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Martinez teen fatally wounds Grovetown teen during home invasion

Second burglar still being sought

Posted: February 29, 2012 - 10:44pm  |  Updated: March 1, 2012 - 1:32pm
One man was shot and killed by a renter's son during a home invasion Wednesday night at an apartment at Petersburg Square in Martinez. Another suspect is being sought.  Barry Paschal
Barry Paschal
One man was shot and killed by a renter's son during a home invasion Wednesday night at an apartment at Petersburg Square in Martinez. Another suspect is being sought.

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For the second time this week, an armed Columbia County resident has stopped a burglary - this time, with fatal results for the would-be burglar.

Justin Anthony Stephens, 19, of Grovetown, was killed Wednesday night after breaking into a Martinez apartment, where the renter's son shot him with a .22-caliber rifle, according to the Columbia County Sheriff's Office.

Stephens and an unidentified accomplice knocked on the door of Bruce Barrett's Petersburg Square apartment at about 7:30 p.m., sheriff's Capt. Steve Morris said. When Barrett cracked the door, the two men dressed in black wearing bandanas over their faces forced their way inside and struggled with Barrett and his 15-year-old son.

"The 15-year-old broke free, retrieved his father's .22-caliber rifle and fired at least two shots," Morris said, adding that Stephens was shot in the back.

Stephens was found on the ground just outside the apartment, Columbia County Coroner Vernon Collins said. He was pronounced dead at the scene. Morris said Stephens doesn't have a Columbia County criminal history.

A Thursday autopsy performed at the Georgia Bureau of Investigation Crime Lab in Augusta determined that Stephens died from a gunshot to his back, in which the bullet lodged in his chest. He also was shot a second time in the left arm, Collins said.

"His actions are to be commended," Morris said of the teen.

The teen will not be charged as his actions are considered "justifiable homicide," Morris said.
Barrett is a bus driver for the Columbia County school system and his wife, Kathleen, was home at the time of the incident.

Stephens' accomplice ran away. Authorities set up a perimeter, but never located the second burglar described as a short black male wearing all black and a bandana on his face.

"We activated the communicator (Columbia County Emergency Notification System) for that area alerting residents as to what just occurred," Morris said.

Land lines are automatically included in the system that sends voice or email messages in a crisis. Residents can register their cell phone or email address by visiting the sheriff's office Web site at www.columbiacountyso.org.

On Monday morning, a Harlem resident confronted a suspicious man attempting to break into his neighbor's home and held him until deputies arrived. Two people have been charged in that incident.


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Comments (7)


Gun Control

In both cases law abiding citizens were defending themselves or their property. Gun control activists would have rather seen the family either leave their home, or worse yet been a causality themselves. Georgia Castle Doctrine which gives every legal citizen the right to carry a weapon on their property and to protect that property without having to retreat.

Iowa is trying to pass basically the same law and the Democrats say that law will turn their state into the Wild Wild West. Fifteen states have this type of law and none of those have turned into the Wild West. American citizen are tired of the inmates running the asylum. When you break into someones house or try to remove a peice of property that does not belong to you. Just ask yourself is my life worth this tv or computer. To the owner of that property your life is worth about $.35 the cost of the bullet.


It 'was a great Post! I just

It 'was a great Post! I just want to say thanks for the information you shared. Continue to write this.


Way to go

I am a firm believer that each of us has the right to defend our homes and our families. No one had better ever try to tell me that I cannot have that right! I would not think twice about killing anyone who entered into my home uninvited to hurt my loved ones or steal something that I have worked hard to pay for. These criminals better wake up and realize that folks are feed up! Take Back America........

Little Lamb


7:30 p.m. is a strange time to be breaking and entering.



I was thinking the same thing, they were bold to enter a home at that time of the evening when people are most likely still awake. Criminals don't think though.


Excellent job protecting his family

That young man should hold his head up high. He protected his family exceptionally well.


Gun Control

Its not just the Castle, it is the stand your ground law that helps citizens not hesitate to protect themselves and/or property. Some states have a Castle law that is weaker and only applies if inside your residence, stand your ground expands it to property and other dwellings in certain situations.