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Sunday, January 8, 2012

[GA] Not forgotten. Dougherty County Sheriff's Jail Officer Tasha George

Dougherty County Georgia Sheriff's Jail Officer Tasha George was shot and killed by the boyfriend of 7 years that she was breaking up with. She had left work early to change the locks and have a security system installed when Travis Smith surprised her and fatally shot her. The media doesn't give hint whether Tasha feared for her life or was just trying to keep him out.

 "...'My baby! My baby!' a woman shouted as she collapsed, sobbing, on the driveway... Another woman fell to her knees on the driveway and curled up on the ground face down. Law enforcement officials, including Dougherty County Sheriff Jamil Saba, surrounded the women, loved ones of slain Dougherty County Sheriff's Office employee Tasha George..."

There had been prior documented domestic violence. After shooting Tasha, Travis then carjacked someone to get away and was quickly apprehended. He was sentenced to life in prison and 10 years for a gun charge, to be served consecutively.

Date that Tasha's life was stolen: June 16, 2006.

WALB News 10
June 16, 2006
[Excerpts] New information tonight in a shooting that claimed the life of a detention officer with the Dougherty County Sheriff's Office. 25-year-old Tasha George may have been the victim of domestic violence. Less than a month ago, Albany Police arrested her boyfriend for battery. He's one of two men in custody in connection with her murder. At about 5 Friday evening, law enforcement responded to this normally quiet neighborhood... "We did get a call in reference to shots fired," says Chief James Younger of Albany Police. There they found Tasha George dead in a yard... They're now trying to piece together exactly what happened but police reports from May 19th show a history of domestic violence at the home. After 8 that night, police arrested live-in boyfriend Travis Smith. Records show Smith pushed George through a glass table. She had an abrasion to her right eye and a deep cut on her stomach... [Sheriff Jamil] Saba says George was a hard worker at the Dougherty County Jail for about 4 years. He's shocked that this happened especially since George just left work a short time before the shooting... We're told George was trying to end things with Smith. Just today she had the locks changed on her house and a security company was installing a burglar alarm. Unfortunately, it wasn't soon enough...

COUNTY JAILER SHOT, KILLED NEAR HER HOME: An Albany woman shot and killed Friday had worked for the Dougherty County Sheriff's Office for about four years.
The Albany Herald
Heather Darenberg & Joshua Brown
Saturday, June 17, 2006
[Excerpts] Screams of desperation echoed down tree-lined Temple Avenue Friday evening. "My baby! My baby!" a woman shouted as she collapsed, sobbing, on the driveway of a red brick house at 2404 Temple Avenue, which was surrounded by yellow crime scene tape. Another woman fell to her knees on the driveway and curled up on the ground face down. Law enforcement officials, including Dougherty County Sheriff Jamil Saba, surrounded the women, loved ones of slain Dougherty County Sheriff's Office employee Tasha George... Saba said the victim had been an employee of the Sheriff's Office for about four years... For the two hours following the shooting, the intersection of Temple and Stuart avenues was taped off as members of the Albany Police Department, Dougherty County Sheriff's Office, Georgia State Patrol, Dougherty County School System Police Department, Albany State University Police Department, Georgia Department of Corrections, the Dougherty County District Attorney's Office, the Albany Fire Department and Dougherty County Emergency Medical Services worked at the crime scene. About an hour after the shooting, several law enforcement vehicles peeled off, with lights flashing. A few minutes later, Dougherty County Jail spokesman Lt. Lance Montgerard said in a telephone interview that two people had been captured in Worth County in connection with the shooting. Younger confirmed Friday evening that the police department was questioning two "suspects," who he later said were "persons of interest"... Sylvester police caught two men, one white and one black, who appeared to be in their early 20s at about 6:30 p.m. in a McDonald's parking lot in Sylvester, Sylvester Police Chief Tony Strenth said. Strenth said the black man tried to run, but was apprehended a short distance away in front of a Subway restaurant. The white man did not run... Sylvester police left the car as it was so Albany police could search it, Strenth said. Strenth said the only thing found in the car that he knew of was a pistol... Saba said at about 10:30 p.m. Friday that the two men were not being held in the Dougherty County Jail. Saba described George as "a good officer." "She was a great worker," he said. "If you needed her there, she would be there. "Our heart and our sympathy goes out to the family... We're going to help the family and see what we can do for them."

SUSPECT NABBED IN JAILER SLAYING:  A man arrested on a murder charge in connection with a detention officer's death was also arrested last month on a domestic violence charge.
Albany Herald
Heather Darenberg
[Excerpts] Albany police arrested an Albany man on a murder charge Friday evening in connection with the slaying of a Dougherty County Sheriff's Office employee, jail records show. Travis Smith, 28, of 2404 Temple Avenue was booked into the Dougherty County Jail at 8:26 p.m. Friday, records show. Smith was released from the jail at 9:30 p.m. Friday... Lee County Jail officials confirmed Saturday they are housing Smith for Dougherty County authorities. Dougherty County Jail spokesman Lt. Lance Montgerard said Smith was not being held in Dougherty County "for his safety and security." Smith is suspected of fatally shooting his longtime girlfriend, Dougherty County detention officer Tasha George... An Albany Police Department Family Violence Incident Report from May shows that Smith was arrested in May on a charge of battery (domestic violence). Albany police Maj. Wilma Griffin and Dougherty County Jail officials confirmed Saturday that it was the same Smith that was arrested on the murder charge. The report, dated May 19, indicates that Smith was arrested in connection with an incident involving his girlfriend of seven years. The victim's name had been redacted from the report, but the report shows the victim was a 25-year-old employed by the Dougherty County Jail... The report states that Smith told police that he and his girlfriend were involved in "a severe pushing match" and "he struck (deleted) on the face"... Police noted that the woman had "an abrasion next to her right eye which caused visible swelling" and a "deep cut to (deleted) stomach area, which she said was caused when Travis pushed her on to a glass table top that was leaned against the kitchen wall," the report shows... Dougherty County Jail employees said Saturday they were not allowed to talk about George to the media...

Jun 23, 2006
[Excerpts] The man accused of killing a Dougherty County jailer has been indicted. Twenty-eight-year old Travis Smith is charged with murdering twenty-five-year old Tasha George... Interestingly, the indictment also accuses him of battery and stalking, crimes that happened one month before Tasha George was killed. Smith and George were a couple at one time and Smith was arrested May 19th and charged with throwing George through a glass table. He was then let out of jail on bond and had not even been indicted when George was shot and killed June 16th. Now that he's charged with murder, prosecutors are speeding things up... Even though Albany police never reported it, Travis Smith is also accused of kidnapping and carjacking the man who was with him when he was caught in Sylvester last Friday.

July 28, 2006
[Excerpts] A young Dougherty County jailer [Tasha George] murdered outside her home last month was remembered by her loved ones tonight... "Officer Tasha George, In Memory of, on August 26, 2002 to June 16, 2006. We Love You." Tasha George gave four years of service to the Dougherty County Sheriff's Office. Her mother and sister graciously took the flag of appreciation from Tasha's co-workers. For younger sister Denise Moffett, Tasha was a role model. "She played as a good role. She was helping me through school, prom, everything," said Denise Moffett. Tasha's friends from the Dougherty County Jail hosted a memorial celebration for her family. Wendy Griffin and Danny Brown met Tasha four years ago when they started jail school together. "She was always trying to stay on top of things, trying to better herself, her career, just always trying to move towards advancement," said Wendy Griffin. The three shared many experiences. Danny remembers joking with Tasha often... With laughter aside, Tasha was also a serious and spiritual person. Good friend and minister Terry Whitaker remembers the role God played in Tasha's life. "We know she was saved, we know she loved the Lord. When the Lord calls, it's time for you to go home. We can't go back and ask why the Lord made those decisions. We just want everyone to know that we loved her and we know that she's in a better place," said Terry Whitaker. A better place for this life cut short here on Earth, but a life that will be remembered by many for years to come...

Jim Wallace
February 20, 2007
[Excerpts] A Judge rules an Albany man is mentally competent to stand trial for murder. Travis Smith's trial for killing Dougherty County Tasha George is set to begin in less than one month. Twenty-eight-year-old Travis Smith was brought into the courtroom at the Dougherty County Jail under heavy guard. Wearing handcuffs and leg irons, four deputies and bailiffs stood within feet of him throughout the competency hearing... A Dougherty County jailer, George had gone home from work early that day to have the locks changed on her house, and a security system installed. Prosecutors say Smith surprised her and shot her twice in the shoulder and the neck. On May 19th Smith was arrested for hitting George. He was released on bond the next day, but was ordered by the court to stay away from George. Smith is also charged with kidnapping, carjacking, and aggravated assault on Eric Griggs, a man prosecutors say Smith forced to go with him after George's murder... Smith was examined by two psychologists to determine if he was mentally able to be tried for murder. In the hearing, one psychologist testified that Smith said he had been treated at Southwestern State Hospital in Thomasville in June, after threatening George. Both psychologists testified that Smith appeared to be depressed, but was capable of understanding right from wrong... The Judge set a trial date of March 19th... Prosecutors are not seeking the death penalty. If found guilty, Smith would face life in prison. Travis Smith is being held at Coastal State Prison near Savannah. Officials did not want to have him held at the Dougherty County jail, since he is charged with killing one of it's employees. Judge Goss today ordered that Smith be held either at the Lee County Jail or Lee State Prison during his trial...

Nicole Johnson
March 1, 2007
[Excerpts] A surprise guilty plea today from an Albany man charged with killing his ex-girlfriend. 28-year old Travis Smith shocked prosecutors by telling them he wanted to plead guilty to the murder of Dougherty county jailer Tasha George... After Smith agreed to plea, a Dougherty Superior Court judge immediately sentenced him to life in prison. He was also sentenced to ten years on a firearms charge.

By The Associated Press
March 2nd 2007
A 28-year-old man has been sentenced to life in prison for killing a Dougherty County jailer. Travis Smith pleaded guilty Thursday to felony murder and two related firearms charges, Dougherty County Assistant District Attorney Greg Edwards said. Superior Court Judge Stephen Goss sentenced Smith to life in prison plus 10 years, to be served consecutively...
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