Monday, November 15, 2010

To Serve and Protect

I sometimes get flak from police officers and other people about stories I write that cast the police in a nagative light. But in daily newspaper reporting, it is what it is -- the bad comes with the good.
I recently wrote a story about how a perp tried to take away an officer's gun during a struggle at a traffic stop. This gun could have easily been turned against the officer, and another name would have been added to the Officer Down memorial wall.
In addition to linking that story
I'm including a previous story I wrote about the same officer, when he saved a man's life. That stabbing victim was no angel himself, and it goes to show how our police officers risk their lives each and every day, and the same people they work to protect can turn on them in a second.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Attention Shoppers: WATCH OUT!!!!!!

Man charged after driving cart drunk

By Joe Johnson - Athens Banner-Herald
Published Wednesday, October 13, 2010

A 62-year-old homeless man nearly took down several shoppers in a Westside supermarket Monday afternoon while driving drunk on a motorized shopping cart, Athens-Clarke police said.
Gregory Edward Ray, 62, told an officer he drank a pint of vodka and another pint of mouthwash before hopping on the cart at Kroger, 191 Alps Road, police said.
Witnesses told an officer that Ray seemed to be losing consciousness as he drove through the store's aisles, police said.
Ray, who was barred from the store for two years in August, was charged with public intoxication and released to emergency medical workers, police said, and an officer planned to take out a warrant charging him with criminal trespass.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Athens gets Stranger and Stranger

This is the first time I've ever heard of this particular murder weapon:

Police arrest man in Sunday slaying
By Joe Johnson -
Published Tuesday, October 12, 2010

A Colbert man used a toilet seat lid to beat another man to death early Sunday in the victim's Northeast Athens home, Athens-Clarke police said.
William Thomas Valentine Jr., an ex-con with a long list of convictions in Clarke County, then kidnapped and raped a woman who witnessed the attack, Athens-Clarke police said.
Authorities arrested Valentine on Monday afternoon at his brother's home in Oglethorpe County.
Police said Valentine, 40, knew the victim, 51-year-old Alfred Lorenzo Harris, but would not say if they know why he attacked the older man in his home at Garden Apartments off North Avenue.
Investigators believe Valentine bludgeoned Harris to death between 3 and 3:30 a.m. Sunday, and a friend found his body just before noon, when he stopped by with food, according to police.
Harris' battered body was found on a living room couch, covered with a blanket, police said. Detectives quickly identified Valentine as a suspect.
"We developed enough information to put him at the scene and as the person who committed the actual murder," said Athens-Clarke police Capt. Clarence Holeman, commanding officer of the Centralized Criminal Investigations division.
Investigators also had reason to believe Valentine might have fled to a home in Hull, but he had left by the time officers arrived, police said.
Inside the home, police found a woman who said Valentine kidnapped and raped her, according to police.
The woman witnessed the attack on Harris, police said. She told investigators Valentine forced her to leave Athens with him, then raped her somewhere in Madison County, police said.
Officers next checked out a home Valentine shares with a girlfriend in Colbert and found clothes burning in the yard, police said. They managed to recover a charred boot police said belonged to Valentine.
Authorities continued to stake out the home in Colbert, while others kept an eye on Valentine's brother's home on Emerald Circle near Winterville, police said; they arrested Valentine there just before 12:30 p.m. Monday.
He was booked into the Clarke County Jail on a murder charge, but a grand jury likely will consider more charges, according to police.
Valentine, who formerly lived in Athens, has a record of convictions in Clarke County dating to at least 2000, for crimes ranging from burglary and drugs to assault.
He served five stints in state prison, once for shooting at two men in Athens, according to the Department of Corrections.
Originally published in the Athens Banner-Herald on Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Friday, August 20, 2010

Jailhouse follies

After posting the "Junk in the Trunk" story, I thought I should keep trying to lighten things up, as all things from the crime beat aren't depressing. Here are a couple of recent amusing items from the daily police blotter I compile for the newspaper:

A University of Georgia student tried to buy his way out of an arrest with a song early Wednesday.

An officer saw the 19-year-old kicking a car in the parking lot of Sigma Alpha Epsilon, 247 Pulaski St., about 2:30 a.m., so he went to check it out, Athens-Clarke police said.
First, the student tried to hide behind a car, then he ran and tried to get into a door of the fraternity house. As the officer closed in, the student took off and tried to climb a wrought-iron fence, police said.
His foot somehow got caught, and the officer helped him down from what he described as a "dangling" position, according to police.
The student explained that he ran because he'd been drinking, police said. He'd scratched his ankle on the fence and asked the officer to call for an ambulance. As they waited for it to arrive, the student tried to bargain, saying he would do anything to stay out of jail, even sing for the cop, police said.
The student was charged with underage drinking and obstruction, police said.

Man charged with stealing from club
Athens Banner-Herald
Published Thursday, August 19, 2010

An ex-con was arrested at a downtown strip club early Wednesday after a bouncer caught him swiping money from a cash register and tip jar, Athens-Clarke police said.
Frederick Kenya "Po Pimp" Cannon was at Toppers International Showbar, 100 Jackson St., about 1:15 a.m. when a bouncer flagged down an officer to report he caught Cannon stealing from the club, police said.
Cannon insisted he had done nothing wrong, and said he'd just been released from prison and only had 50 cents because the strip club "cleaned him out," according to police.
Surveillance video showed Cannon strike up a conversation with a woman working at a counter, and when she was distracted, he swiped money from the register, police said. A patron also saw him steal money from a tip jar, police said.
Cannon, who did prison time for robbery and drug possession, was charged with misdemeanor theft because the amount of money he tried to steal was about $15, police said.

Call to Ma helps police ID burglar
By Staff Reports - Athens Banner-Herald
Published Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Investigators are looking for an Athens man who broke into the Howard B. Stroud Elementary School on Monday night, but left behind his cell phone, Athens-Clarke police said.
Officers responded to an 11:25 p.m. burglar alarm and saw a man in the school's cafeteria, but he ran through a back door, police said.
He dropped his cell phone, which had a programmed number for "ma," police said. When an officer called the number, he spoke with the suspect's mother who said she didn't let him live with her anymore because he always steals, according to police.
The woman told officers her son stays with his grandfather in Colbert, and that he was supposed to appear in Madison County Superior Court on a burglary charge Monday, but he didn't show up, police said.

Friday, July 2, 2010

A Lot of Junk in This Trunk

Suspected dealer caught with drugs
By Joe Johnson -
Published Friday, July 02, 2010


A suspected drug dealer who ran from sheriff's deputies Wednesday night was carrying a bag of cocaine stuffed in his buttocks, Athens-Clarke police said, and deputies found another bag of drugs when they strip-searched him at the Clarke County Jail.
Travoine Demario Gary, 22, was wanted for a felony probation violation when deputies spotted him in the parking lot of the Triangle Plaza in East Athens about 11:15 p.m., police said.
Travoine Demario Gary, 22, was wanted for a felony probation violation when deputies spotted him in the parking lot of the Triangle Plaza in East Athens about 11:15 p.m., police said.
A police officer who happened to be driving by saw Gary run from the deputies, so he got out of his car and chased after, cornering Gary on the back porch of a home in the 200 block of Fairview Street, according to police.
Gary reached into his pockets, and when he wouldn't obey commands to show his hands, the officer drew his gun, police said.
Gary continued to ignore the officer, and he put something down the back of his pants, police said. The officer suspected he planned to fight or run and pepper-sprayed him.
When backup officers arrived, police searched Gary and found $425 in his pocket and a bag of crack cocaine in his buttocks, police said.
They took him to jail, where deputies who strip-searched Gary found another bag in the man's buttocks, one that held 48 oxycodone pills, police said.
Gary, of 135 Burkland Drive, was charged with possession with intent to distribute cocaine, possession of a controlled substance and obstruction of a law enforcement officer, police said.
Originally published in the Athens Banner-Herald on Friday, July 02, 2010

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

One of the most disgusting cases I've covered

40-year terms for abusing son Brutal punishment of boy 'disgusted' judge
By Joe Johnson -
Published Friday, May 21, 2010
Buzz up!
WATKINSVILLE - An Oconee County jury convicted a woman and her common-law husband Thursday on charges they locked her 12-year-old son naked in a closet, shot him with a pellet gun, pepper-sprayed him and deprived him of food. Richard Hamm Norris Lazarus Walker

Richard Hamm
Norris Lazarus Walker

Catch up on stories about the trial you may have missed:
May 20, 2010 Boy to go into local foster care
May 19, 2010 Parents: Boy was trouble
May 18, 2010 More details of cruelty emerge in abuse trial
May 15, 2010 Boy takes stand, tells of horrific abuse
May 14, 2010 Photos seen at trial show boy's injuries
May 13, 2010 For boy, closet 'his life'
May 12, 2010 Child torture trial set to begin in afternoon


But jurors acquitted Damita Devonna Peak and Norris Lazarus Walker on 20 counts of aggravated assault, finding them guilty on a lesser charge of battery.
Superior Court Judge Steve Jones sentenced both to 40 years in prison, without probation.
The verdict capped a 10-day trial in which jurors heard from the boy and his younger brother, school officials, doctors, police officers and the defendants themselves.
Peak, 36, and Walker, 39, told jurors they punished the boy because he constantly got in trouble and didn't respond to traditional forms of punishment. They used extreme measures because they didn't want him to die from drugs or end up in prison, like other relatives had in Florida, they testified.
Neither expressed remorse for what they did to Peak's son, now 13 and living with his younger brother with an area foster family.
Jones said the trial was the worst child abuse case he's presided over, except for one in which a man and woman were convicted of murder for beating a 10-year-old boy to death a dozen years ago.
"You don't have to have a law degree; you don't have to have a medical degree; you don't have to have a high school diploma to know that was wrong," Jones told the defendants.
"It just disgusted me," he said.
Peak's son might have ended up dead, Jones said, if officials at Rocky Branch Elementary School hadn't noticed signs of abuse and called in child-protective services to remove Jimmy and his brother from the home.
Neither Jimmy - not the victim's real name - nor his brother addressed the judge before he chose a sentence, as victims often do.
The younger boy was too scared to be in the same room as his mother, a victim advocate told Jones, while Jimmy wrote a statement, which the advocate read.
He described bad dreams and other lingering effects of the abuse, yet spoke fondly of Walker and his mother.
"I understand why they did it and I want to say I love them so much and I miss them," Jimmy wrote.
Peak had testified that she began punishing her son when he was 9 or 10, when they lived in Miami, by beating him or making him stay in his room.
She and Walker moved with Jimmy and his younger brother to Georgia in 2006, ending up in Athens two years later when Peak landed a job as a jailer in Walton County, where she was issued handcuffs and pepper spray.
While living at an extended-stay motel off South Milledge Avenue, Peak and Walker made Jimmy stand for hours in the corner with his arms held out, and Walker shot him with a pellet gun when he lowered his arms. They also tied his hands, or handcuffed them, to a clothes bar in the closet so he wouldn't drop his arms.
The family moved at the end of November 2008 to the Wellington Park duplex complex in Bogart, where Jimmy slept on a closet's bare floor with just a Batman blanket each night until his parents were arrested.
Peak and Walker fed him only water and bread, sometimes with peanut butter, while locked up.
In the Bogart home, he urinated in the closet because no one answered his pleas to be let out, and Peak punished him by pepper-spraying Jimmy in the face.
The Oconee County jury convicted Peak and Walker each on 10 counts of false imprisonment, eight counts of second-degree child cruelty, and two counts of battery.
Jurors found Peak guilty of three counts of first-degree child cruelty and convicted Walker on two counts.
They also acquitted them each of 18 counts of aggravated assault, and instead found them guilty of two counts of battery. They also found Peak guilty of simple battery.
Oconee County Sheriff Scott Berry said the verdict was just.
"It spoke to the horror that was inflicted on (Jimmy)," he said.
Peak and Walker still face 17 felony counts in Clarke County Superior Court.
Originally published in the Athens Banner-Herald on Friday, May 21, 2010

Crown Royal Bandit

Me and Bruce were pen pals while he was in the federal penitentiary in Atlanta, but he stopped writing after they moved him to a federal pen in Florida. So, I thought it was time to compile his letters into this story:

Crown Royal Bandit: Life of crime fun while it lasted
By Joe Johnson -
Published Sunday, June 06, 2010
Buzz up!
When he was 17 years old, Bruce Allen Hughes put on his mother's wig, pointed a toy pistol at a bank teller and demanded $1,000. Special An forensic artist’s sketch of Bruce Allen Hughes based on witnesses’ descriptions. A reader called Athens-Clarke police to say the sketch looked like Hughes after the Athens Banner-Herald published it on Feb. 25, 2008. That tip and another one later helped lead authorities to Hughes, who was living in a trailer in Hull.

An forensic artist’s sketch of Bruce Allen Hughes based on witnesses’ descriptions. A reader called Athens-Clarke police to say the sketch looked like Hughes after the Athens Banner-Herald published it on Feb. 25, 2008. That tip and another one later helped lead authorities to Hughes, who was living in a trailer in Hull.

That's how Hughes - aka the "Crown Royal Bandit" - got his start robbing banks in 1977 and became one of the most prolific bank robbers in U.S. history.
View a gallery of photos from Hughes' life of crime.
His run came to an end in 2008 after he robbed a bank in Athens - one of 28 Georgia banks Hughes was convicted of robbing, though he claims responsibility for about 40 more bank heists in other states.
Hughes, now 49, made that claim in a series of letters to the Athens Banner-Herald from federal prison, where he will live out the remainder of his life.
A U.S. District Court judge sentenced him in February to 127 years for the Georgia robberies.
In his letters, Hughes portrays himself as someone who stole from greedy banking institutions to help people in need, but also as someone who simply enjoyed throwing around his ill-gained cash.
He acknowledged that his crimes were wrong and apologized for terrorizing people during his robberies, yet showed no remorse.
"My whole career has basically been dedicated to all who have ever been used or abused by the government or banking industry," Hughes said.
"It was really not about the money, although it was fun spending!" he wrote. "It's about showing Uncle Sam that you can't break the human spirit, that the Big Machine can be had."
Idyllic childhood
As a kid, Hughes lived life as a sort of Huck Finn.
He was born in Indiana and moved with his family to Dade County in Florida, on the fringes of the Everglades. They moved again when he was 11 to be near his grandparents, still near the Everglades but in Naples, on the Gulf of Mexico.
"I've been stomping around the 'Glades most of my life, and saltwater fishing has been my passion, besides bank robbing, that is," Hughes said.
"I was doing 'Crocodile Hunter' stuff, caught gators for sale, along with poisonous and non-poisonous snakes and sold them to the Miami Serpentarium and a lot of other wildlife hot-spots in South Florida," he said.
"My grandfather and father had been taking me fishing off the Naples municipal pier since I was real little, and I took to it like I was born on a reef. It's all I lived for," Hughes said. "My parents' house was on the bay, and I had my first boat at age 12 - a 13-foot, 6-inch Boston whaler with a 35-horse Evinrude" motor.
Hughes spent more time fishing than he did in high school, and he dropped out in the 11th grade, he said.
He wanted nothing to do with his father's electrical company, and didn't go along with his parents' wishes that he become a minister.
"I loved God, Jesus and all the Bible's heroes, but found myself drawn away by the rich kids I was hanging with in school," Hughes said. "From 13 to about 17, I hung with the 'jet-set' kids. There's more millionaires in Naples than anywhere, even back then. Megabucks."
Hughes envied his rich friends and wanted to be just like them.
"That's what led me astray," he said.
Hughes also got what he wanted by committing break-ins, and was twice convicted on burglary charges in Naples in the 1980s. He also was convicted there of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.
Education of a robber
Just before he dropped out of school, Hughes began dating an older woman, a 26-year-old bank teller whom he later moved in with, he said. She was promoted to branch manager.
"She explained all the inner workings of the branch-banking world - not just for robbing purposes, just for conversation. I paid attention," Hughes said. "She explained all the ins and outs behind the counter. She also told me not to worry about (tellers') fright, as they knew what they were getting into.
"I robbed my first bank in 1977 or so," Hughes said. "It was Naples Federal Savings & Loan, the biggest baddest bank in town.
"I walked up wearing one of my mom's wigs - black - and had a toy gun held under a handkerchief," he said. "The gun was a toy pirate's double-barrel flintlock pistol I bought from the Pirates of the Caribbean gift shop at Disney World's Magic Kingdom. I only asked for $1,000 in hundreds, in a bank envelope."
Hughes read in the next day's newspaper about the robbery and chuckled about how he outwitted the police.
"After I robbed the bank I ran behind the building and left the wig, gun and handkerchief behind it," he said. "The CSI team found blonde hairs in the wig, and that's because my mom had shoulder-length blonde hair at the time. I had sandy brown hair. Ha. Ha. They thought it was probably done by a beach-bum surfer."
A criminal's life
Hughes claimed to have robbed more than three dozen banks in the Naples area between 1977 and 1992, and he used the money to attract women.
"I don't know how many girls I had, but I know there were at least 40 banks," he said. "I always hit the banks alone. I told everyone else the money came from my rich parents in Naples."
He had graduated from using a toy gun to a semiautomatic pistol, and his disguise changed from his mother's wig to his "trademark" black ski mask with just eye holes cut out, Hughes said.
"The early years were great, a 15-year party," he said. "I helped many a single mom then and whoever, but was really no Robin Hood. I mainly robbed for me. The needy just were benefited by it."
When he moved in with his bank teller girlfriend, his two cousins and their girlfriends joined them.
"We all shared the rent and each other's girls," he said. "It was real cozy. My cousins sold coke and weed, mostly a lot of coke."
In addition to robbing banks, he held up a couple of drug smugglers in 1982, Hughes said.
"Got a half million and 90 pounds of coke in that job," he said. "Didn't hurt them, just scared 'em out of 10 years though."
The robberies bankrolled a good lifestyle without having to work for it, he said.
"Robbing banks, taking a few babes to Disney World for a week, then going home to a nice, modest yet clean house with property to keep the party going," Hughes said.
He claimed to have robbed a bank in Chula Vista, Calif., in 1992, the same year as his last hold-up in Florida.
Georgia on his mind
Hughes did not explain when or how he wound up in Georgia, but he met a Blairsville woman, Karen Totherow, who soon became his partner in crime and mother of his children.
The first Georgia bank they robbed was in Alpharetta, in 1997, officials said.
Totherow, who Hughes called his "bird dog," went into banks to scout for security guards and the layout, and was the getaway car driver, Hughes said.
"I chose her to help me because she's ballsy, cold as a mackerel," he said.
"She wanted me to shoot one of the head tellers so that I would have a reputation amongst the banking community as a killer," Hughes said. "She said that they would give me all the big money in a hurry from then on."
Hughes never shot anyone, but he did fire his gun to scare people when he robbed banks in Dalton and Woodstock, he said.
He never anticipated a shoot-out with police.
"If it would of come to that, I would have dropped my gun in clear site [sic] and then run, I guess," Hughes said. "If they shot me in the back, oh well."
Totherow helped Hughes rob Georgia banks between May 1997 and December 2006, according to authorities.
The pair had a love-hate relationship, according to Hughes, who said he asked the judge to show leniency when he sentenced Totherow.
"Karen never deserved any of my help," he said. "I saved her for my kids' sake. As bad as she is, she's a half-decent mom. At least she wasn't strung out on booze or drugs."
Authorities nicknamed Hughes the "Crown Royal Bandit" because in his first Georgia bank robberies, he made tellers put the money in the purple cloth bag that the whiskey comes in.
"I started drinking before the robberies to thin the guilt," Hughes said. "I didn't like scaring the panties off pretty tellers, but how else can you get to the money?"
Hughes often announced to people inside the banks that he was only robbing the same people who stole from him, by foreclosing on his home.
Authorities say that was a red herring to throw off investigators.
A new partner
Hughes and Totherow parted ways because she was everything he wasn't, he claimed.
"She's mean, I'm nice. She's greedy, I'm giving to a fault if you ask my mother," Hughes said. "I'm athletic and love the outdoors, she's fat and loves to shop, eat and sit at home. She told me that if she had to go back to work that it was over. I made her go back to work just to get rid of her."
After breaking off his relationship with Totherow, Hughes moved in with a woman in Hull, who was the getaway driver in his final robbery, in February 2008 when Hughes stole $10,390 from Regions Bank on Prince Avenue.
But Christine Verner was a methamphetamine addict and dealer, and when she was arrested for selling drugs to an undercover officer in Madison County, that was the beginning of the end for Hughes' life of crime.
"All the hot girls from around the neighborhood came sniffing around," Hughes said. "They knew Christy was in jail for meth. They also knew I had money, and (I) was very nice about helping them out when they asked. Within days I was entertaining half-a-dozen pretty young women. It reminded me of the old days."
Hughes didn't know that just before and right after the Athens bank robbery, witnesses finally caught a glimpse of him without a mask and were able to describe him well enough for a Georgia Bureau of Investigation forensic artist to draw a sketch.
The Banner-Herald published the sketch on Feb. 25, 2008, prompting a reader to call Athens-Clarke police to say the sketch looked like Hughes, officials said. But authorities still didn't know where to find him until an anonymous tipster called the Madison County Jail to say Verner was living with a bank robber.
Verner admitted to investigators that she was the getaway driver for Hughes in the Athens bank robbery, and heavily armed authorities from Madison and Athens-Clarke counties, the GBI and FBI went to Verner's home in Hull. They found Hughes at that Beverly Road trailer home and arrested him on March 5, 2008.
Hughes claimed he knew the jig was up after Verner was jailed on drug charges, and that he waited to be arrested.
"When Christy got busted for meth - which I am totally against - I knew it was a matter of time before she cracked under the pressure," he said. "But instead of running, I stayed put and waited for the self-righteous clowns. If I ran, they'd probably arrest Karen, stake out my entire family in Florida and kick my dog! So I waited."
Investigators eventually tracked down Totherow, and she pleaded guilty to a single count of conspiracy and was sentenced to five years on probation.
Verner pleaded guilty to one count of bank robbery, and a judge sentenced her to 30 months in prison and five years on parole. She is scheduled to be released Aug. 8.
Cat and mouse
Hughes claimed to have the formula to become a successful bank robber.
"When I started, I told myself I would keep going until they got me," he said. "Along the way I learned you can get away clean. A little common sense and a lot of guts and they could be had!
"It was simple. The best answer is usually the simple one. Use a mask and a real gun. You have to control the room. No fuss and no hero's [sic]. 90 seconds or less. Don't worry about the take as much as the act. Channel your fear to work for you. There's a lot more little factors that give you a 90% chance of a clean get-away. If the general public ever got hold of my style, they would have to change the way banking is conducted immediately."
A prosecutor told the judge who sentenced Hughes that the robber never wore gloves, but he always made sure that when he touched something he twisted or rubbed his hands so that he left smeared fingerprints that couldn't be used to identify him.
Hughes doesn't hide the disdain he has for law enforcement, especially the FBI.
"Little secret, they're not that organized," he said. "There's just a billion of them out there. If they didn't have tipsters, they couldn't function. They didn't catch me, I just got tired and gave up."
Hughes believes he could have excelled in anything he set his mind to.
"I've just wasted a perfectly good life," he said. "I could of been one of the best in any endeavor I chose. I never thought I'd be one of the most prolific bank robbers in U.S. history. It certainly wasn't my goal in life.
"I don't think I've ever heard of anyone robbing 70-plus banks over 30 years without the feds having a clue as to their identity," Hughes said.
He apologized for terrorizing bank employees and customers, but not for stealing.
"I'm sorry I scared some people, but I'm not sorry about abusing the authorities and the banking industry," Hughes said. "Stealing is a sin, but so is setting up people, killing people and foreclosing on people who are trying! When I meet my maker I'll be in line right behind them. I'll apologize then."
Hughes wrote to the Banner-Herald between February and May while he was housed at the U.S. Penitentiary in Atlanta. He has since been moved to a federal prison in Florida.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Gangs in Athens

Gangs in Athens
By Joe Johnson
Retaliatory shootings. Cryptic graffiti. Secret handshakes. Those are among the hallmarks of the modern urban gang, and gang evidence abounds in parts of Athens. Staff reporter Joe Johnson spent three months immersed in the local gang culture to produce a series of nine stories examining what's happening here and why.Signs of a ProblemThe writing is on the wall: Seeming to mock the party line that Athens-Clarke County doesn't have a gang problem is a street gang's "tag," spray-painted some 6 feet high on a wall directly across the street from the Clarke Central High School faculty parking lot.Young Hispanics vulnerableIt's hard enough trying to start a new life in a new country, but many Mexican immigrants newly arrived to Athens have the added burden of trying to keep their children out of gangs.'P-wood' and 'The Duplex'When the New Life Baptist ministry was trying to establish a presence in Pinewood Estates North five years ago, gang members repeatedly broke into the chapel, vandalizing it and tagging the walls with their gang's name, Sur 13.A directory of local street gangsDuring a three-month investigation the Banner-Herald was able to identify the several named gangs.Their side of town - an identity that bindsWhen one of his friends was cut down in a hail of bullets last March, the teen calling himself Taliban Soldier knew there was only one thing to do: He and his fellow west-siders got their guns and went looking for payback. ''If someone is giving you a hard time, your people from the 'hood are going to represent you 100 percent,'' explained the teen, who lives at Jack R. Wells Homes, a public housing complex ensconced in the heart of Athens' west side.Gainesville takes gangs to taskCruising along Atlanta Highway one recent evening, Joe Amerling brings his SUV to a stop and points at the Red Barn pool hall on the other side of the street. "That's where four Mexicans with the BSV were shot by the BSL and MS 13," Amerling said. "One of them died."Violence hits home for family"Mario - Siempre estaras en nuestros corazones." That message - "Mario, you will always be in our hearts" - is tacked to the wall above the tub in Olga Hernandez's bathroom. It is signed by many of the friends left behind by her son, an Athens resident killed at the age of 17 in a gang-related drive-by shooting last year at a birthday party in Gainesville.Resisting gangsThey don't have to step over the painted outline of a dead body any more, but children going for help at an after-school homework program must still walk by the memorial of flowers marking the spot where two men were gunned down last summer. The crime scene is next door to the Boys & Girls Clubs of Athens' Garnett Ridge unit, which provides an after-school program and other services to the predominantly Hispanic neighborhood of rental duplex homes in northwest Athens. Some taking actionMarco Silva once belonged to the Latin Kings, one of the nation's most violent street gangs, but now he's a cop.Club a refuge from the streetIt's 11:30 a.m. on a school day, and here and there in the Jack R. Wells Homes public housing complex youths are gathered in groups of twos and threes and fours, casting wary eyes at passing cars. Down the street from one such group is a building set apart from the other drab brown duplexes by the blue and white trim on its front, and sign stenciled on the door identifying it as the Boys & Girls Clubs of Athens' Jack R. Wells unit. Ex-A-C officer saw writing on the wallGang graffiti was becoming such a problem in Athens several years ago that Jean Horton took up a new hobby - photographing the gangster's "tags." Since then, the hobby has become more of a second vocation for Horton, a Georgia probation officer who believes gangs are firmly entrenched in Athens-Clarke County, and that the graffiti is not just the work of ''wannabes,'' or youngsters mimicking gang behavior.
Published in the Athens Banner-Herald on December 14, 15, & 16, 2003.
Friday, Jan. 21, 2005

Unsolved homicide frustrates parents
ATHENS, Ga. - Family and friends of a slain University of Georgia student gathered at The Arch, the entrance to the university's main campus, to lay flowers and share remembrances of 23-year-old Tara Louise Baker on the fourth anniversary of her slaying.

Wednesday, Jan. 19, 2005
2nd arson in Athens draws reward offer
ATHENS, Ga. - For the second time in less than a month, a reward has been posted in an arson fire that destroyed a home in Athens-Clarke County.

Tuesday, Jan. 18, 2005

Forensic anthropologist puts pieces together
ATHENS, Ga. - Make no bones about it, the career path chosen by Dr. Rick Snow is not for just anyone.

Wednesday, Dec. 15, 2004
Ex-deputy is charged in supervisor's death
ATHENS, Ga. - A former Clarke County sheriff's deputy has been indicted on murder and related charges in the shooting death last month of an Athens poultry processing plant supervisor.

Monday, Sept. 27, 2004

Water safety is especially important after hurricanes
ATHENS - When area rivers surge with floodwaters after a storm, boating safety experts have one word of caution for anyone thinking of riding the rapids: Don't!

Sunday, Sept. 19, 2004

Three UGA students rescued, one missing in churning river
ATHENS - Three University of Georgia students were rescued and a fourth was missing Friday after their boating excursion down the storm-churned waters of the Middle Oconee River turned tragic.

Friday, Sept. 17, 2004
Parents face extortion charge
ATHENS, Ga. - A teacher of deaf students has been charged with having sex with three teens, and the parents of one student have been charged with trying to extort money from her.

Monday, Sept. 6, 2004
Jail suit will be filed despite call system changes
The Clarke County Jail has fully complied with a court order to revamp its telephone call monitoring system so calls by inmates cannot be illegally listened to in violation of the attorney-client privilege, jail officials said last week.

Friday, Aug 20, 2004
Police chief's kin is arrested
ATHENS, Ga. - An investigation into a series of armed robberies has led to the arrest of a child in the Athens police chief's family.

Sunday, June 27, 2004
Indictment alleges G-8 bomb plot
ATHENS, Ga. - Two men were indicted this week in Athens federal court on separate terrorist incidents, one of which involved a threat to destroy the Sea Island resort that played host to world leaders attending the G-8 Summit earlier this month.

Thursday, June 24, 2004
Phone system angers court
ATHENS, Ga. - Officials met this week to discuss a court order to fix a telephone system that allows illegal eavesdropping on conversations between indigent Clarke County jail inmates and their lawyers.

Saturday, May 15, 2004
Dog owner sentenced in maulings
ATHENS, Ga. - An Athens woman whose two pit bull terriers killed neighborhood pets was sentenced Thursday in Athens-Clarke County Municipal Court to spend one day in jail and serve probation for two years.

Police arrest social worker
ATHENS, Ga. - One ex-employee of an Athens-based social-services agency was arrested Thursday on charges of stealing money from a retarded client, the day after another ex-employee was indicted on charges she stole from a blind woman for whom she was caring.

Sunday, March 14, 2004
Lawmakers try to save youth detention center
ATHENS, Ga. - Barring an eleventh-hour breakthrough, the Athens Regional Youth Detention Center will close its doors for good at the end of this month.

Monday, March 8, 2004

Athens intersection to get red-light traffic cameras
ATHENS, Ga. - Drivers whizzing through red lights in Athens may find themselves on camera this summer.

Saturday, Jan. 17, 2004
UGA student convicted of two lesser charges
A Clarke County Superior Court jury Friday found a University of Georgia student guilty of misdemeanor charges stemming from the death last year of a fraternity brother who fell from the defendant's moving pickup.

Monday, Jan. 12, 2004
Experts say man manipulated girls
ATHENS, Ga. - The social organization of the religious sect led by Dwight "Malachi" York appeared to have been structured as an elaborate grooming process for victims used to satisfy the lust of a pedophile, according to experts on child sexual abuse.

Friday, Dec. 26, 2003
Probation officer studies gangs
ATHENS, Ga. - Gang graffiti was becoming such a problem in Athens several years ago that Jean Horton took up a new hobby - photographing the gangster's "tags."

Thursday, Dec. 25, 2003
CPA admits guilt in bank robbery
ATHENS, Ga. - Detectives and FBI agents digging in the back yard of a certified public accountant's house in a fashionable subdivision found more than $10,000 stolen from a bank last week.

Friday, Nov. 7, 2003

Defense raises mental state
ATHENS, Ga. - The mental state of the homeless teenager accused of setting fire to the University of Georgia's Main Library last summer will be an issue should his case go to trial.

Friday, Oct. 24, 2003
Care home under investigation
WINDER, Ga. - Parallel investigations were continuing into alleged abuse of elderly residents of a Winder assisted-living facility, but it remained unclear whether any of the alleged victims are sufficiently competent to be interviewed.

Saturday, Oct. 18, 2003
Facility to face assault inquiry
WINDER, Ga. - A Barrow County assisted-living facility is being investigated on allegations administrators turned a blind eye to staff reports that two elderly female residents were regularly sexually assaulted by a male resident and that a third elderly woman was being physically abused by another resident.

Friday, Oct. 3, 2003
Worker ousted in audit
ATHENS, Ga. - A supervisor at an Athens-based mental health agency has been suspended while state authorities investigate allegations she stole tens of thousands of dollars from mentally disabled clients.

Sunday, Sept. 21, 2003
Athens police suspend accused trainee
ATHENS, Ga. - An Athens-Clarke County police officer trainee has been suspended while under investigation after being accused of raping a security guard at the officer's west Athens apartment.

Wednesday, Sept. 17, 2003
Jury awards $150,000 in hair loss case
ATHENS, Ga. - A Clarke County jury awarded $150,000 last week to an Athens woman who was left mostly bald after a nightmarish visit to a local beauty salon.

Tuesday, Sept. 16, 2003
Commandments display draws suit from ACLU
WINDER, Ga. - In the face of defiant county commissioners, the American Civil Liberties Union is suing Barrow County to have it remove a Ten Commandments display in the county courthouse.

Saturday, Aug 30, 2003
Former deputy is jailed
ATHENS, Ga. - A former Oconee County deputy sheriff and his wife, who schemed to embezzle more than $1 million from an Athens company, have received prison sentences and restitution orders in federal court.

Friday, Aug 22, 2003

Hot Dog Man serves up injunction against UGA
ATHENS, Ga. - The Hot Dog Man is taking the University of Georgia to court.

Saturday, Aug 9, 2003
Woman calls rape a hate crime
ATHENS, Ga. - As an Athens woman pressures the District Attorney's office to seek a hate-crime indictment, the man she accuses of raping her because she is homosexual is attempting to get his life together after resigning as a Gwinnett County deputy sheriff, his attorney says.

Saturday, Aug 2, 2003
Suspect's lawyer delays bond request
ATHENS, Ga. - A lawyer for an Oglethorpe County teenager accused of setting fire to the University of Georgia's Main Library has declined a bond request because the teen is homeless.

Thursday, July 31, 2003

Arrest made in library arson
ATHENS, Ga. - A 19-year-old man has been charged with the July 23 arson fire that caused more than $1.5 million in damage the University of Georgia's Main Library.

Wednesday, July 30, 2003

Police seek witnesses in library arson case
ATHENS, Ga. - Investigators have located and spoken with three potential witnesses to the arson fire that heavily damaged the University of Georgia's Main Library last week, according to UGA Police Chief Chuck Horton.

Saturday, July 26, 2003
UGA fire becomes crime case
ATHENS, Ga. - Arson was to blame for the fire that caused significant damage to the University of Georgia's Main Library on Wednesday evening, according to state Insurance and Safety Fire Commissioner John Oxendine.
Tuesday, May 9, 2006
Mortgage fraud is 'cancer' plaguing the Atlanta area
ATLANTA - Ann Fulmer was suspicious about houses in her Stone Mountain neighborhood that sold for extraordinary prices only to fall badly into disrepair, especially in the late 1990s before the Atlanta metro area real estate boom.

Monday, May 1, 2006
Mortgage fraud makes victims of Athens homeowners
ATHENS, Ga. - When Amanda Senentz bought into the Milford Hills subdivision in December 2003, she envisioned living with nature trails nearby and a clubhouse with a pool across the street.

Saturday, April 22, 2006
Woman indicted in molestation
ATHENS, Ga. - A Clarke County grand jury has indicted a Carlton woman on child molestation and other charges for allegedly having sex with a 15-year-old boy in a public park.

Saturday, Feb. 25, 2006
Man wins suit in police chase
ATHENS, Ga. - A Clarke County jury awarded nearly $134,000 to a 22-year-old Athens college student who claimed an Athens-Clarke County police officer was partly to blame for injuries he suffered when a fleeing suspect crashed into the student's car three years ago.

Friday, Feb. 24, 2006
E-mail transfer at UGA leads to felony charges
ATHENS, Ga. - A 38-year-old Loganville woman has been accused of hacking into the e-mail account of a University of Georgia professor who resigned last year as dean of UGA's Grady College over a sexual harassment allegation.

Wednesday, Feb. 22, 2006
Alcohol arrests at UGA double figure from '05
ATHENS, Ga. - University of Georgia police this year have made twice the number of alcohol-related arrests than they did during the same period in 2005.

Monday, Jan. 16, 2006
Laws against masks carry weight again
ATHENS, Ga. - Legislators passed the law more than half a century ago to fight racist terrorism, but local police and prosecutors are dusting off that same law and using it to prosecute modern-day criminals.

Thursday, Dec. 8, 2005

Clarke County trial is its first under anti-gang statute
ATHENS, Ga. - Street gangs may have formed in Athens more for social status and companionship than for committing crimes, but that doesn't make them any less dangerous, a prosecutor told jurors at the start of the trial of the first person prosecuted in Clarke County under the state's anti-gang law.

Wednesday, Nov. 9, 2005
Body parts are stolen from crypt
ATHENS, Ga. - Thieves broke into a 19th century mausoleum at an historic Athens cemetery and stole a skull and other body parts from two of the caskets in the crypt, Athens-Clarke police said.

Thursday, Oct. 27, 2005
Attorney says crime scene was changed
ATHENS, Ga. - An Athens poultry processing plant employee "executed" a supervisor last November as the two married men argued over a single woman who also worked at Pilgrim's Pride, a prosecutor told jurors Tuesday in opening statements in the trial of Nathaniel Brittian.

Sunday, Sept. 18, 2005
Man kills girlfriend, then self
ATHENS, Ga. - An east Athens man shot and killed his girlfriend and later turned the gun on himself in what Athens-Clarke County police are calling a murder-suicide.

Cameras catch downtown life
ATHENS, Ga. - The officers face a wall of tipsy pedestrians that block the view from one block to the next.

Thursday, Sept. 15, 2005
Man gets deal in raccoon shooting
ATHENS, Ga. - A former University of Georgia student accused of shooting a raccoon that his fraternity brothers then cooked and ate is serving probation in a deal that allows him to avoid a trial and a possible yearlong prison sentence.

Thursday, Sept. 8, 2005

Jury in Athens convicts woman
ATHENS, Ga. - A 52-year-old Winterville woman was found guilty Tuesday of embezzling more than $100,000 from her Athens employer after a week-long trial in Clarke County Superior Court.

Saturday, Aug 27, 2005

Officers battle to stop abuse
ATHENS, Ga. - The floors were so saturated by urine, the woman living in the apartment below had to use buckets to catch the noxious fluids leaking through her ceiling.

Saturday, Aug 20, 2005
Guards peeped, women allege
ATHENS, Ga. - Women working the cosmetics counter of a local department store were spied on by security guards using a hidden camera as the women undressed in their changing room, Belk contract workers allege.

Thursday, Aug 18, 2005
Nuwaubian manor goes up for auction
ATHENS, Ga. - The mansion's rank odor is as foul as the unspeakable deeds done there when occupied by a religious sect leader now serving a 137-year prison sentence on federal child molestation and racketeering charges.

Monday, Aug 1, 2005
Athens police hope cameras will help stop crimes
ATHENS, Ga. - Two men shake hands and part ways on East Clayton Street. A young woman is carried piggyback across North Lumpkin Street. A pair of buddies walk along Broad Street with arms draped over each other's shoulders.

Friday, April 29, 2005

Homeless man not guilty of UGA fire
ATHENS, Ga. - A Clarke County Superior Court jury acquitted a 20-year-old homeless man Thursday of charges he intentionally set a fire that caused about $17 million in damage to the University of Georgia's Main Library in 2003.
Saturday, April 2, 2005
Police charge 3 with fraud
ATHENS, Ga. - Three former employees of an Athens poultry processing plant have been arrested and a fourth is being sought in connection with an alleged conspiracy to defraud the company of nearly $100,000.

Saturday, March 12, 2005
Gang graffiti returns to streets of Athens
ATHENS, Ga. - After a noticeable decrease in gang activity, signs have resurfaced with a vengeance, with gang-related graffiti appearing in parts of Clarke County where it had never been seen - even on the front door of a law enforcement agency in west Athens.

Wednesday, March 9, 2005
Two accused of illegal gambling
ATHENS, Ga. - A woman who ran a series of legitimate noncash poker tournaments in downtown bars has been accused of running illegal card games at her West Athens home where the stakes ran to thousands of dollars.

Monday, Feb. 28, 2005

Schools crack down on gangs
ATHENS, Ga. - Training by police is helping the Clarke County School District combat gangs by helping school officials recognize gang behavior and deal with the problem before it gets out of hand, police and school officials said.

Tuesday, Feb. 22, 2005
Church plans return by Easter
ATHENS, Ga. - Members of the south Athens church damaged in December by an intentionally set fire could return to St. James United Methodist Church in time for Easter services, a church official said.

Wednesday, Feb. 9, 2005
Video, witnesses open Athens murder trial
ATHENS, Ga. - A video recording of a mob scene outside a downtown Athens nightclub captured the gunshot that took the life of a visiting Tennessee teen in November 2003.

Friday, Jan. 28, 2005
Teen robbers had previous arrests
ATHENS, Ga. - An Athens teen who was shot dead Monday during an attempted armed robbery of a rural grocery store had an extensive record of arrests on drug and other charges over the past year, while his younger accomplice had been arrested only once before on a lesser offense.
Sunday, April 29, 2007
Civil rights group backs deputies
ATHENS, Ga. - A Georgia civil rights activist is preparing a campaign to restore deputies to their posts at the Clarke County Jail, claiming they were fired because of their religious beliefs.

Saturday, April 14, 2007
Mental test ordered for teen with bomb
JEFFERSON, Ga. - A juvenile court judge has ordered psychological testing for a Jackson County Comprehensive High School student who threatened to set off a bomb he had strapped to his body when he marched into school Wednesday morning.

Friday, April 13, 2007

School evacuates after teen arrives with bomb
JEFFERSON, Ga. - Nearly 1,700 students were evacuated from Jackson County Comprehensive High School after a 15-year-old arrived with a bomb and threatened to set it off, officials said.

Friday, March 30, 2007
UGA police say arrests for fake IDs won't deter others
ATHENS, Ga. - University of Georgia police may have cracked a fake ID ring, but high demand and lucrative profits means there are more just waiting to be discovered, UGA Police Chief Jimmy Williamson said Wednesday.

Thursday, Feb. 15, 2007
Man arrested in child exploitation
ATHENS, Ga. - An Athens journalist and academic was arrested on child exploitation charges this week after investigators found pornography on his computer, including an infant being sexually assaulted, according to arrest warrants.

Wednesday, Jan. 31, 2007
Ex-deputy fights to regain job
ATHENS, Ga. - A former Clarke County sheriff's deputy spent hours Monday grilling former superiors, colleagues and others in a bid to win back his job after he was fired for practicing a black supremacist cult's beliefs at the jail.

Tuesday, Jan. 23, 2007
Arrests remain high at UGA for alcohol, drugs
ATHENS, Ga. - A year after a University of Georgia freshman died in his dorm room of an overdose of alcohol and drugs, university students haven't changed their habits, according to UGA police.

Thursday, Jan. 18, 2007
Athens gang targeted
ATHENS, Ga. - Athens-Clarke police are hoping to quash a newly identified street gang that they say was involved in a brutal weekend beating before the group grows and causes more serious problems.

Sunday, Dec. 24, 2006

Community outreach is paying off for police
Their duty is to protect and serve, so what does dressing up like Santa, waiting tables for tip money to buy toys and walking neighborhood streets have to do with being a good police officer?

Sunday, Dec. 10, 2006

Dog shot dead while on walk
Athens-Clarke County police said they think a hunter intentionally shot and killed a dog as it walked with its owner along a wooded trail in southeastern Clarke County.

Saturday, Nov. 11, 2006
Professor charged in UGA horse theft
ATHENS, Ga. - An internationally known University of Georgia professor was arrested Thursday on charges that he stole two horses in July from a UGA research farm in Oconee County.

Sunday, Sept. 10, 2006
2 lawyers are targets of robbers
Athens police are looking at similarities in holdup attempts - one successful, one not - of two prominent lawyers Wednesday and Thursday.

Wednesday, Aug 23, 2006
Athens arrests abound
ATHENS, Ga. - Young people packed downtown Athens for the first weekend of University of Georgia's fall semester, keeping both bartenders and jailers hopping.

Tuesday, Aug 15, 2006
Women hit, but suspect is freed
ATHENS, Ga. - Clarke County authorities have questioned, but not arrested, a suspect in an altercation at a McDonald's in which two women were hit by a Jeep in the parking lot.

Sunday, Aug 13, 2006
Court clerk retires after 30 years
ATHENS, Ga. - Mary Hamby had a center stage seat to real-life drama for three decades.

Monday, June 26, 2006
Attorney tries to negate grand jury
ATHENS, Ga. - Grand jurors want to hear from two Clarke County sheriff's deputies who belong to the United Nuwaubian Nation of Moors, a religious sect with black supremacist leanings.

Monday, June 19, 2006

Athens deputies linked to cult
ATHENS, Ga. - In March, Clarke County's chief jailer Brett Hart got a letter from a federal prison.

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Athens grad dies in Iraq
ATHENS, Ga. - A fondly remembered graduate of Clarke Central High School has become the latest area casualty of the war in Iraq.
Thursday, Nov. 8, 2007
Soldier from Georgia avoids court-martial
An Army investigator concluded there isn't enough evidence to court-martial a soldier from Winder, Ga., on a charge of murdering an Iraqi man in June while the soldier's platoon was searching for insurgents outside of Kirkuk.

Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2007
UGA abductions may be related
ATHENS, Ga. --- A Colbert, Ga., man who police arrested last week after he was accused of trying to force his way into a University of Georgia student's apartment has bonded out of jail and isn't due to be arraigned until January.

Wednesday, Oct. 31, 2007
Injured cyclist thanks doctors for his recovery
ATHENS, Ga. - Sam Lane had a surreal reunion Monday at Athens Regional Medical Center.

Saturday, Oct. 27, 2007
Patrons of banks see loss
ATHENS, Ga. - Athens-Clarke police continue to field daily complaints from area bank customers who say crooks have hijacked account information to steal tens of thousands of dollars.

Saturday, Oct. 20, 2007
Program keeps kids out of trouble
FORT GORDON - Keith Atkins fled New Orleans with his family after Hurricane Katrina and settled in Gwinnett County. Even then, his life hit some "bumps in the road."

Saturday, Oct. 13, 2007
Man flees with worker on hood
ATHENS, Ga. - An Animal Control employee had the ride of her life Thursday, though she didn't enjoy the terrifying trip, Athens-Clarke police said.

Saturday, Oct. 6, 2007
Man sought in UGA attacks
ATHENS, Ga. - Investigators might know the identity of the man who posed as a taxi driver to abduct young women from downtown Athens in order to sexually assault them, an Athens-Clarke police official says.

Saturday, Sept. 15, 2007

Wreck kills teacher
ATHENS, Ga. - Overwhelming grief descended on Malcom Bridge Middle School near Bogart this week as word spread that a popular and respected teacher had died in a car crash Wednesday.

Wednesday, Sept. 12, 2007

Home's 2nd burglar is shot dead
COMER, Ga. - James "Dink" Hendricks' home had been vacant since the 82-year-old widower died in June, and on Friday someone took the opportunity to break into the house on the fringe of downtown Comer to steal cash, jewelry and other valuables.

Wednesday, Sept. 5, 2007
Murder charges will stand
ATHENS, Ga. - A Clarke County Superior Court judge has denied a woman's request that he dismiss attempted murder charges against her.

Friday, July 20, 2007
Georgia soldier charged in death of Iraqi national
ATHENS, Ga. - The Army announced on Thursday that a Georgia soldier has been charged with murdering an Iraqi national last month.

Sunday, July 1, 2007

Club tackles gangs' impact
ATHENS - They know people whose scars come from gang shootings. They know gang colors and signs. They know which gangs are rivals.

Friday, June 22, 2007
UGA student accused of threats gets bond
ATHENS, Ga. - A former University of Georgia student who scared a professor and authorities with talk of guns and violence two weeks after the Virginia Tech massacre bonded out of jail Wednesday.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007
Simulator trains Athens officers
ATHENS, Ga. - A woman cowered on the living room couch, curled up against her agitated husband, who pointed a gun at her.

Sunday, June 17, 2007
Crime costs country billions
ATHENS, Ga. - Violent crime goes up one year and down another, but its cost to society remains consistently high, according to a University of Georgia researcher.

Monday, June 11, 2007
Man shocked by wife's arrest in murder plot
ATHENS, Ga. - Wallace Davis was playing guitar with his band at an Athens VFW one Saturday night in 1959 when a woman approached him during a break and changed his life forever.

Saturday, May 19, 2007
Cars of 2 men slain spotted
ATHENS - Cars belonging to Norcross brothers found dead in a western Clarke County manhole last week were seen outside a pool hall in DeKalb County after the two men went missing last month, according to a Gwinnett County police report.

Monday, May 14, 2007
Contract killings aren't new to Athens
ATHENS - Contract hits aren't just the stuff of movies, plot lines for The Sopranos or big-city tabloid headlines.

Sunday, May 13, 2007
Worker finds bodies in manhole
ATHENS, Ga. - The bodies of two unidentified men were found in a manhole Friday at a subdivision under construction in western Clarke County, Athens-Clarke police said, and authorities are investigating the deaths as homicides.
Thursday, May 28, 2009
Police search warrants offer clues into Zinkhan shooting spree

Sunday, May 17, 2009
Profilers assess Zinkhan case

Saturday, May 16, 2009
Still questions in Zinkhan case

Friday, May 15, 2009
Zinkhan'd body to be cremated, sent to son
George Zinkhan III’s body likely will be cremated today and his remains flown tomorrow to his son in Utah, Clarke County Coroner Sonny Wilson said.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009
Marital problems preceded killings
ATHENS, Ga. --- University of Georgia professor George Zinkhan III was having marital problems but didn't leave a note explaining why he shot and killed his wife and two of her male friends, investigators said at a news conference Tuesday.

Friday, May 8, 2009
Police fear tipping off Zinkhan

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Police release sketches of Zinkhan without hair, goatee
Former University of Georgia professor George Zinkhan III may have changed his appearance as he continues to elude authorities for more than a week, police said today.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Dutch trip: Suspected murderer's plans appeared sinister at first

Tuesday, April 28, 2009
Shooting suspect's passport is missing
Federal authorities have charged a University of Georgia professor accused in a weekend shooting spree with trying to flee, learning Monday that he had a plane ticket to travel to Europe and his passport is missing.

Friday, March 13, 2009
Hefty load of marijuana stashed in Athens warehouse

Wednesday, Dec. 3, 2008
Father guilty in biker's death
WATKINSVILLE, Ga. --- An Oconee County Superior Court jury convicted a Bogart man Monday of murder and aggravated assault for shooting a motorcyclist in the back and killing him last winter.

Thursday, Oct. 2, 2008
Thieves hit during games
ATHENS, Ga. --- As Bulldogs fans enjoyed the season's opening game at Sanford Stadium, thieves slipped into eight University of Georgia fraternity houses and two off-campus student homes and made off with thousands of dollars' worth of electronics, Athens-Clarke police said.

Wednesday, Aug 27, 2008
Ex-professor dies in fire
ATHENS, Ga. --- A retired University of Georgia art professor died Monday when his house in the Cobbham historic neighborhood near downtown went up in flames.

Thursday, July 3, 2008
UGA football player booked into jail
A University of Georgia football player was booked into the Clarke County Jail this morning on a felony charge stemming from a fight last weekend that seriously injured another UGA student.

Saturday, Jan. 19, 2008
Vigil takes on new cause
The family of slain University of Georgia law student Tara Louise Baker will hold vigil at the UGA Arch today for the sixth time since the 23-year-old was murdered Jan. 19, 2001 -- but this time they will be praying not only for justice.

Saturday, Jan. 5, 2008

Awake from coma, hurt officer says first words
ATHENS, Ga. --- An Athens-Clarke police officer who was nearly stabbed to death last month and spent three weeks in a coma spoke her first words this week, telling her mother she loved her.

Thursday, Jan. 3, 2008
Son arrested in slaying of father, grandfather
A Decatur man told a doctor and police he had suicidal and homicidal thoughts soon before his father-- Clarke Central High School Assistant Principal Miller Jordan Jr. -- and grandfather were killed, an Alabama police chief said Wednesday.

Wednesday, Jan. 2, 2008
Judge to decide extradition
An Alabama judge could decide as early as today whether to extradite a Decatur man accused of stabbing to death his grandfather and father, Clarke Central Assistant Principal Miller Jordan Jr., then fleeing south.

Tuesday, Jan. 1, 2008

Educator's son sought in deaths
ATHENS, Ga. --- The son of Clarke Central High School Assistant Principal Miller Jordan Jr. is being sought by police for allegedly stabbing his father and grandfather to death Sunday at the educator's home in DeKalb County.

Hit man is granted parole on 12th try
ATHENS, Ga. --- A convicted hit man walked out of prison last week, 30 years after he murdered Athens businessman Theodore "T.K." Harty.

Saturday, Dec. 29, 2007
Stabbing suspect awaits evaluation
ATHENS, Ga. --- State doctors are examining a man to see whether he is mentally fit to stand trial on charges he nearly stabbed an Athens-Clarke police officer to death earlier this month.

Thursday, Nov. 15, 2007

Player's arrest adds to Georgia's woes
ATHENS, Ga. --- University of Georgia police searched a starting basketball player's dorm room looking for marijuana Tuesday, and instead found an illegal knife that landed the junior shooting guard in jail on felony weapons charges.
Monday, Aug 31, 2009
Woman set afire by boyfriend dies
ATHENS, Ga. -- A 42-year-old woman died in an Augusta hospital Saturday, 12 days after her boyfriend allegedly doused her with kerosene and set her on fire.

Thursday, Aug 27, 2009
Burn victim clings to life; alleged assailant still held
A 42-year-old Athens woman who was doused with kerosene and set on fire more than a week ago remained on life support at a hospital in Augusta on Wednesday, her daughter said.

Friday, Aug 21, 2009
Family break-in victim while woman in Augusta burn unit

Wednesday, Aug 12, 2009
Former Athens cop arrested in theft
Authorities on Tuesday arrested a former Athens-Clarke police officer who allegedly stole a high-tech cell phone from a University of Georgia student while investigating a report of a distraught person in the student's apartment.

Saturday, Aug 8, 2009
Athens crime surge worries returning UGA students

Friday, Aug 7, 2009

Inspection of foreclosed house turns up grenade
Foreclosure specialists Mike Seger and Jackie Quig never know what they'll find when they check on a house that a bank plans to put on the market.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Former storefront preacher sentenced to life

Wednesday, July 1, 2009
Police say mauled Athens teen might have provoked dogs

Friday, June 26, 2009
Four held in gang clashes

Thursday, June 25, 2009
Georgia Theatre fire probe inconclusive

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Fire guts historic Georgia Theatre
Fire gutted the historic Georgia Theatre in downtown Athens on Friday morning, and authorities don't expect to enter the building until today to begin looking for the cause.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Ex-sheriff, son-in-law arrested in beating

Tuesday, June 9, 2009
Athens judge mentioned for federal bench

Friday, May 29, 2009

Wife's affair played role in killings, papers show
ATHENS, Ga. --- Former University of Georgia professor George Zinkhan III -- who shot and killed his wife and two others April 25 -- apparently was preparing for a divorce, according to court records.
Monday, Dec. 7, 2009
Zinkhan file described cold-blooded killer
ATHENS, Ga. --- He held a prestigious post at the University of Georgia, but was moody and aloof -- and in the end, a cold-blooded killer.

Sunday, Dec. 6, 2009

GBI releases Zinkhan case file
ATHENS, Ga. – He won accolades from peers and held a prestigious post at the University of Georgia, but liked to play by his own rules, was moody and aloof - and in the end, a cold-blooded killer.

Friday, Dec. 4, 2009
Georgia player suspended indefinitely

Wednesday, Dec. 2, 2009
Fake theft report leads to former cop's arrest
A former Athens-Clarke police officer was arrested Tuesday on charges he wrote a fake theft report and used it to bilk a credit union last year, months before he was fired for an unrelated domestic dispute, Athens-Clarke police said.

Saturday, Nov. 7, 2009

Forensic investigator says work vital to police
ATHENS, Ga. --- MariaTeresa Tersigni-Tarrant donned a harness, clipped it to a rope and made her way down Lookout Mountain to the spot where someone found human skeletal remains last April.

Sunday, Nov. 1, 2009
Athens' strategy cuts burglaries
ATHENS, Ga. – Police aren't declaring victory yet, but a steady decline in burglaries in recent months suggests they've gotten a handle on the problem in what promises to be a record-setting year for burglaries in Athens-Clarke County.

My Story Archive

Friday, Feb. 26, 2010
Moreno cleared in Athens bar fight
ATHENS, Ga. -- Police have cleared NFL running back Knowshon Moreno of any wrongdoing in a fight last weekend at a bar in downtown Athens.
By Joe Johnson

Friday, Feb. 12, 2010
Thief struck while family member was in hospital
An Athens man will serve 10 years in prison for breaking into a home last summer while the residents were visiting a relative who was fighting for her life in an Augusta hospital.
By Joe Johnson

Tuesday, Jan. 26, 2010
Rape foiled; Victim turns out to be man dressed as woman

Tuesday, Dec. 29, 2009
Robbery suspect shoots own leg

Sunday, Dec. 20, 2009
Members of Nuwaubian sect seek York's release from prison
ATHENS, Ga. – Followers of convicted child molester and sect leader Dwight "Malachi" York are bombarding officials at a federal maximum security lock-up with fake documents that seek to free him from a 135-year prison term. The documents, some stamped by Athens-Clarke notaries, claim York has been falsely imprisoned since 2004 and should be released because he is an African diplomat, officials said.

Thursday, Dec. 10, 2009
Clarke mother, stepfather indicted in torture of boy

Wednesday, Dec. 9, 2009
Former Oglethorpe County sheriff cleared in assault
LEXINGTON - An Oglethorpe County grand jury declined to indict the county's former longtime sheriff on charges he and his son-in-law beat a man with a baseball bat at his daughter's home in Comer.