Hawthorne Homicide Investigation

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Update: Police Chief Ken Burton talked a little bit about the Old Hawthorne homicide at the Citizens Police Review Board meeting Wednesday night at Columbia's City Hall. A board member who lives nearby and asked the chief about the incident.

"It's one of those things that if we could get rid of drugs and gang affiliation and things like that, and people behave a little bit better we wouldn't have them at all," Burton said, referring to home invasions. 

Police said Wednesday the Old Hawthorne homicide involved a home invasion and drug use. Investigators believe the suspects targeted and forced their way into the victim's home.

Police are asking neighbors in Old Hawthorne to contact them if they have any home security video or information of suspicious vehicles or people in the area around the time of the homicide.

Original Story:

COLUMBIA - The man found dead at an Old Hawthorne home Monday morning was the son of a Clark County judge, according to a report from NBC affiliate WGEM, which quoted the Boone County Medical Examiner's Office.

Earlier Tuesday, the Columbia Police Department identified the victim as Augustus Jackson Roberts. WGEM said he is the son of judge Rick Roberts.

Augustus Roberts, who was 28, was renting the home on Lasso Circle, where he was found dead.

Police first went to the house Monday after a suspicious person was reported in the area. Investigators have not said what evidence they found inside, but did say a set of white footprints leading away from the house was related to the case.

An officer said the prints came from paint spilled over inside the garage. The trail led up the street toward Old Hawthorne Drive.

The Columbia Police Department was tight-lipped Tuesday, releasing only the victim's name and age.

Neighbors were hesitant to say anything further as well.

A few did talk to KOMU 8 News shortly after Roberts' body was found.

Jon Cole lives a few houses down from the scene. He said he and his wife were "shaken up" when CPD came to his front door around 5 a.m. asking for information about the neighbors.

"I immediately knew something was wrong because there was yellow tape from my driveway," he said.

A different neighbor said she didn't know anyone lived in the home and never saw anyone coming or going. When police woke her up, she asked if her family would be safe and she said police told her they believed this was a targeted incident.

Another neighbor said break-ins are common in the area. She said it's a consensus among neighbors that there isn't enough police presence and 24-hour surveillance is needed.

The Homeowner's Association sent out an alert to the residents asking them to tell police if they know anything and saying in part, "while everyone is probably rather curious and shaken from this, it is important to let CPD do their job efficiently and effectively".

Despite Monday's incident, Cole said the neighborhood "has been great" and is "family oriented." He said he still feels safe but security cameras in the neighborhood could be helpful.

"After this happening, no matter how much control you have with a weapon, it can be unnerving being this close," he said.

[Reporters Sarah Trott, Caroline Peterson and Jenna Puritz contributed to this story, along with digital producers Zara McDowall, Sydney Kalich and Blake Samman.]

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