10-year review of Houston County homicides a ‘mixed bag’

bpurser@macon.comJanuary 18, 2013 

WARNER ROBINS -- The six homicides recorded in Warner Robins in 2012 were the most in a single year during the past 10-year period.

But the city also had five homicides in 2011 and 2003, according to statistics provided by Warner Robins police. The average from 2003 to 2012 was four homicides.

Meanwhile, two homicides were recorded in unincorporated Houston County in 2012, while Perry and Centerville had none.

Unincorporated Houston County averaged about one a year during the past 10 years, according to statistics from the Houston County Sheriff’s Office. But no homicides were recorded in 2011, 2007, 2006, 2004 and 2003.

The most recorded in the unincorporated areas in a single year during the same time frame were three in 2008 as well as three in 2010.

Perry had only three homicides during the same 10-year period -- including one in 2010, one in 2008 and one in 2003. Centerville had none in the past 10 years. The 2011 case of a woman missing from Centerville and murdered in Bibb County would be reflected in Bibb County homicide statistics.

Houston County sheriff’s Capt. Jon Holland, who heads the investigations division, said he suspects the higher average of homicides in the city is more a factor of population than anything else.

“It’s just population dynamics and having that many people in a small geographic region,” said Holland, a veteran sheriff’s investigator.

Conversely, the unincorporated areas of the county still have quite a bit of agricultural and rural areas -- especially on the south and western sides of the county, Holland noted.

He said most homicides, whether within the cities or in the unincorporated areas of the county, have drugs or domestic issues at their roots.

“We have those oddball type cases -- not a case motivated by drugs or domestic reasons but other reasons,” Holland said. “Some of which never really become clear as to motive.”

Among unusual cases was one investigated by the sheriff’s juvenile division, which handles child abuse and neglect cases. That case involved the 2010 starvation death of a 2-year-old boy. His parents are both serving prison sentences in connection with the child’s death.

Houston County District Attorney George Hartwig said he really doesn’t see any trends within the statistics for the past 10 years.

“I think every year there’s a mixed bag,” Hartwig said. “One or two domestics, a couple drug-related. ... Some related to a robbery or burglary.

“That just varies,” Hartwig said. “There doesn’t seem to be any particular type of trend that I’ve seen.”

To contact writer Becky Purser, call 256-9559.

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