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APS educators start turning themselves in

Information from the AJC was used in this report


The first two Atlanta Public School teachers plan to surrender at the Fulton County jail around daybreak, starting what is expected to be a long march of indicted educators.

35 former Atlanta public school employees have been ordered to give themselves up after the grand jury handed up its indictments in the CRCT cheating scandal.

If the educators time it right, they might not have to spend any time in jail before a trial. Some have made arrangements for bond and arrived at the jail early enough to be processed before court sessions start.

“We plan on surrendering Monday morning around 7 or 7:30,” said attorney Gerald Griggs, who represents teachers Starlette Mitchell and Angela Williamson. “We have made arrangements for bond. That’s why they are turning in so early.”

Griggs says the two teachers hope to make the 11 a.m. first-appearance calendar for the judge at the jail Monday.

The 65-count indictment returned Friday alleges racketeering, false statements and other charges related to alleged cheating on standardized test scores and the covering up of those actions.

The educators have until Tuesday to turn themselves in. Once processed in the jail, they will have to go before a magistrate, where bond is discussed.

While some teachers might be able to avoid jail time by meeting bond, Retired Atlanta school Superintendent Beverly Hall will have to bring a lot of cash with her.

The grand jury said Hall’s bond should be set at $7.5 million, but the judge can set a lesser amount.

Clearly furious at Hall, District Attorney Paul Howard made it clear the Fulton County grand jury that indicted her along with 34 others in the CRCT cheating scandal wanted to make sure she stays behind bars.

“This is their recommendation: $7.5 million for Dr. Hall,” Howard said during a news conference Friday.

“Bond cannot be placed at a prohibitive amount. If it is, it is unconstitutional,” said WSB legal expert Ron Carlson.

However, Carlson says one of the allegations in the indictment is witness intimidation. That, he said, could play a factor when a magistrate sets bail for Dr. Hall, sometime between now and the end of business tomorrow.

Investigators concluded that Hall, who retired from APS in July 2011, knew or should have known about cheating.

Bonuses for Hall and top administrators were the rewards for improved test scores.

Hall is charged with one count of violating Georgia’s Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organization Act and four other charges, which could mean up to 40 years in prison if she is convicted. The indictment portrays her at the center of the alleged wrongdoing that resulted in criminal charges against 34 other people, including the highest levels of the Hall administration.

Hall’s lawyer, Richard Deane, a former U.S. attorney, could not be reached for comment Saturday, but he said in a statement released Friday that the former superintendent denies involvement in any cheating on the CRCT and has done nothing wrong.

Prosecutors said those indicted Friday are likely facing their first experience with the criminal justice system and being accused of a crime.

The prison sentence for a racketeering conviction is five to 20 years. The other crimes listed in the indictment — false statements and writings, false swearing, theft by taking and influencing witnesses — have prison sentences of one to five years.

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  • During one of Jordan Spieth's many low points Sunday in the British Open, his caddie reminded him of a photo from a Mexico beach holiday two weeks ago that showed him in All-Star company that included Michael Phelps and Michael Jordan. The message: 'You belong in that group.' Spieth left little doubt with a closing performance that ranks among the greatest finishes in major championship history. Trailing for the first time all weekend at Royal Birkdale — and lucky it was only one stroke thanks to a shot from the driving range — the 23-year-old Texan followed with a birdie-eagle-birdie-birdie stretch that allowed him to close with a 1-under 69 and win the British Open by three shots over Matt Kuchar. Spieth captured the third leg of the career Grand Slam and heads to the PGA Championship next month with a chance to be the youngest to win them all. 'This is as much of a high as I've ever experienced in my golfing life,' Spieth said. And it all started in a spot so dire it looked as though he would endure another major meltdown. The break of the tournament — and a moment that will rate alongside Seve Ballesteros making birdie from the car park when he won at Royal Lytham & St. Annes in 1979 — was when Spieth discovered the range was part of the course. His tee shot was so far to the right on the par-4 13th hole that it sailed some 75 yards from the fairway and settled in thick grass on a dune so steep he could hardly stand up, let alone take a swing. The only smart option was to take a one-shot penalty for an unplayable lie. And that's when Spieth showed his golfing brain is as valuable as any club in his bag. He had the presence to ask if the driving range was out of bounds. It wasn't, which allowed him to go back in a straight line from the flag until he was on the range among the equipment trucks. After getting free relief from them, he still faced a blind shot over the dunes to a hole littered by pot bunkers. He hit 3-iron just short of a bunker near the green , pitched over it to about 7 feet and made what he considers the most important putt of the day to escape with bogey. And then came the finishing kick like Phelps, the go-ahead jumper like Jordan. Spieth hit 6-iron to the 14th that landed in front of the flag and came within inches of an ace, leading to a short birdie putt to regain the lead. On the par-5 15th, he rolled in a 50-foot eagle putt and playfully barked at caddie Michael Greller to pick it out of the cup. 'Go get that,' he said, pointing to the hole. And he wasn't done. Spieth rolled in a 30-foot putt across the 16th green for a two-shot lead, and he kept that margin by pouring in a 7-foot putt to match birdies with Kuchar. The final putt for par was a tap-in, as easy a shot as he had all day. 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'I put a lot of pressure on myself unfortunately, and not on purpose, before the round today, just thinking this is the best opportunity that I've had since the '16 Masters,' he said. 'And if it weren't to go my way today, then all I'm going to be questioned about and thought about and murmured about is in comparison to that. And that adds a lot of pressure to me. 'Closing today was extremely important for the way I look at myself.' Kuchar, playing in the final group of a major for the first time, could only watch. He had a one-shot lead after 13 holes, played the next four holes with two birdies and two pars and found himself two shots behind and out of luck. Kuchar walked off the green to find his wife and two sons waiting, a surprise because they had been in Colorado the day before, and it added to the emotions. 'It's crushing. It hurts. And it's an excitement and a thrill to have played well, put up a battle, put up a fight,' said Kuchar, who closed with a 69. 'I can only control what I do, how I play. Jordan is a great champion and certainly played that way in the finishing stretch today. It was impressive stuff. All you can really do is sit back, tip your cap and say, 'Well done.' And it was certainly a show that he put on.' Zach Johnson, Justin Thomas and Rickie Fowler were among those who waited by the 18th to watch Spieth capture yet another major. Johnson won at St. Andrews two years ago, when Spieth missed the playoff by one shot in his bid for the calendar Grand Slam. Spieth drank wine from the jug that year, which he was told was bad luck for anyone wanting to possess the trophy one day. 'I started to believe them a bit through nine holes today,' he said. 'It feels good to have this in my hands.' From the driving range to the claret jug, Spieth put himself in hallowed territory just four days before his 24th birthday. Gene Sarazen in 1923 was the only other player with three majors before turning 24. Spieth won for the third time this year, moved to No. 2 in the world and already has 11 victories on the PGA Tour. Li Haotong of China shot a 63 and finished third at 6-under 274. He was on the practice range in case the leaders came back to him, and it was odd to see Spieth join him there as he tried to figure out how to get out of his jam. Moments later, when he heard one massive roar after another, Spieth delivered the answer.
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  • The mother of a 5-year-old boy who drowned Friday while attending a day camp in south Fulton County, Georgia, broke down Monday morning as she talked about her son’s death. “I paid them to kill my baby,” Ayisat Idris-Hosch, the mother of Benjamin 'Kamau' Hosch III, said during a press conference at her attorney’s office. >> Read more trending news Kamau and other children at Camp Cricket Summer Day Camp were taken for lunch near a waterfall and rock ledge at the Cochran Mill Nature Center in Chattahoochee Hills on Friday, said Ryan Julison, a spokesman for the law offices of Stewart, Seay & Felton.  According to a statement from the law firm, the children were allowed, without prior parental consent, to slide on a waterfall and swim. Kamau could not swim, Julison said in the statement. “Kamau’s parents would not have allowed him to slide on a waterfall or swim without his life jacket,” he said. Kamau went missing for up to 45 minutes, Julison said. Fairburn police assisted Chattahoochee Hills police in the search for the child, Deputy Chief Anthony Bazydlo told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Attempts to reach Chattahoochee Hills police have been unsuccessful so far. A volunteer discovered Kamau in a small pool of water, according to reports. The Fulton County Medical Examiner’s Office early Monday confirmed his death with The AJC. Kamau’s parents and their attorney spoke about their son’s death Monday morning during a press conference at their attorney’s office. “This isn’t an accident,” Atlanta attorney L. Chris Stewart said. “This is gross, insane negligence.' The investigation into the incident is ongoing.