'It was a gruesome scene':
Nov. 7 marked one year since one of Macon-Bibb County’s most violent homicides of 2020.
Deputies found three people bludgeoned to death at an east Macon boarding house: 65-year-old Alice Randle, 51-year-old Alaric Cornelius, and the homeowner, 73-year-old Chester Novak.
Investigators say the man charged with the murder is a previous tenant of the home, Ronald Green Jr. He is currently in the Bibb County Jail awaiting trial.
One person who was inside the home that night survived, but because of a supervisor’s decision, deputies did not find her for at least two hours after the first 911 call.
13WMAZ's Ashlyn Webb pulled records requests and interviewed Sheriff David Davis to piece together the Bibb County Sheriff’s Office response time.
According to dispatch records, Macon-Bibb County dispatch received a call from Andrew Doyle, a resident at 925 McCall Road, at 6:39 p.m.
“When I got there, the d*** glass was shattered. I see a lot of blood. I don't know what the f*** is going on,” Doyle told dispatch.
Doyle told dispatchers he got home from work on Nov. 7, 2020 and walked into a horrific scene.
“Blood was everywhere. I panicked. I turned around and got the hell out of there,” said Doyle.
He did not report seeing any bodies, so dispatchers listed the call as suspicious activity and labeled it medium-priority. Dispatch-log records show no deputies were available to respond at the time.
At 7:36 p.m., nearly an hour later after the original call, the first deputy was dispatched, according to records.
“They were backed up on calls, and I think it wasn't clear if anybody was at the house,” said Bibb County Sheriff David Davis.
At 7:48 p.m., Deputy Dontraye Porter arrived on scene, 69 minutes after that first call.
“The back door has been broken. And they kind of had to push their way in. It was a gruesome scene. There's blood… looked like obviously some kind of struggle, some type of attack,” said Davis.
Davis says Porter found 65 year-old Alice Randle bludgeoned to death in the home. Porter then called his supervisor, Sgt. David Patterson.
He arrived at 8:27 p.m., nearly two hours after the original call.
After Patterson arrived, Inv. Todd Durbin was also called. Sheriff Davis says Patterson was so focused on preserving the crime scene, he decided not to check the rest of the house for other possible victims, or the killer.
“We typically want to check the room. What we say is clearing the house. You may have other victims, you may have a suspect in there,” said Davis.
The department's records don't say when, but sometime later, officers found two more victims in the home.
51-year-old Alaric Cornelius was found bludgeoned to death and Colleen Keorner was found beaten, but hanging on to life.
“Looking at the extent of the injuries, the gruesomeness of the whole scene, you'd probably think no one could survive that, but you never make that assumption. You always want to make that verification,” said Davis.
Davis says deputies didn’t find Keorner right away. Her body was blocking the door of a bedroom. She was seriously injured and possibly unconscious.
“The deputies at the first pass… they did not find her right off. It was when investigators came to process the house that they discovered she was still alive,” said Davis.
Records also don't show when Keorner was found, but it was 8:30 p.m. or later.
13WMAZ asked how long it took investigators to get to the scene before they realized Colleen was alive.
“It may have been a little while. As long as an hour to get in there and start processing the crime scene. That sort of thing,” said Davis.
Sheriff Davis says deputies immediately gave Keorner first aid and rushed her to the hospital. A year later, she's still recovering at a rehab home in South Georgia.
“She does have cognitive issues. She is conversational to a point,” said Davis. “The therapist and the investigators certainly want to talk to her. At a point where she’ll be able to talk.”
13WMAZ asked Davis whether a faster response might have meant a better outcome for any of the victims.
“Well, you know, that's one of those kinds of things we never know. You know, it's an unfortunate situation that she laid there all that time before she was discovered. We learn from those instances that we make sure all the victims are checked and make sure that you know the emergency medical staff are on scene to be able to take people for their vital signs and make sure that they are maybe still alive,” said Davis.
But what happened to Sgt. David Patterson who decided not to check the whole house? According to his personnel file, he received a written reprimand.
The sheriff wrote that due to his decision, other bodies were found inside and along with a living victim, and that he did not ensure other victims or a suspect was in the house. He was not disciplined further.
In fact, two months later, in Jan. 2021, Patterson was back in his boss' office, but this time for a promotion from Sergeant to Lieutenant.
13WMAZ asked Davis why he thinks Patterson deserved a promotion?
“Well, he had been here. He's done a good job. He has been all around the office. He's been an investigator. He's been a patrol officer. He is on patrol now,” said Davis. “Just because people make mistakes. People get reprimanded. They learned a lesson from them, and then go forward with it.”
After records requests and an interview with Sheriff David Davis, we still don’t know exactly how long Keorner was inside the home after the attack. We know it was at least more than two hours after the original 911 call.
13WMAZ reached out to Lt. David Patterson. He declined to comment.
Ronald Green Jr., the suspect, has not been indicted yet, so by state law the court had to set a bond for him.
District Attorney Anita Reynolds Howard said in a press conference in August that her office didn’t have enough evidence to indict Green. 13WMAZ asked her for an update on this case before this story aired. She did not respond.
- 6:39 p.m.: Andrew Doyle calls Macon-Bibb 911
- 7:36 p.m.: First deputy dispatched.
- 7:48 p.m.: Deputy Dontraye Porter arrives on scene. Porter finds 65 year-old Alice Randle bludgeoned to death
- 7:59 p.m.: Sgt. David Patterson dispatched.
- 8:14 p.m.: Investigator Todd Durbin notified
- 8:27 p.m.: Sgt. David Patterson arrives on scene
- Unknown: When Colleen Keorner was found. Sheriff Davis says it could have been an hour after investigators arrived. Dispatch records don’t say when investigators arrived.