WARNER ROBINS — The GBI agreed to look into an Oct. 7 incident in which the Warner Robins city clerk and another employee are accused of attempting to gain access into the mayor’s office, authorities said.
Houston County District Attorney Kelly Burke said Tuesday that he asked the GBI to assist by taking over the investigation after it became clear his office, which has two investigators, would not be able to handle all the interviews the investigation will require in a timely manner.
City Clerk Stan Martin and Chris Armstrong, an information technology employee, were placed on administrative leave with pay while the incident is being investigated, Burke said.
Craig Rotter, assistant special agent in charge of the GBI office in Perry, said the GBI received the DA’s request and agreed to investigate. Once the GBI has completed its investigation, the information gathered will be reviewed by the DA’s staff with the GBI’s input, Burke said
“It could be a mountain out of a molehill, or it could be a mountain,” Burke said of the incident. “Certainly, there is suspicious conduct.”
Martin maintained Tuesday that he did absolutely nothing wrong. Armstrong was not reached for comment.
Martin and Armstrong are accused of attempting to gain access into the mayor’s office through the ceiling tiles from a connecting office at 5:20 p.m. Oct. 7, Burke said. They didn’t enter the office, Burke said.
The locks on the mayor’s office were changed after the Sept. 28 death of Mayor Donald Walker.
The mayor’s office was in the process of being cleaned out, and the only item that had not been touched was the mayor’s computer, Burke said.
Although City Hall was closed, custodial and maintenance staff were on site, and Martin and Armstrong were allegedly seen with a flashlight and a ladder, Burke said.
Walker’s computer was “taken into custody” for “an abundance of caution” and was stored at the Houston County Courthouse, Burke said.
Burke said he was asked to remove the computer by Mayor John Havrilla, who asked Burke to investigate the alleged incident and desired an impartial investigation.
If any criminal actions are determined through the investigation to have taken place, Burke said he would pursue charges through a grand jury. Whether any disciplinary action may be warranted would be up to Havrilla and city council, he said.
Burke has declined to reveal what Martin and Armstrong may have said in response to questions about the alleged incident.