AUGUSTA, Ga. – Monday afternoon word came down that the District Attorney will not pursue charges. The Richmond County Sheriff’s Office held a news conference Monday afternoon to make the official announcement.
An investigation that has dominated the headlines for the better part of a year, appears to be over. The Richmond County Deputies accused of buying and using steroids, by Brandon Paquette, have been cleared.
The men and women who protect and serve have had a cloud hanging over their heads for the past few months, but now that cloud of steroid suspicions may have been lifted.
The case, apparently closed, with these findings from District Attorney Ashley Wright.
Wright says, “upon review of the all of the information provided to me and my analysis of the State’s burden to prove that a crime was committed beyond a reasonable doubt,I find that criminal charges based on all of the information reviewed are unsupported by evidence capable of proof beyond a reasonable doubt.”
“Based on the findings of the GBI investigation. The conclusion of the District Attorney’s Office and our internal investigation. No criminal charges will be filed in this case,” said Richmond County Sheriff Richard Roundtree.
This all started in October of 2014. That’s when Brandon Paquette gave the Sheriff’s Office a list of several deputies he said were using steroids that he sold to them.
“Every deputy whose name was brought up during the course of the investigation who was still employed by the Richmond County Sheriff’s Office was interviewed and then polygraph.” Sheriff Roundtree said.
Reports show only one deputy, Phillip Hambrick, admitted to buying and using steroids. Hambrick resigned before the investigation was completed.
“He doesn’t list that as his resignation but again in our aspect as this being a felony, be conducting in any felony activity and be a police officer with this agency,” said Sheriff Roundtree.
So why did this case take nearly a year? One reason may be because the Sheriff’s Office did not even begin its own investigation, until the GBI was finished with theirs.
“At the GBI’s request no internal investigation would be conducted until the criminal investigation was concluded.” Said Sheriff Roundtree.
Sheriff Roundtree says the Richmond County Sheriff’s Office worked to maintain transparency with the community during this investigation and is confident in the job done by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation.