During an internal investigation, police discovered Ms. Kelly forged victims’ names on forms in nine cases. Most of the victims in those cases received a call from Ms. Kelly and wanted their cases closed, Columbia County sheriff’s Capt. Steve Morris has said. At least one victim wanted the sheriff’s office to proceed with investigation and prosecution of the case.

“I would take it back if I could,” Ms. Kelly said at the hearing. “I am so sorry.”

Ms. Kelly was terminated from the sheriff’s office following her arrest.

Reach Valerie Rowell at (706) 868-1222, ext. 110 or

valerie.rowell@augu

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