Houston prosecutor to handle beating death case

The Feb. 2 beating death of a Bibb County man outside a nightclub is being prosecuted by a Houston County assistant district attorney because of a conflict of interest, officials said Thursday.

Robert Saxby, 31, died following a fight outside Polly’s Mirage on Jeffersonville Road. Nine people are accused of murder in connection with his death.

Bibb County District Attorney Howard Simms wrote the state attorney general this summer to ask that a special prosecutor be appointed to the case.

India Balkcom, 31; William Andrew Balkcom, 29; and Gilbert Balkcom, 30, are the niece and nephews of an employee in the district attorney’s office, according to the letter.

The three Balkcoms are charged along with six other people with murder in connection with Saxby’s death.

Houston County District Attorney Kelly Burke said prosecutor George Hartwig is assigned to the case, but the proceedings will continue to be held in Bibb County.

Hartwig did not return phone messages left at his office Thursday.

Saxby’s family describes him as a loving family man who worked two nursing jobs to pay his way through physical therapy school.

“After working the graveyard shift, he would go to church with his scrubs on,” his sister Tarica Saxby Garry said.

Betty Saxby said she’s hardly had a chance to begin mourning her son because of the judicial process — a process in which she’s lost faith.

She said her family has not been notified of all of the hearings related to the case. When India Balkcom was released on $55,200 bond Wednesday, the family didn’t get a phone call. They found out by checking online jail records.

“I have no faith in the system,” Betty Saxby said.

Robert Saxby’s wife, Sherreco Saxby, said she’s apprehensive when she leaves home because she doesn’t know if the people accused of killing her husband have been released from jail.

Garry said witnesses also are concerned.

Betty Saxby said she made her son a promise after his death that she would fight and make sure he wouldn’t be pushed aside.

“I’m leaning on the Lord,” she said. “I have no strength of my own.”

It really gets to her when her 8-year-old grandson points at his father’s picture.

“He’ll say, ‘I miss my dad,’” she said.

Betty Saxby described her son as a sports lover who attended Gordon College on a soccer scholarship after graduating from Northeast High School near the top of his class.

He then joined the U.S. Army where he went to nursing school. When he died, Saxby was working at a dialysis clinic and a nursing home while going to school to become a physical therapist, she said.

Saxby said her son never got into trouble. Sherreco Saxby said she doesn’t understand why someone would attack her husband.

Robert Saxby’s friend, 31-year-old Lorenzo Davis, told deputies the fight started inside the club. Davis was struck with what he described as “brass knuckles” after he tried to pull one of the people off Saxby, according to a Bibb County Sheriff’s Office report.

At some point, Davis went outside and the group followed him to his car where he retrieved a .38-caliber revolver and fired once into the air, according to the report.

Deputies found Saxby lying beside Davis’ car in the parking lot and attempted to perform CPR. Emergency workers were unable to revive Saxby, according to the report.

William Balkcom, of Hall Street, and Gilbert Balkcom, of Fairview Avenue, are being held at the Bibb County jail on $55,200 bond. Ralphel Adams, 32, of Forest Hill Road, is being held on $55,200 bond, according to jail records. Joe Celery Polk III, 22, of Fort Hill Street, is being held on $55,000 bond, according to jail records.

Maurice Adams, 24, of Oglethorpe Lane; Jonathan Cole, 27, of Fairview Avenue; Felesha Iverson, 31, of Jones Avenue; and Orin Threatt, 29, of Oglethorpe Street, are being held without bond, according to jail records.

Information from The Telegraph’s archives was included in this report. To contact writer Amy Leigh Womack, call 744-4398.