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Crime & Safety

Bond granted to Augusta woman charged with murder in boyfriend’s fatal stabbing



Sheila Downs, 49, was arrested Nov. 30, the night 51-year-old John T. Hoard was found in their Greene Street home with a stab wound to the chest. Hoard later died of his injuries.

During Downs’ Richmond County Superior Court bond hearing, Assistant District Attorney Stetson Cromer said Downs called 911 claiming she stabbed Hoard by accident. A next-door neighbor told sheriff officers she had heard the two arguing for at least an hour before deputies arrived.

Downs admittedly lied to sheriff officers, but not telling investigators of the abuse she had suffered most of her life had left her in a brainwashed state, said defense attorney Keith Johnson.

At the time of his death, Hoard was on probation for family violence battery. In that case, he slammed her head against the side of a truck. He was charged with a felony because of a prior conviction for family violence battery, according to court records.

Johnson noted sheriff deputies responded to at least five domestic violence calls at the couple’s home. The attorney also brought texts with photographs attached that documented a June 30 black eye, and an Oct. 22 assault after which Downs needed staples to close a head wound.

Senior Judge J. Carlisle Overstreet granted Downs a $30,000 bond.