Georgia News Roundup
June 17, 2013 04:45 PM | 841 views | 0 0 comments | 23 23 recommendations | email to a friend | print
King Center summer camp kicks off in Atlanta

ATLANTA (AP) — Nearly 100 children and 30 chaperones are participating in King Center's annual Nonviolence Opportunity Watch summer camp.

King Center officials say the first session of the camp begins Monday and runs through June 21. The camp is geared toward teaching children and young adults how to use Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s philosophy of nonviolence to resolve every day conflicts.

Organizers say the camp includes participants from New Mexico, Detroit, South Carolina and the metro Atlanta area. The second session is scheduled for July 15 through 17 and is slated to include a group of youth from Cyprus — an island nation south of Turkey.

Online: King Center.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.


Georgia college participates in national civics project

MORROW, Ga. (AP) — Clayton State University has been given a film set and a $1,200 grant to host discussions on the evolution of the meaning of freedom and equality.

School spokesman John Shiffert says Clayton State was chosen to participate in a program titled "Created Equal: America's Civil Rights Struggle," which is part of the National Endowments of Humanities' Bridging Cultures Initiative.

Shiffert says the film set will be used to host and record public conversations centered on U.S. history and civic life as part of the national project.

As part of the initiative, film sets for the Created Equal project are being given to museums, libraries and community groups in all 50 states.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.


Girl treated at Atlanta hospital after boat fire

BUFORD, Ga. (AP) — Authorities say a young girl injured when a boat caught fire at Lake Lanier was being treated for third-degree burns at Grady Memorial Hospital in Atlanta.

Gwinnett County arson investigators were examining the older, wooden boat after the Sunday afternoon fire on the lake just northeast of Atlanta.

Witness Joe Jordan tells WSB-TV that an explosion aboard the boat knocked the girl out of the craft and into the water. He said it sounded like a bomb.

Cell phone photos and video show flames shooting from the boat, and dark smoke spewing over the south end of the lake, not far from the Buford Dam.

Gwinnett County Fire Lt. Colin S. Rhoden says two adults were also hurt. None of the injuries were believed to be life-threatening.

Information from: WSB-TV.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.


Boy, 7, wounded by gunfire outside Atlanta home

ATLANTA (AP) — Police in Atlanta are investigating how a young child was shot while he was playing with friends outside a home on the city's northwest side.

Authorities say the 7-year-old boy was shot in the stomach on Mango Circle shortly after 7:30 p.m. Sunday.

Atlanta police Maj. Lane Hagin tells WXIA-TV that the boy was hit when someone opened fire on two vehicles driving through the neighborhood.

Investigators tell WSB-TV that someone drove the wounded child to a hospital after the shooting. He was being treated Sunday night at Children's Healthcare of Atlanta at Egleston. Authorities said the boy was in stable condition.

Information from: WSB-TV.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.


Spectator shot to death at soccer game

GAINESVILLE, Ga. (AP) — Authorities say a spectator at a recreational soccer game was shot to death in a Hall County park, and a suspect was being questioned in the death.

The 46-year-old was shot repeatedly at close range around 5 p.m. Sunday at Tadmore Park on the county's east side, The Times of Gainesville reported.

The spectator and the gunman were both watching the game when they had some type of confrontation, Hall County sheriff's officials said in a statement. One of the men "quickly produced a handgun" and fired multiple times, sheriff's officials said.

The park was crowded with people at the time and the shooting took place in front of other spectators, but no one else was injured, Hall County sheriff's Sgt. Stephen Wilbanks said.

The suspect tried to leave the area but was stopped by two Hall County marshals who were working security, Wilbanks said.

"There's only one way in and one way out, and the (shooter) was running toward (the marshals) and they took him into custody at gunpoint," Wilbanks said.

He was being questioned by authorities, who later determined that the suspect and the victim knew each other.

"There's evidently a history between these two individuals that goes back to El Salvador, the full extent of which we don't know yet," Wilbanks said.

The park is about five miles southeast of downtown Gainesville.

Information from: The Times,

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.


Georgia man drowns in northeast Alabama

FORT PAYNE, Ala. (AP) — A Georgia man is dead following a weekend drowning in northeast Alabama.

Officials say 19-year-old Ricardo Perez of Rome, Ga., was found in 9 feet of water in Little River Canyon on Saturday night.

Perez and friends reportedly were trying to swim across Little River when Perez went under the water earlier in the day.

The superintendent of the Little River Canyon preserve, Gail Bishop, says Perez was the first person to drown in the canyon this year.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.


Savannah won't share cruise ship study with public

SAVANNAH, Ga. (AP) — A consultant's report on three potential sites for a cruise ship terminal along the Savannah River has been given to city officials in Savannah, but they aren't sharing it with residents.

The city is refusing to make the taxpayer-funded analysis public, The Savannah Morning News reported.

City officials say a provision in the Georgia's open records law allows them to keep the report secret for now. The exemption pertains to potential land acquisitions.

A Savannah City Council workshop has been scheduled for June 25, and the study will be made public at that time, city spokesman Bret Bell.

The city council awarded Miami-based BEA Architects a contract to perform the study in September. It's being divided into two phases, and the portion of the study recently given to city officials cost $197,500 to evaluate the sites.

The findings are necessary to obtain U.S. Army Corps of Engineers approval and permits for construction. Results may eliminate certain sites or verify that all three sites, which have not been made public, could be used, the Savannah newspaper reported.

Savannah City Councilman Tom Bordeaux had cast the only vote against the study.

Bordeaux said he didn't think spending millions of dollars on the terminal would be a good investment for the city, considering the amount of time cruise passengers would spend in the city.

Bordeaux said he also worried that the terminal would be abandoned if the industry experienced tough financial times, especially since Charleston, S.C., and Jacksonville, Fla., already have cruise docks.

Information from: Savannah Morning News,

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.


Break-in reported at Woodrow Wilson's boyhood home 

AUGUSTA, Ga. (AP) — Sheriff's officials in east Georgia are investigating a break-in at the boyhood home of former President Woodrow Wilson.

The Sunday afternoon burglary at the Augusta home caused $750 in damage, authorities said.

An alarm was tripped at the home at 419 Seventh St. around 4 p.m., The Augusta Chronicle reported.

Deputies found a rear window that had been pried open and a piece of window casing on the ground, according to a report from sheriff's officials.

Richmond County Deputy Tracy Ponder found the curtain thrown aside and items on an inside table scattered.

Erick Montgomery, the executive director of Historic Augusta, told officers that no items were missing. No witnesses had come forward.

The home was built in 1859 by a local stove merchant. It was sold shortly after that to the Trustees of the First Presbyterian Church, according to the home's website.

Thomas Woodrow Wilson, known as Tommy while growing up in Augusta, lived in the home from 1860 to 1870. As a child, he experienced the hardships of the American Civil War and Reconstruction before going on to become the nation's 28th president, according records from the home.

Information from: The Augusta Chronicle,

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.


Court reinstates death sentence for bank robber 

ATLANTA (AP) — The Supreme Court of Georgia has reserved a lower court's decision and reinstated a death sentence for a man convicted of killing a man shortly after the robbery of a suburban Atlanta bank.

The court on Monday released its opinion that sends Michael Wade Nance back to Georgia's death row.

The state had appealed a lower court's ruling that had thrown out his death sentence but upheld his convictions. Nance had claimed that his lawyers were ineffective and should have taken a different strategy in defending him.

Evidence at Nance's trial showed that he robbed the Tucker Federal Bank in Lilburn on Dec. 18, 1993, ran from the bank and then shot and killed Gabor Balogh, who was backing his car out of a parking space at a nearby store.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.


Woman killed, 2 others hurt in Ashburn hotel shooting

ASHBURN, Ga. (AP) — Police in south Georgia say they've arrested a man in connection with a triple shooting at hotel that left a woman dead and two other people injured.

Ashburn Police Chief Joe Saxon tells WALB-TV 41-year-old Marilyn Patterson was killed in the Sunday night shooting and a suspect identified as Joshua McKelvin has been arrested.

Authorities say Patterson and McKelvin were arguing inside a hotel room and the dispute ended in gunfire. After Patterson was killed, police say shots were fired toward a group of people who were outside the hotel. Saxon says one victim was treated for a leg wound and has been released. He says the other victim underwent surgery and is in stable condition.

It's unclear if McKelvin has an attorney.

Information from: WALB-TV.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.


Man surrenders in shooting of Georgia boy

ATLANTA (AP) — Police say the man accused of shooting a 7-year-old boy while he was playing with friends outside in northwest Atlanta has turned himself in.

Atlanta police spokeswoman Kim Jones says Elrico Smith surrendered to authorities Monday. Police say Smith was involved in a shootout with a man who was sitting inside of a car, and the child was wounded in the exchange of gunfire Sunday evening.

According to a police report, multiple witnesses told authorities Smith was selling guns just before the argument and shooting.

Police say the boy was taken to a local hospital and was listed in stable condition.

Information on the other suspect who fired at Smith was not immediately available. It's unclear if Smith has a lawyer.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.


Man flees Duluth traffic stop, hit by police car

DULUTH, Ga. (AP) — Authorities say a man being chased by police in Duluth was hit by an officer's car and has been hospitalized.

Gwinnett County Police Cpl. Jake Smith says police were trying to execute a traffic stop Monday morning when the driver refused to stop, jumped out of the car and fled on foot.

Authorities say the unidentified man was hit by an officer who was responding to the scene and was taken to a local hospital.

Smith says the incident is under investigation and authorities are unsure of the suspect's medical condition.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.


Ruling on voter citizenship proof ensnares Georgia law

ATLANTA (AP) — Georgia's voter registration law requiring proof of citizenship is similar to one in Arizona that has been struck down by the U.S. Supreme Court.

Secretary of State Brian Kemp says he's disappointed with Monday's ruling that states cannot take action on their own to require prospective voters to prove citizenship.

The Supreme Court says federal law precludes states from asking for proof since the National Voter Registration Act of 1993 does not require such documentation. The justices did leave open the possibility that states could still seek approval from the federal government or federal courts to do so.

Kemp says Georgia's citizenship requirement "ensures the integrity of our voting process" and he will be working with the governor, the General Assembly and the attorney general on next steps.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.


Court rejects appeal of conviction in boy's death

By Kate Brumback, Associated Press

ATLANTA (AP) — The Supreme Court of Georgia on Monday upheld a man's convictions and death sentence in the 2007 rape and slaying of a 6-year-old boy in a mobile home park near the state's coast.

In a 5-to-2 decision, the high court rejected arguments by David Edenfield's lawyers that the evidence in the case was insufficient to find him guilty in the slaying of Christopher Barrios. Writing for the majority, Justice Keith Blackwell also rejected Edenfield's attorneys' arguments that the trial court made errors throughout the trial.

In a dissent, presiding Justice Hugh Thompson agreed with the decision to uphold Edenfield's convictions but said the death sentence should be reversed.

Defense lawyer James Yancey said Monday he was disappointed by the ruling.

"We will continue to pursue all the avenues available to Mr. Edenfield," he said.

Christopher went missing March 8, 2007, from the Brunswick mobile home park where his father and grandmother both had homes. His body was found a week later by a roadside, wrapped in trash bags.

David Edenfield confessed to the crime in a videotaped interview with a police detective the day after the boy's body was found.

On the tape, Edenfield said he and his son molested the boy inside their home while his wife, Peggy, watched. He said Christopher pleaded with them to stop and threatened to tell his father and grandmother, prompting Edenfield's son to begin choking the boy.

Edenfield told police he placed his own hands on top of his son's as Christopher choked to death.

Among the arguments he presented to the Supreme Court, Edenfield's lawyer said the trial court was wrong to refuse to strike a prospective juror who said he could not consider a life sentence with the possibility of parole for someone convicted of child abuse. Upon questioning by the judge, the prospective juror said he could consider that sentence if the circumstances warranted it. The defense filed a motion to strike that juror, and the man did not end up on the jury.

Thompson wrote in the dissent that the death sentence should be reversed since the trial judge agreed to seat that prospective juror.

Edenfield's wife, Peggy Edenfield, was also charged in the case but agreed to testify against her husband and son in exchange for prosecutors agreeing not to seek the death penalty against her. She is serving a 60-year prison sentence.

Their son has been deemed mentally incompetent to stand trial.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.


Infant, woman injured in fatal Athens crash

ATHENS, Ga. (AP) — Athens-Clarke County police say a woman has died in a crash that left another woman and a 7-month-old baby hospitalized.

Authorities say 34-year-old Peggy Michelle Haley, of Winterville, was driving south along Spring Valley Road Monday morning when she lost control of the car as she came around a curve.

Police say Haley died of her injuries. A 22-year-old woman and a 7-month-old baby were taken to the Athens Regional Medical Center with non-life threatening injuries.

Officials say charges have not been filed and the crash is under investigation.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.

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