By Ed Brock
The man accused of beating to death the 5-year-old daughter of his ex-girlfriend has been in jail before, once for sexual battery.
Robert Foster, 39, of Stone Mountain is currently charged with murder in connection with Saturday's beating death of Tacara Judon of Jonesboro and aggravated assault in connection with a simultaneous attack on Tacara's brother, 10-year-old Ronald Porter, Clayton County police said. The attack seemed to have been motivated by jealousy when Foster went to the Wood Hollow Lane home of his ex-girlfriend, 32-year-old Octavia Judon, and found the car of another man in the driveway, Clayton County police Capt. Jeff Turner said.
Porter remained in critical condition at Children's Healthcare of Atlanta at Egleston Monday afternoon, Turner said. Friends and neighbors left flowers and red balloons in front of the house where the attack occurred in memory of the two "good kids."
In 1996 Foster was arrested in Tallahassee, Fla. on charges of sexual battery, kidnapping and false imprisonment, Clayton County sheriff's Maj. Mike Maddox said. He was convicted on a misdemeanor charge of sexual battery and given credit for the 359 days he had spent in jail.
In 1983 he was arrested in St. Petersburg, Fla., on charges of burglary and Maddox said he had no record of the disposition of that case.
Other past arrests on Foster's record include charges of driving under the influence, possession of marijuana and driving with a suspended license in Atlanta and driving on a suspended license in Clarkston in DeKalb County.
On Saturday, Foster called Judon several times asking her if he could come over and she refused, Clayton County police Detective Michael Harris said previously. When he arrived and saw the other man's vehicle Foster used his truck as a battering ram, crashing through the house's garage door, then going to the children's bedroom and beating them both with a lug wrench. Afterward he called 911 and asked for someone to be sent to the location because he had just tried to kill his girlfriend's children.
Judon was not at home during the attack but had gone to take the other man, identified as an acquaintance, away from the house.
Judon and Foster worked together at New Image Dental Lab in Morrow, Turner said, Judon in human resources and Foster as a lab technician.
Foster was in jail Monday, having made his first appearance in court on Sunday. He was being kept in protective custody at his own request.
"He related to us that he was being threatened by some of the other inmates," Clayton County Sheriff Stanley Tuggle said.
Members of the Clayton County School's System Crisis Response Team, including school psychologists, social workers and school counselors, were at Jackson Elementary School in Jonesboro where Porter is a student. Students and teachers at the school were grieving over what happened to Porter and his sister, said the school system's Coordinator of Psychological Services Joe Nail.
"I think they're doing well," Nail said. "As is typical they've been very emotional in their reaction."
That describes the reaction 11-year-old Jacob Johnson, Porter's friend and next door neighbor, had when he heard the news.
"I was mad, very mad," Johnson said, pausing briefly as he ran past the rental house where the family had lived.
School had just gotten out at that time and the neighborhood was alive with children and parents who were happy to talk about Porter and Tacara.
"They played basketball and stuff," said 12-year-old Ashley Grier. "They were good kids, I liked them."
Along with basketball, Porter likes to play football and hide-and-go-seek, 11-year-old Jerrell Lee said.
"And we would race down the hill on bikes," Lee said.
Lee's mother Margaret Lee described the children as respectful and said that Judon is a good mother.
Foster "seemed like a mean, mad guy," Johnson said.