Georgia News Roundup
February 18, 2014 11:35 AM | 2065 views | 0 0 comments | 7 7 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Georgia severe weather task force to hold first meeting

ATLANTA (AP) — Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal plans to deliver remarks at the first meeting of his severe weather task force

The Governor's Severe Winter Weather Warning and Preparedness Task Force is set to meet Tuesday at 2 p.m. The task force includes various state and local officials, meteorologists and business leaders tasked with making recommendations to improve the state's response to severe weather.

Deal announced the formation of the task force earlier this month after a Jan. 28 storm. Deal and other officials faced considerable criticism for the state's response to the snow, which left tens of thousands stranded on icy, gridlocked roads.

Deal got a chance for a do-over last week when another storm hit the state. Preparations were made farther in advance and the response was widely considered a success.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press.


Wife of Georgia officer's killer convicted of murder

JONESBORO, Ga. (AP) — A metro Atlanta jury has convicted a woman of felony murder in the slaying of a police officer killed in a shootout with her husband.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports jurors Monday found Lisa Ann Lebis guilty in the December 2012 shooting death of Sean Callahan, a Clayton County police officer. Lebis never fired a shot, but District Attorney Tracey Graham Lawson argued Callahan would still be alive "if she had not helped."

Callahan was responding to a domestic disturbance call at a Stockbridge motel where Lebis was sheltering her husband, Tremaine Lebis, who was wanted by police. Officers shot and killed him as he tried to escape, but not before he shot Callahan.

Prosecutors say Lisa Ann Lebis shouted and interfered with an officer's attempts to save Callahan.

Information from: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press.


Metro Atlanta woman rallying for Georgia pit bull ban

ATLANTA (AP) — A metro Atlanta woman hopes to persuade Georgia lawmakers to ban pit bulls from the state.

WSB-TV reports Angela Rutledge of Fulton County became active after her 2-year-old son was mauled to death by her family's pit bull terrier in April 2012. She planned a rally Tuesday on the steps of the state Capitol in Atlanta to call for legislation to ban ownership of the breed in Georgia, or at least impose tighter restrictions.

Rutledge says she has concluded pit bulls are "an aggressive breed" that can pose a danger even to their owners.

She was being joined at the statehouse rally by Jeff Borchardt of Wisconsin, who founded the group Daxton's Friends for Canine Education and Awareness after his 14-month-old son was killed by pit bulls.

Information from: WSB-TV, 

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press.


Man charged with arson in Savannah bus barn fire

GARDEN CITY, Ga. (AP) — Police have charged a man with arson in connection with a structure fire that burned three Savannah-Chatham County school buses over the weekend.

The Savannah Morning News reports 24-year-old Leonard Townsend was arrested at the scene of the blaze Sunday night at a facility where the school system keeps buses. Firefighters were able to limit damage to two of the burned buses, but a third was a total loss.

Police found Townsend on the property as firefighters worked to extinguish the blaze and officers used a stun gun to apprehend him. Garden City Police Chief David Lyons says the suspect's clothing was partially burned.

It was not immediately known if Townsend had an attorney.

Information from: Savannah Morning News, 

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press.


Coroner: No foul play in missing Georgia woman's death

WAYNESBORO, Ga. (AP) — A coroner says authorities have concluded a 77-year-old woman found dead inside a neighbor's home a month after she went missing died from natural causes.

The Augusta Chronicle reports Burke County Coroner Susan Salemi says the Georgia Bureau of Investigation chose not to perform an autopsy on the body of 77-year-old Arletha Diane Bennett because her body showed no signs trauma or foul play.

Bennett had been missing since Jan. 16 and police and volunteers had scoured the area trying to find the retired teacher before her body was discovered dead Saturday in the laundry room of a house on her street. Salemi says the cause of death is being listed as senility with Alzheimer's and probably hypothermia.

Information from: The Augusta Chronicle , 

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press.


Sheriff investigates shooting of Georgia farm's donkey

WINDER, Ga. (AP) — Sheriff's investigators in northeast Georgia are trying to find out who shot and killed a donkey on a Barrow County farm.

The Athens Banner-Herald reports Todd Garrett's donkey, named Bonnie, was shot under the neck on his family farm by someone using a high-powered rifle over the weekend.

Sheriff Judd Smith says the donkey appears to have been shot from a distance by somebody who knew where to place a killing shot, such as an experienced hunter. He also says it's possible the shooter mistook the donkey for a deer. That would still be illegal because it's not deer hunting season.

Smith says the shooter could face a felony charge of aggravated animal cruelty for killing the donkey. He says, "It's not just cruel, it's mean."

Information from: Athens Banner-Herald, 

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press.


Georgia agency says judge can't appoint grandkid's mom

MACON, Ga. (AP) — A Georgia agency says a Macon judge can't appoint the mother of his grandchild to the bench.

The Telegraph of Macon reports Bibb County Chief Magistrate Billy Randall was told the state Judicial Qualifications Commission concluded that his nominee to fill a vacancy on the court violated its rules against nepotism.

Randall shared his nominee's rejection with the newspaper but declined to name her. He said she's the mother of a child that Randall's son fathered out of wedlock. Therefore the judge says he believes the woman shouldn't be considered a member of his family.

The county's Superior Court judges must approve any appointments to vacant Magistrate Court positions. They had asked the Judicial Qualifications Commission for an opinion on Randall's nominee.

Information from: The Macon Telegraph, 

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press.


Prosecutors: Georgia sheriff's lieutenant molested 7

SAVANNAH, Ga. (AP) — Prosecutors in Savannah say a sheriff's lieutenant charged with molesting children committed that crime against at least seven victims.

Chatham County sheriff's Lt. Rick Hall has been jailed since Dec. 20 and a judge denied him bond Tuesday after prosecutors said six more victims have come forward since his arrest.

WTOC-TV reports prosecutors said there's evidence Hall engaged in inappropriate behavior on the job. He has worked at the sheriff's department since 2007.

Hall's defense attorneys had requested bond, saying he has significant medical issues that aren't being addressed at the jail. They asked that Hall be placed under house arrest.

Prosecutors argued to Judge Timothy Walmsley that Hall posed a flight risk and had attempted to intimidate witnesses.

Information from: WTOC-TV,

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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