Local murder wave continues with stabbing; woman arrested

Sheila Diane Downs
Sheila Diane Downs(WRDW)
Published: Dec. 1, 2020 at 8:27 AM EST
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AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - A 49-year-old Augusta woman was arrested early today and charged with fatally stabbing a man she shared a home with, according to authorities.

The case is the latest of a string of slayings that’s gripping the CSRA.

Deputies were notified at 10:12 p.m. of the incident, which was described as a domestic dispute at 1941 Greene St., where the victim and suspect both lived.

Arriving deputies found that John Hoard, 51, had been stabbed at least once.

He was taken to Augusta University Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead at 10:44 p.m., according to Richmond County Coroner Mark Bowen.

The suspect, Sheila Diane Downes, 49, was taken into custody at the scene, according to the Richmond County Sheriff’s Office.

She was later booked into the Charles B. Webster Detention Center, where she was being held this morning on charges of murder and possession of a firearm or knife during commission of a crime (family violence), according to jail records.

An autopsy of Hoard is scheduled with the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, according to Bowen.

Part of a pattern

The death was the latest in a deadly wave of local violent crimes, although the other cases have been shootings.

At least nine local shootings in the past 11 days have claimed seven lives and injured 21 people.

The crimes span from Barnwell, where a 77-year-old woman was killed in a drive-by shooting, to Richmond County, where there have been several slayings, including those of two men in a barber shop. And in between, Aiken has been hit hard by a nightclub shooting that killed one man and injured more than a dozen on Saturday and the shooting death of a man at an apartment complex several hours later.

There have also been nonfatal shootings, including one that injured a man in the foot Monday and even accidental ones, like what happened when a 14-year-old boy was playing with a gun.

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