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HomeNewsRoundtree on Deadly Fight: 'Something is Wrong in Our Society'

Roundtree on Deadly Fight: ‘Something is Wrong in Our Society’

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By filing murder charges against everyone who participated in Friday’s deadly fight in Hephzibah, Sheriff Richard Roundtree said he is sending a strong message to the community.

“This will not be tolerated,” he said. “Every person that was actively involved in this incident is going to be charged with felony murder. … We have got to say that this is not acceptable.”

Chaps Lane Fight ImageThe sheriff consulted with District Attorney Ashley Wight and told her he wanted to pursue murder charges against everyone who gathered for Friday’s street fight on Chaps Lane. That fight ended with the stabbing death of 18-year-old Demajhay Bell.

“I think this is the decision of a senseless murder. I abhor all murders, but this murder was certainly avoidable,” he said.

What really bothered the sheriff was that some parents drove their teenage children to the fight to participate. “That says that something is wrong in our society and our culture,” he said.

The disagreement that led to the fight started over two girls and a boy, escalating to the point officials at Glenn Hills High School got involved. It was handled through a school tribunal hearing. Sheriff Roundtree said the matter should have ended there. Instead, it escalated into something that drew more than 30 people to Chaps Lane, armed with metal baseball bats, knives and pipes.

And there were parents who drive them there. “There had to be a conversation on the way over there. I just wonder what that conversation was,” he said.

So far, eight of 10 people being sought on murder charges have been arrested. Sheriff Roundtree said the reaction from those who participated in the fight and are now charged in Bell’s death was varied.

“It varied from tears, to people falling out, to silence. Stares on the face. That is the reality. I think the real reality would have been the day they got booked into the jail and the cell closing for the first time and you are in there as a violent inmate,” he said.

The three-minute video recorded by a witness was a big help, the sheriff said.

“The video was turned over to us by a witness. The video was helpful in that it contradicted what people were saying. Many people minimized their role. They said they came to break up the fight, but it showed that they came to participate,” he said.

The sheriff said he is amazed a gun was not produced. Had there been a gun, the story could have been worse.

“That could have been a national news story,” he said.

Previous Story: 

10 Charged with Murder in Deadly Hephzibah Fight

Video of street fight and murder is available by clicking here: https://youtu.be/dkDyM7nKvH4 . Warning: Some of the video is disturbing.

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Greg Rickabaugh
Greg Rickabaugh
Greg Rickabaugh is an award-winning crime reporter in the Augusta-Aiken area with experience writing for The Augusta Chronicle, The Augusta Press and serving as publisher of The Jail Report. Rickabaugh is a 1994 graduate of the University of South Carolina and has appeared on several crime documentaries on the Investigation Discovery channel.

9 COMMENTS

  1. It would do Richmond county well to contract with Afghanistan to house felons over there. Richmond County could build prisons there and save million$. RC could probably pay about 10 cents on a dollar that they spend now on each prisoner and Afghanistan would increase their economy 9000% per worker. Hey that is how Australia got its start. Plus all that it would be an added incentive not to come to Roundtree’s county and commit a crime.

      • And criminals are to be trusted? Remember most of them will tell you “I didin do nuttin” What could happen? The Afghans could lose one or two? We could live with that. You have to remember that is the way Australia got its start. It was a penal colony. They will not escape.There is not anything over there to escape to but rocks and bigger rocks.

  2. Really sad that it had to come to a fight and someone lost their life ! People are killing one another like the person will come back to life or something after they cool down ! Some stricter laws need to be in place and then maybe they wouldn’t be so quick to do what happened here ! R.I.P….

  3. Kudos to Roundtree for charging them all with murder! The thought that parents actually drove their kids to the fight is disturbing. I hope they have plenty of time behind bars to think about the ignorance portrayed.

  4. I mean… the way I see it is this. Yeah they were there, but only 1 of those 10 actually killed somebody. You can’t really expect all these kids to go down the road on 20 to life. Probation will be the most reasonable outcome of this. But idk… I’m not a lawyer. Just a human from Augusta, calling it how I see it.

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