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Widow of late Richmond County Investigator Cecil Ridley files wrongful death lawsuit

Published: Jul. 12, 2020 at 5:31 PM EDT|Updated: Jul. 12, 2020 at 6:44 PM EDT
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AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - The widow of Richmond County Investigator Cecil Ridley, who was killed in the line of duty in November 2019, has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the owners and operators of the gas station where he was shot.

According to the lawsuit filed on July 2, Sharon Ridley is seeking compensation for “the full value of the life of the late Inv. Ridley,” and is looking to “recover damages for pain and suffering, medical expenses, and funeral expenses” on behalf of herself and Investigator Ridley’s six children.

The complaint is filed against Juno & Jaehee Inc., and Circle K Stores, Inc. The lawsuit says Circle K was the owner of the Augusta Mart on Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard at the time of the shooting, and Juno & Jaehee Inc. operated it.

According to the lawsuit, the defendants were aware that the gas station was located in a high crime area, but failed to properly maintain outdoor lighting in and around the gas station.

“If this lighting had been maintained and functional, it would have discouraged criminal activity,” the lawsuit says.

It also claims the defendants did not take definitive action, like having security cameras, to discourage criminal activity on the property, including the sale of drugs.

Alvin Hester Jr. is accused of murdering Investigator Ridley, and informed deputies that he was a part-time employee of the gas station. The lawsuit claims Hester frequented the Augusta Mart to sell drugs, and was referred to as “Bam Bam” by the owner of the gas station, which was an “indication that the owner of the facility knew that Hester carried pistols.”

It also claims the owner of the gas station knew that Hester was a gang member, but still called him, or his friends, to work for him and “did nothing to curtail Hester from using this location for drug sales.”

After Investigator Ridley was shot, the lawsuit says, an employee of the gas station tried to hide evidence (a bag containing guns, money, and drugs that Hester was holding), and another employee possessed Hester’s phone believed to be used for drug deals.

The lawsuit says “based upon information and belief, Hester provided protection for Defendent Juno.”

To view the full lawsuit, see below:

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