PUBLIC DEFENDER

PUBLIC DEFENDER

A former Towaliga Circuit public defender has won over $100,000 and an order reinstating him to his post according to the Atlanta Journal Constitution.
A public defender who was fired after lodging complaints about his Forsyth, Middle Georgia office has reached a financial settlement that also allows him to be reinstated as a defender.Kight served in the Towaliga District that covers Butts, Lamar, and Monroe Counties.
Jim Kight filed a whistle-blower lawsuit against the state indigent defense system in June, contending he was retaliated against for complaining he had to carry crushing caseloads and work in a dilapidated office with unsanitary conditions.
The settlement, reached last week, calls for the Georgia Public Defender Standards Council to pay $100,000 to Kight and his lawyers, refund more than $7,400 in lost retirement benefits and reinstate him as a public defender as he is now in the Brunswick Judicial Circuit.
Before he was fired in October 2013, Kight worked eight years as a public defender in the Towaliga Judicial Circuit, which handles indigent defense cases in offices of Barnesville, Forsyth, and Jackson.
Conditions in the Towaliga office in Forsyth became unbearable last year, Kight’s lawsuit said. The building’s roof leaked, its plumbing system routinely backed up, mold covered the walls, the front-door steps collapsed and windows fell out of the walls because of rotten wood.
Moreover, the suit said, Kight carried 350 to 400 cases a year in Monroe County and was asked to pick up cases in Butts County as well. Because positions were left unfilled, Kight confronted his supervisor about it and then took his complaints to the state defender agency.
Kight would be fired and rehired on two occasions before finally being let go the final time on Oct. 9, 2013, according to the suit.
Stephen Bright, a senior lawyer with the Southern Center for Human Rights in Atlanta, said Kight had been an “outstanding” public defender during his eight years in the Towaliga circuit. Even though Kight repeatedly brought to the attention of the state public defender agency the problems at the office, the agency did nothing, Bright said.
“He should have been celebrated as a champion of the right to counsel,” Bright added. “Instead, he was fired three times. The settlement is vindication of his courageous, heroic stand for the right to counsel.”

Georgians State wide were saddened to hear of the passing of Former Governor of Georgia Carl Sanders Sunday at 89 in Atlanta.

FORMER GOVERNOR CARL SANDERS

FORMER GOVERNOR CARL SANDERS

 

Sanders, who had remained in Atlanta after leaving politics to build a successful law firm, was also remembered in Augusta for lobbying President John F. Kennedy to halt the closure of Fort Gordon, an effort that benefited
the community ever since.

Sanders died from pneumonia, and suffered from Par­kinson’s disease, Sanders fell on Friday at his home and broken a hip.  According to former U.S. Rep. D. Doug­las Barnard, his longtime friend. Barnard was Sanders’ executive secretary during his time as governor.

Late Monday, Gov. Nathan Deal issued an executive order that flags on all state buildings and grounds be lowered to half-staff.

A private graveside service will be held Wednesday in Augusta, according to Sanders’ law firm. A memorial will be held Saturday at Second Ponce de Leon Baptist Church in Atlanta, with the time to be decided.

The family requested that donations in memory of Sanders be made to either the Metropolitan YMCA or the University of Georgia Law School.

 

GRIFFIN-POLICE-BADGE13  emt 2  CORONER

 

Just after 5:00 pm Monday evening, November 24, 2014 Officers from the Griffin Police Department, Spalding Regional EMS, and Spalding County Coroner Sonny Foster responded to a report a man shot in the Ma and Pa Grocery Store parking lot located at 1137 Meriwether Street, Griffin.

Upon Griffin Police arrival Officers located a black male victim that had been shot lying on the ground near the car wash.  EMS was notified and responded to the scene at which time the victim was transported to Spalding Regional Medical Center.  Shortly after arriving at the ER the victim was pronounced dead by Spalding Coroner Sonny Foster.

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The individual was identified as Demarkis Williams, 21 years of age of 409 South 15th St., in Griffin.

Shortly after the incident was reported Griffin Police Investigators were on the scene.  With assistance from Uniform Patrol Officers they were able to locate and identify multiple witnesses.  Crime Scene Investigators from both GPD and the Spalding County Sheriff’s Department responded to process the scene for evidence.  Upon examining the scene it was discovered that the victim was not shot in the parking lot but fled there from another location before collapsing where he was found.  After carefully examining the scene, surrounding areas and speaking with witnesses it was determined that the victim was shot near a house behind the Regency apartments located in the 1100 block of West College Street Extension.

After further investigation it was determined that several male subjects had been fighting throughout the day Monday over stolen property.  The fights began on and near Edgewood Avenue in the City.  As the fights escalated a gun was produced and multiple shots were fired at which time the Williams was struck.

After conducting numerous interviews and following up several leads late into the night, Investigators were able to identify three suspects involved in the shooting.

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They have been identified as and Christopher A. Williams, DOB 11/28/96

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Cornelius Henderson, DOB 06/04/91

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 and Yohance Hines, DOB 12/25/95.

UPDATE:    Another suspect in a murder case has been arrested by Griffin Police.  On Wednesday, November 26, 2014, Yohance Hines was arrested and taken into custody at the Griffin Police Department. Hines was wanted for “Party to the Crime, Murder” as result of the shooting death of Demarkis Williams on November 24, 2014.   Shortly after 3:30 pm Wednesday afternoon Hines arrived at the Police Department accompanied by his father and turned himself in without incident.   He is currently being held at the Spalding County Sheriff’s Department.

The other two remaining suspects, Cornelius Henderson and Christopher Amahjae Williams are still at large and should be considered armed and dangerous. Any information regarding their whereabouts please call the Spalding County Communications Center at 770-229-9911.

All three suspects are from Griffin.  Anyone with additional information regarding the shooting and or the whereabouts of the three suspects please contact Investigator Lieutenant Tony Thomason at 770-229-6450, ext. 508 or tthomason@cityofgriffin.com.

 

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A massive storm cell sparked Tornado warnings about 4:30 in North Middle Georgia from the National Weather Service in Peachtree City. By 5:00 storms and tornado were seen in Upson, Lamar and Spalding Counties.  In Lamar County two storms, possibly tornadoes,  one east of Barnesville and one west.
Bobby Ferris of Southern Rivers Energy reported the co-op is aware of damage. He also said “We don’t know how bad it is. Their computer system was down and the IT team were called in and were working on it and had it back in operation by 6:41 p.m. At that time there were about 1,700 co-op members without power.

Multiple trees and power lines were reported down along, Sanders, Morgan Dairy, Rock Springs, Walton, Johnstonville, High Falls Park, Chappell Mill and Parker Branch roads. Power was reported out in multiple areas.

As of 10:00 p.m. Sunday evening, November 23, 2014, approximately 1,145 Central Georgia EMC customers were without power due to serve thunderstorms and strong winds. Additional contract crews were called to assist with restoring electric service. Outages were scattered across CGEMC’s fourteen-county service territory, extensive damage occurred in areas of Butts, and Monroe counties. Overall 8,442 meters were without power at the peak of the storm.

Crews are clearing many fallen trees and repairing a number of broken poles and downed power lines in these areas. Please stay away from downed lines and report them immediately to CGEMC, your local power company, or call 911. Crews will remain on duty until all power has been restored. Be cautious during severe weather; limbs and trees can tear down electric lines. Any dangling line or lines on the ground can be very dangerous.
CGEMC customers may report outages by calling CGEMC and using our automated outage reporting system, at 770-775-7857. During widespread outages, customers may experience longer than normal wait times due to a higher call volume.
CGEMC meets the electric energy needs of members in a 14 county area (Bibb, Butts, Clayton, Fayette, Henry, Jasper, Jones, Lamar, Monroe, Morgan, Newton, Pike, Putnam, and Spalding counties).

A pole barn was destroyed at the county barn building near the Barnesville-Lamar County Industrial Park. Lamar public works superintendent James Rigdon said it appeared the storm went in the back door and out the front door, damaging both roll-up doors. County Commissioner Jay Matthews said his initial assessment was the county barn is a total loss.
Sheriff Brad White said that as of 5:50 Sunday Afternoon there were no injuries reported.

• Traffic accidents were reported on High Falls Road and Morgan Dairy Road at Highway 36 East. • An outbuilding was damaged by falling trees on Old Alabama Road near Milner. • One motor vehicle accident related to the storm was reported. • A downburst took the roof off a mobile home on Abbott Road in Lamar County.

In Upson County near Delray Road close to Potato Creek at Logan Landing Subdivision homes were severely damaged and power lines were downed. There was no reports of injuries caused by the storm damage. The Red Cross responded to the area to assist those in need.  Another tornado was seen in south eastern Upson County.

The line of severe weather moved across the area that included a portion of southeastern Spalding County.  A tornado was seen in the skies close to Swint Road near Orchard Hill by Sheriffs Deputies, but there were no reports it ever touched down or any damage reports in Spalding County.

Butts County, north of Jackson, near 4 points road Highway 36 and Stark Road, a tornado took down power lines and caused some damage to homes there but no injuries were reported from Upson , Butts, Lamar or Spalding Counties.

The storm cell continued its move to the North East and when it neared Covington the National Weather service indicated it ran into a cool front entering Georgia close to that area the storm then dissipated completely.

WKEU would like to thank Walter Geiger, of the Barnesville Herald Gazette, WKEU’s meteorologist Tony Broski, Bill Chapman of 88.9 FM Georgia Public Radio, The Rock, Ed Horard in Butts County, and Brad Nits of Channel 2 news for their assistance during the storm, and in this news story.

1christmas tree lighting

2christmas tree lighting

The Lighting of the Downtown Christmas Tree

The Griffin Main Street in conjunction with the Griffin Downtown Council will host its Holliday events in Historic Downtown on Saturday, November 29th.  There will be photos with Santa and mule cart rides for children. The event will begin at 10:00 a.m. at the Griffin Regional Welcome Center.   Candy canes will be made available to all that visit with Santa and make their Special Holiday wish.  Mule cart rides will take the scenic route through Historic Downtown and hot chocolate will be served to help brave the cold. The Annual “Lighting of the Downtown Christmas Tree” will begin at 5:00 p.m. in front of the Customer Service Department of the City Offices at One Griffin Center, 100 S. Hill St.   There will be great entertainment including; “The Sound Affect” Kids Performance Show Choir, Oak Hill Baptist Church Choir,  Artist John Kendall, Jr. and more. For more information call 770-228-5356.

 GRIFFIN-POLICE-BADGE13
An Armed Robbery suspect identified as Maurice Newton    arrested by Griffin Police. 

Maurice Newton

Maurice Newton

The investigation has been on going for several months.  

On November 7, 2014, Maurice Newton was arrested for a Violation of Probation warrant. After further investigation into armed robbery incidents Investigators identified Newton as the suspect armed with a gun during the robberies. On November 19, 2014, multiple arrest warrants were filed against Newton. He is being held at the Spalding County jail on seven counts of aggravated assault, two counts of armed robbery and two counts of possession of a firearm during the commission of a crime.   Additional charges are pending as the investigation is still ongoing.  

Several incidents that were being investigated relating to Armed Robberies include. In the evening hours of August 30, 2014 Officers from the Griffin Police Department responded to a report of an armed robbery at Amin’s Food Mart located at 837 Experiment St.  Two black males wearing bandanas over their faces entered the store and demanded money. One of the suspects was armed with a hand gun. There were no injuries reported as result of the robbery. 

On October 8, 2014 during the evening hours Officers responded to another report of an armed robbery. This time at the Griffin Convenience Store located at 923 Experiment Street about a block away from Amin’s Food Mart. During this robbery two black males wearing bandannas just like the August 30 incident entered the store armed with a hand gun and demanding money No injuries were reported.

There were multiple witnesses at both locations during the robberies. GPD Investigators and Crime Scene Investigators responded to both scenes the night of the incidents to gather evidence and take statements from witnesses. 

Police are still searching for the second suspect has not been identified. Anyone with information regarding these robberies can contact Lt. Mike Richardson or Sgt. Sommer Bales at 770-229-6452. All information will remain anonymous

Georgia Division of Child Support Services Launches New Phone Number

 

Georgia Child Support Services.

Georgia Child Support Services.

The Georgia Department of Human Services Division of Child Support Services will soon be moving to a new phone number beginning Nov. 25, those in need of assistance regarding child support services should dial 1-844-694-2347.

The Georgia Division of Child Support Services (DCSS) collects child support on behalf of 388,649 families in the state. The program works to promote parent accountability and self-sufficiency while reducing the public’s responsibility for providing financial and medical support to children. Clients have fast access to case/payment information; can receive updates on the status of a case; and obtain information regarding payments/direct deposits applied to their case by calling the DCSS Contact Center at  1-844-694-2347.

Those in need of assistance for services administered by the Georgia Division of Family and Children Services (DFCS) can continue to contact DFCS at 1-877-423-4746.

ENFORCEMENT

ENFORCEMENT

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In Lamar County six local convenience stores were raided and shut down temporarily as part of a raid and investigation into illegal gambling on Thursday afternoon November 20 th.

The Conveniences stores, according to Lamar County Sheriff Brad White, the stores were Benny’s, C&B, Hot Shot, Red Apple, Reliable Mart and Sammie’s.

Sheriff White said that individuals at the stores were paying off winnings from poker machines in cash which is against Georgia law.

Multiple agencies were involved in the raids and investigation including the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, Barnesville Police Department, Lamar County Sheriffs Department, Department of Corrections, and Georgia Lottery enforcement personnel. Multiple charges are being filed against those arrested. The incident remains under investigation an more information is expected to be release later by the Lamar County Sheriffs Department.

SPALDNG FIREDEPARTMENT 1  griffin fire rescue 1
Units of the Spalding and Griffin Fire Departments resounded to the scene of a 911 call to a house fire at Maddox woods just off Maddox road about 1:30 am Friday Morning.
Upon arrival firefighters found that the studs in a wall next to the fireplace in the home were on fire. Spalding Firefighters were able to get to the interior of the wall and extinguish the fire within minutes of arrival. The fire was completely extinguished by 1:55 am. There was damage to the interior of the wall next to the fireplace. and firefighters also inspected the entire wall but no other damage or injuries to the residents or the firefighters were reported.
Georgia-National-Guard-logo
2000px-US_Army_National_Guard_Insignia.svg   CIVIL AIR PATROL 3
WKEU News has been advised by reliable source that Governor Nathan Deal will move the Adjutant General Jim Butterworth  from the Georgia Department of Defense to head GEMA.
AG Jim Butterworth

AG Jim Butterworth

Asst. Adjutant General Joe Jarrard

Asst. Adjutant General Joe Jarrard

Assistant Adjutant General Joe Jarrard will be come the new Adjutant General.  Colonel Tom Carden the current Chief of the Joint Staff will be come the new Assistant Adjutant General for Army.
Georgia has recently been hit and coping with massive cuts in the full time staffs at over 475 individuals.  There has also been a reduction in traditional part time members, and number of units that have been cut Nation Wide. Many states are concerned over their units that have been cut as they relate to  mission capability if they are called to active duty by the Governors to respond to inclement weather conditions, or natural disasters.