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Three arrests made in fatal Martinez apartment burglary

Posted: March 4, 2012 - 9:17am  |  Updated: March 6, 2012 - 8:51am
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Jose Lopez-Gamero, 21, was arrested in connection with a burglary in Columbia County that occurred Wednesday.  Hand out
Hand out
Jose Lopez-Gamero, 21, was arrested in connection with a burglary in Columbia County that occurred Wednesday.

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Columbia County authorities have arrested three suspected accomplices of Justin Anthony Stephens, who was shot and killed while attempting to burglarize an apartment.

Edward Albert Brown III, 19, Jose Lopez-Gamero, 21, and Leonard Jamal Walton, 18, were arrested Saturday and are being held at Columbia County Detention Center without bond.

Investigators said at about 7:30 p.m. Wednesday Stephens and Walton, both dressed in black and wearing bandanas over their faces, knocked on a Petersburg Square apartment door and forced their way inside.

A sheriff's office report said the men attacked Bruce Randell Barrett, 42, when he answered the door. His 15-year-old son ran into Barrett’s bedroom and retrieved a rifle and fired twice at the intruders.

Stephens was struck both times and was pronounced dead at the scene. He died from a gunshot to his back, said Columbia County Coroner Vernon Collins.

Capt. Steve Morris said Brown was waiting outside and Lopez-Gamero was in a car on the street.

All three men are being charged with burglary. Brown and Walton are also charged with simple battery and Brown has an added charge of criminal attempt to commit a felony, according to the jail’s Web site.

Barrett’s son will not be charged as his actions are considered “justifiable homicide,” said Morris.

Funeral services for Stephens are scheduled for Thursday in Augusta.

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Comments (2)


Good to know sowing and

Good to know sowing and reaping works. Everyone isn't happy when it works but it still works. I wonder if these men were legal or not. If this happened everytime in these situations; these situations would end quickly.


It's sad a life was lost, but

It's sad a life was lost, but nevertheless, it was definitely justifiable. My prayers are with all of the families involved.

What is not justifiable "Soldout," is that every time there is a hispanic surname, NOW "we" as a society have to "wonder if these men were legal or not." Mind you, there were 4, 3 of which are common "American" surnames. Let me reassure you that 1) just because a name is NOT "Smith" or "Williams" does not mean that the person is "illegal" and 2) American Citizens are JUST as guilty of committing crimes as the "illegals." Just look through your own Columbia County Times...the children at the Lakeside Middle, Evans High, and lets not forget the child that was just given life for shooting his "friend." That's just the children... My whole point of this is to advise you, don't be so concerned with who YOU "wonder" is legal or not. People come from other countries, in hopes of better opportunities, not primarily to rob and steal from the "innocent" Americans.