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Local Politics

    A former Roswell councilman who was accused of having a long-term sexual relationship with a minor was indicted Tuesday in DeKalb County. Kent Igleheart, who resigned from the city council in November, was indicted on 15 counts of sexual exploitation of children and one count of furnishing alcohol to a minor. Igleheart, 54, spent 11 days in jail after he was first arrested by DeKalb County Police in October. He was arrested again Tuesday in Gwinnett County on a Grand Jury warrant following his indictment on additional charges. When Igleheart was arrested at Northlake Mall last fall, he had allegedly rented a room at a nearby Days Inn where he intended to take the girl, who was 17 at the time of his arrest. A statement from the District Attorney’s office said Igleheart’s relationship with the girl began in February 2014, when she was 14. He allegedly posed as a teenage boy, met the girl online and obtained sexually explicit images and videos of her. Igleheart revealed his age and identity years later, after meeting the girl in person, and allegedly lured her into a relationship, authorities said. According to a warrant, Igleheart and the girl had chatted on the app Kik for several years, where Igleheart had asked the girl to send him photos of her breasts, genitals and buttocks. The arrest came after the girl confided in her mother about the relationship. Igleheart is currently being held in the DeKalb County Jail. He will likely be arraigned in May, a spokesperson for the DA’s office said. Roswell residents will vote April 18 to fill Igleheart’s City Council seat. Lori Henry faces Marie Willsey in a runoff.
  • Election officials say early voting begins Monday in Georgia's 6th Congressional District.   Secretary of State Brian Kemp says voters should contact their county elections offices for specific information on the early voting process. State law requires that polls be open during normal business hours during the early voting period.   Polls also will be open Saturday, April 8.   More than a dozen candidates are competing in the April 18 contest to fill the seat representing many of Atlanta's northern suburbs and formerly held by Tom Price. Price, a Republican, is now secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services.   Georgia requires a so-called 'jungle primary' to fill congressional vacancies. The top two vote-getters, regardless of party, move to a June 20 runoff.
  • Two Gwinnett County sheriff’s deputies were arrested this week, accused of stealing county property — but officials aren’t saying what, exactly, that property was. The arrests, meanwhile, mark the seventh and eighth times that a Gwinnett deputy has been charged with a crime since 2012. Cpl. Ronnie Rodriquez and and Deputy Jason Cowburn both turned themselves in Wednesday and have since been released on bond, sheriff’s office spokeswoman Shannon Volkodav said. Rodriquez, a 14-year veteran of the sheriff’s office, was charged with felony theft by taking. Cowburn, an 11-year sheriff’s office veteran, was charged with theft by receiving stolen property.  Both men were also charged with violation of oath of public officer.  “The arrests came after it was discovered that on Saturday, March 18th, Rodriquez took unused property from a supply storage area without authorization and delivered some of the items to Cowburn,” Volkodav said in a news release.  Citing the ongoing investigation, authorities did not reveal what kind of property was allegedly stolen. Arrest warrants for Roriquez and Cowburn also did not specify what was taken, though the property was valued between $1,500 and $5,000. March 18 was a Saturday. The theft allegedly took place between 8 and 10:30 a.m. “Sheriff Butch Conway expects every member of his staff to follow the law, both on duty and off,” Volkodav said. “Our deputies are not above the law and are expected to follow it. It is a serious breach of trust any time that we learn that one has not and it is not tolerated.” Channel 2 Action News reported that Roriquez and Cowburn are on administrate leave but have also been served with a “notice of intent to terminate.” MORE: Internet site with child porn sends Gwinnett man to prison MORE: Gwinnett Place Mall evacuated after store fire MORE: More details emerge about Julio Jones’ Mall of Georgia mega project Their arrests continue a recent trend of Gwinnett deputies being accused of breaking the law.  Deputy Michael Lomax resigned in November after being arrested on child molestation and sodomy charges. He’s accused of having sexual encounters with a 13-year-old boy. Five other sheriff’s deputies have also been arrested since 2012, including: Terry Henderson, who was accused of sexually assaulting an inmate he was transporting through south Georgia;  Trenell Bullock, who was arrested after co-workers allegedly found methamphetamine inside his home; Dennis Day, who was accused of inappropriately touching three inmates; Liza Ziglar, who was accused of having a sexual relationship with a female inmate; and Deputy Duone Clark, who was accused of sexually assaulting a transgender inmate.
  • Former DeKalb County Commissioner Sharon Barnes Sutton filed another lawsuit Tuesday against the DeKalb Board of Ethics, saying it should be dissolved. Sutton’s lawsuit accuses DeKalb Ethics Officer Stacey Kalberman of improperly advocating for legislation to change the appointment process of Board of Ethics members. Rep. Vernon Jones, D-Lithonia, made similar allegations against Kalberman in an ethics complaint filed last week. Sutton originally sued the Board of Ethics in November 2015 as she faced ethics charges alleging she misspent public money. A judge hasn’t yet ruled on the first lawsuit, which argues that Board of Ethics members shouldn’t be appointed by private organizations. Kalberman and the board’s attorney, Darren Summerville, declined to comment Tuesday.
  • Henry County District Attorney Darius Pattillo said Tuesday he will seek the death penalty against two men charged with shooting to death four people at a home in a rural part of the county. A first hearing was set for Tuesday morning for Jacob Cole Kosky and Matthew Baker Jr. but was rescheduled for April 11 at 1:30 p.n. to allow time for Baker to find another attorney. Baker’s attorney withdrew Monday because he does not handle death penalty cases. Pattillo told a packed courtroom Tuesday that “the state is going to serve him today .(with plans) to seek the death penalty.” Pattillo told Judge Archer McGarity that he had filed his intention in court Monday. Baker was brought into the courtroom in shackles. Patillo served Baker papers that informed him that the state is seeking the death penalty as Baker’s parents looked on from the back of the courtroom. Baker’s attorney recently withdrew from the case. Kosky, who has an attorney, did not appear in court. The pair were indicted in January on multiple charges. Kosky, 23, was indicted on four counts of malice murder, eight counts of felony murder, four counts of aggravated assault, one count of possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony, one count of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon and one count of felony theft by taking. Baker, 19, was indicted on four counts of malice murder, four counts of felony murder, four counts of aggravated assault, and one count of possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony. On Oct. 26, the two men attended a bonfire and gathering at a home on Moccasin Gap Road in south Henry. The pair left the home at one point during the party. They returned with guns and allegedly began firing Four people were shot. Three people were found dead inside the home in the early hours of Oct. 27. The dead were Matthew Hicks, 18; Keith Gibson, 29 and Sophia Bullard, 20. The fourth victim, 20-year-old Destiny Olinger was airlifted to Grady Memorial Hospital where she died two days later. Three other people at the party were charged with misdemeanor obstruction: Jacob Williams, 18, of McDonough, Kayla Head, 21, of McDonough and Brooke Knight, 19, of Locust Grove - were charged with misdemeanor obstruction for accused of not cooperating with police.
  • Georgia lawmakers head into the final two weeks of the legislative session with a lot of unfinished business, including a state budget for the coming financial year. The General Assembly plans to adjourn on March 30, with only five days of floor votes scheduled by the House and Senate before wrapping up the session. Here's a look at some of the closely watched proposals: GUNS ON CAMPUS The Senate could vote this week to allow licensed gun owners to carry concealed handguns on public college campuses. The measure would allow anyone age 21 and up to carry a concealed handgun on campus with a state-issued permit. Student housing, sports facilities and child care facilities would be exempt. Georgia's Republican Gov. Nathan Deal vetoed a similar bill last year, but hasn't given a firm response to lawmakers' latest attempt. Senate approval would send the bill back to the House, which approved a version earlier this month on party lines. The Senate added an exemption for buildings where high school-age students attend classes at technical colleges under a state program. 2018 BUDGET The budget-writing process has remained uncontroversial this year, with few major differences in the $49 billion proposals advanced by the House and Senate. Both chambers have agreed on 2 percent salary increases for teachers and some other state employees and a 20 percent increase for law enforcement officers with state agencies, including the State Patrol. The plan for the financial year starting July 1 also includes more than $1 billion to finance construction projects around the state, including for local schools and colleges, a new crime lab in Savannah and completion of a new campus for Lanier Technical College in Hall County. A state budget is the only piece of legislation that lawmakers are constitutionally required to approve each year. Leaders from each chamber are expected to present their compromise budget proposal Monday morning. STRUGGLING SCHOOLS The Senate's Education Committee plans to vote Monday afternoon on a bill giving the state more power to intervene in struggling schools. The House has already passed a version of the bill creating a 'chief turnaround officer' to work with struggling schools. The new position would be appointed by the State Board of Education, whose members are appointed by the governor, with input from the elected state superintendent and education groups. The bill still prescribes dramatic consequences for schools that show no improvement after two years of state intervention or that refuse a 'turnaround' contract with the state. In both cases, state officials could decide to remove staff, turn the school into a charter or allow parents to enroll their children elsewhere. State Sen. Lindsey Tippins, R-Marietta, has made several changes to the Senate version, including giving schools an additional year to make progress before those consequences can kick in. OPIOID TREATMENT A series of bills introduced by each chamber aim to address the growing opioid epidemic. Two bills would legalize over-the-counter sale of the overdose reversal drug naloxone. Other bills will expand the Prescription Drug Monitoring Program, which aims to prevent doctor-hopping and weed out physicians who are over prescribing. Lawmakers want to require all physicians to register and use the database; currently, participation is voluntary. Another bill will increase regulations on narcotic treatment programs that use drugs such as methadone to treat opioid addicts. MEDICAL CANNABIS The House and Senate recently negotiated a compromise to expand access to medical cannabis oil. Under the new proposal, six new diagnoses will be added to the list of qualifying conditions for medical cannabis oil including autism, AIDS, Tourette's syndrome, and Alzheimer's disease. Additionally, anyone in a hospice program, regardless of diagnosis, will be allowed access to marijuana oil that's low on THC, the chemical responsible for the marijuana high. The revised bill has the approval in leadership in both chambers but has yet to be approved by either in its current form. CAMPUS SEXUAL ASSAULT A House proposal limiting colleges' disciplinary hearings on sexual violence still awaits action in the Senate. Advocacy groups that work with crime victims warn that it will discourage reporting of sexual assault and clash with federal requirements for campuses under civil rights law. Supporters, including sponsoring Rep. Earl Ehrhart, R-Powder Springs, argue that campus proceedings have violated the rights of students accused of assault. Ehrhart wants colleges to notify law enforcement and let them decide whether to investigate or recommend criminal charges. A Senate subcommittee plans to consider the bill for the first time on Tuesday. 'SANCTUARY' CAMPUS The Senate could vote this week on a bill revoking state funding for scholarships and research if any private colleges don't cooperate with federal immigration authorities. Senate approval would send the bill to the governor. The House approved the bill last month on a party-line vote. A number of colleges across the country have embraced the 'sanctuary campus' label since President Donald Trump's election, but none are in Georgia. Ehrhart, who sponsored the bill in the House, said he wants to keep it that way. BEER AND LIQUOR SALES The Senate will likely send a bill to the governor this week allowing craft breweries and distilleries to sell directly to their customers. Those businesses are currently regulated by prohibition-era laws that prohibit direct sales by requiring the manufacturers to go through a distributer.
  • Two of Georgia’s most competitive schools – Georgia State and Augusta universities – will consider admitting immigrants living in the U.S. without legal status, starting in the spring of next year, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution has learned. That will leave three top Georgia colleges and universities that do not admit such students under a controversial state rule: the University of Georgia, Georgia Tech and Georgia College & State University. Called policy 4.1.6, the rule has prompted a series disruptive demonstrations and a federal lawsuit. The Board of Regents announced the change in a prepared statement sent exclusively to the AJC this weekend, saying it is the result of a review officials began in connection with the court battle. Augusta and Georgia State universities are making the change under the policy based on their most recent admissions data, according to the board, “because they have admitted all academically qualified applicants through general admissions during the last two years.” But the peaceful protests targeting that policy will not stop until it is repealed along with another rule – policy 4.3.4 — that bars immigrants without legal status from paying in-state tuition rates in Georgia, said Laura Emiko Soltis, executive director of Atlanta-based Freedom University, which provides tuition-free college preparation classes for immigrants affected by the state’s policies. “This is a very, very small Band-Aid on what is the larger wound of educational segregation in the South,” Soltis said. “We will keep on fighting until both policies 4.1.6 and 4.3.4 are rightfully lifted and all young people who are academically qualified have equal access to education.”
  • Hillary Clinton won over Cobb County's voters in her loss to Donald Trump in the state of Georgia. The fourth-most populated county in the state voted soundly Republican last election. This time, Clinton won Cobb by 6,814 voters, according to the county elections website with all precincts reporting at 11:58 p.m. In all, 326,424 people voted in Cobb. With 161,112 of those votes coming during early voting, Libertarian Gary Johnson earned 14,406 votes. Clinton supporters throughout Election Day were confident she'd win not on the state but the whole election.
  • Nearly 1,000 Cobb County voters cast their in-person ballots the first chance they could this election. The first three hours of Monday — the start of early voting in Georgia — saw that many, and even more in line. Some voters came out because they were going to be out of town for Nov. 8. Others just wanted the election to be over already. Talia Moffitt waited for an hour to vote at the Cobb County Elections Main Office with her one-month-old daughter strapped to her chest. For the 2012 election, she voted on Election Day, so she came out Monday to avoid the rush. 'We wanted to get out and beat the crowds,' Moffitt said. Early voting in Cobb County: When and where to cast ballots  Kelvin Stoudemire, 52 of Powder Springs, said he waited 30 minutes to vote at the elections office. Stoudemire, who has voted in Cobb for 15 years, said he wanted to 'go ahead and get it done' because he's a truck driver and doesn't know when he'll be called out to spend days on the road. Sarah Palmer came to the Cobb County Civic Center to vote for Donald Trump on Monday because she's going to be on a cruise heading to the Panama Canal on Election Day. What's on the ballot in Georgia and metro Atlanta?  'I want somebody ... who will look out for our interests,' said Palmer, 70, from East Cobb. Palmer likes Trump's views on creating jobs, controlling borders and his Supreme Court picks. Plus, she likes that the real estate mogul wouldn't use the position to make more money. 'He doesn't need the job,' she said. Alan Sharples agrees. That's why he voted for Hillary Clinton at the civic center Monday. 'Her agenda fits my agenda,' he said. 'And the other guy is a clown.' Sharples, 62, said he felt like there were more people voting at that location than elections in the past. 'It's such an unusual election that people are driven to get to the polls considering who the candidates are,' he said. Steve Jackson, 43 of Smyrna, voted at the civic center about 10:30 a.m. He's voted in Cobb the last 15 years and said he noticed more people voting this year. The increase, he said, was partially due to the Opportunity School District initiative on the ballot. Janine Eveler, Cobb's elections director, said there was a line at the civic center of almost 40 people about 7:30 a.m., a half and hour before the polls opened. They were some of the 963 people who voted at Cobb's two locations within the first three hours of the polls opening, she said. 'This is the way it is on election years,' she said in front of a dense line of voters at the elections at 11:15 a.m. But there was another reason the elections office was so busy. The deadline to turn in property tax bills was also Monday, because the normal Oct. 15 deadline landed on the weekend. To prepare for large crowds, Eveler's staff parked off-site and were shuttled to the their offices. She hired part-time staff, and deputies flanked the lines and helped direct the crowd. 'We knew this was going to be the perfect storm,' Eveler said. She said she'll be happy when all 144 precincts open on Election Day.
  • Want to live next to SunTrust Park? Pre-leasing of three apartment communities within The Battery Atlanta project will start in December, with units opening in March, just weeks before the opening of the Braves new Cobb County ballpark, the development team said Wednesday. » SunTrust Park: See how much those apartments at The Battery will cost Apartment giant Pollack Shores said communities within the combined Home at the Battery Atlanta — The Residences, The Flats and Parkside — will each feature unique fixtures and amenities in one- and two-bedroom floor plans. The Residences will be an 81-unit community set atop the Battery’s terrace featuring a rooftop bar and launch and wraparound balcony overlooking SunTrust Park. Parkside, a 211-unit development closest to the stadium, will feature a premium clubhouse. The Flats, the largest of the three communities with 239 units, will be centered in the main shopping district and include an entertainment center with a bar, billiards and cyber café. “We’ve created this unique opportunity to not only tailgate from your patio, but also enjoy other qualities residents look for like walking and biking trails and easy access to major highways,” Steven Shores, president and co-founder of Pollack Shores, said in a news release. “It’s a truly unique residential mix with something for everyone.” Monthly rents have not been released. The Braves have announced a number of retail and restaurant tenants in recent months, including a Mizuno experience center showroom and a Wahlburgers restaurant by chef Paul Wahlberg and his actor brothers Mark and Donnie Wahlberg. » Battery Atlanta: Restaurants near SunTrust Park Other tenants include: a Professional Bull Riders Association Bar & Grill, Dress Up, Kings Bowl, Mountain High Outfitters, Harley-Davidson apparel store, the Coca-Cola Roxy Theatre concert venue, Antico Pizza and Tomahawk Taproom featuring Fox Bros. Bar-B-Q. An Omni hotel and an office tower for Comcast housing about 1,000 tech workers are slated to open next year. The Braves plan to open the ballpark and the bulk of The Battery’s first phase in time for Opening Day.

News

  • Pickens County deputies are searching for an armed fugitive.  Authorities are looking for Nicholas Bishop in the area of Priest Circle in Talking Rock.  Bishop is believed to be armed with a handgun and on foot after he abandoned a stolen vehicle around 2 p.m.  If you see him, call 911 immediately. Officials say do not attempt to approach him. - Please return for updates.
  • One more time, Doris Payne, the 86-year-old infamous international jewel thief, has pleaded guilty to the usual crime. She admitted Wednesday to stealing a necklace from Von Maur at Perimeter Mall last year, the DeKalb County District Attorney’s Office said. Payne, who recently said she’s been dealing with a possibly cancerous tumor, was sentenced to 120 days of house arrest and three years of probation.  She was also banned from all Von Maur locations and every mall in DeKalb County. Payne, who’d been free on bond, was arrested last month for missing a court date. Shortly after the would-be appearance, she told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution she wasn’t medically able to attend. “I ain’t runnin’,” she said in a phone interview. “I’ve never in my life been late for court. Last month, Payne was deemed too ill to stand trial by the judge presiding over a Fulton County case stemming from a missing set of earrings at Phipps Plaza. Payne has been open about her habits of theft, which she detailed in a documentary called, “The Life and Crimes of Doris Payne.” RELATED: Huge DeKalb center with (at least) 8 popular chains is opening soon RELATED: Cop helps elderly woman who got kicked out of dentist office in DeKalb RELATED: A DeKalb family’s tale of two dead bodies and a crying baby girl Like DeKalb County News Now on Facebook | Follow on Twitter and Instagram
  • A drunken driver destroyed a row of headstones at a historic Carrollton cemetery, causing tens of thousands of dollars' worth of damage, police said. According to police, the driver was coming down Martin Luther King Street on March 19, ran a stop sign, jumped a curb and crashed into the city-owned cemetery. The broken headstones range in date from the late 1800s to 1950. 'And what we discussed is, if one is damaged beyond repair, we'll put something back that's respectful. It's hard to replace it with the exact same item. The families aren't around anymore, so the city will take on the responsibility,' city manager Tim Grizzard said. TRENDING STORIES: Thousands of Georgians could lose food stamps next week 16-year-old in custody after hoax call about school gunman Food prices at SunTrust Park vs. Mercedes-Benz Stadium: What's the difference? The 35-year-old driver, Ray Antonio Baker, was arrested and charged with DUI. City officials said they will ask his insurance carrier to pay for the damage. 'Our plan is to go after the individual's insurance to pay for repairs. If that doesn't pay for everything, the city will certainly pick up the tab,' Grizzard said. Officials said this isn't the first time a driver has damaged headstones, but it's not a big enough problem to put up a wall. 'It's not something that has happened often enough that we need to put up a barrier. If it was a recurrent spot, we would do something,' Grizzard said. City officials said it could take weeks to repair the damage.
  • A federal judge in Hawaii who temporarily blocked President Donald Trump's revised travel hours before it was set to take effect issued a longer-lasting order Wednesday. U.S. District Judge Derrick Watson held a hearing Wednesday on Hawaii's request to extend his temporary hold. Several hours later, he issued a 24-page order blocking the government from suspending new visas for travelers from six Muslim-majority countries and halting the U.S. refugee program. Hawaii Attorney General Douglas Chin argued that even though the revised ban has more neutral language, the implied intent is still there. He likened it to a neon sign flashing 'Muslim Ban,' which the government hasn't bothered to turn off. Chad Readler, a Department of Justice attorney defending Trump's executive order, told the judge via telephone that Hawaii hasn't shown how it is harmed by various provisions, including one that would suspend the nation's refugee program. Watson disagreed. Here's a look at Watson's ruling and what comes next: ___ THE PREVIOUS RULING This month, Watson prevented the federal government from suspending new visas for people from six countries and freezing the nation's refugee program. The ruling came just hours before the ban was to take effect. Watson, nominated to the bench by former President Barack Obama in 2012, agreed with Hawaii that the ban would hurt the state's tourism-dependent economy and that it discriminates based on nationality and religion. Trump called the ruling an example of 'unprecedented judicial overreach.' The next day, a judge in Maryland also blocked the six-nation travel ban but said it wasn't clear that the suspension of the refugee program was similarly motivated by religious bias. The federal government appealed the Maryland ruling to the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals and sought to narrow the Hawaii ruling. ___ THE LATEST RULING Like his temporary order, Watson notes that Hawaii has shown the state's universities and tourism industry will suffer from the ban. A plaintiff in Hawaii's lawsuit, the imam of a Honolulu mosque, will be harmed if the ban is enforced, Watson said: 'These injuries have already occurred and will continue to occur if the Executive Order is implemented and enforced; the injuries are neither contingent nor speculative.' Government attorneys have tried to convince the judge not to consider comments Trump has made about the travel ban. 'The court will not crawl into a corner, pull the shutters closed, and pretend it has not seen what it has,' Watson wrote. Watson also refused to narrow his ruling to only apply to the six-nation ban, as the government requested. The ruling won't be suspended if the government appeals, Watson said. 'Enforcement of these provisions in all places, including the United States, at all United States borders and ports of entry, and in the issuance of visas is prohibited, pending further orders from this court,' he wrote. ___ WHAT'S NEXT FOR HAWAII'S LAWSUIT? Watson's ruling allows Hawaii's lawsuit challenging the ban to work its way through the courts. 'While we understand that the President may appeal, we believe the court's well-reasoned decision will be affirmed,' the Hawaii attorney general's office said in a statement. Ismail Elshikh, the imam of a Honolulu mosque who joined the lawsuit as a plaintiff, argues that he's harmed by Trump's order because it prevents his Syrian mother-in-law from visiting family in the U.S. It's not clear how Watson's ruling will affect the mother-in-law's ability to obtain a visa. The Department of Justice didn't immediately comment after Watson issued his decision. ___ DEFENDING TRUMP'S EXECUTIVE ORDER The Department of Justice opposed Hawaii's request to extend Watson's temporary order. But the department said that if the judge agrees, he should narrow the ruling to cover only the part of Trump's executive order that suspends new visas for people from Somalia, Iran, Syria, Sudan, Libya and Yemen. Other provisions of the order have little or no effect on Hawaii, including a suspension of the nation's refugee program, Department of Justice attorney Chad Readler said Wednesday. In an attempt to downplay the effect suspending the nation's refugee program would have on Hawaii, Readler said only a small amount of refugees have been resettled in Hawaii. But Watson questioned that reasoning by noting that the government said there have been 20 refugees resettled in Hawaii since 2010. Other parts of Trump's order allow the government to assess security risks, which don't concern the plaintiffs in Hawaii's lawsuit, Readler said. The revised order removes references to religion, he said. ___ CAN AN APPEALS COURT AFFECT THE HAWAII RULING? The president is asking the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to put the ruling by the judge in Maryland on hold while it considers the case. The Richmond, Virginia-based appeals court will hear arguments May 8. If the court sides with the federal government, it would not have a direct effect on the Hawaii ruling, legal experts said. The Trump administration's best bet for saving the travel ban is to have the case go before the U.S. Supreme Court, said Richard Primus, a professor of constitutional law at the University of Michigan law school. 'What a ruling in 4th Circuit in favor of the administration would do is create a split in authority between federal courts in different parts of the country,' he said. 'Cases with splits in authority are cases the U.S. Supreme Court exists to resolve.