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Local Govt & Politics
Counties meet deadline for vote count with legal challenge pending
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Counties meet deadline for vote count with legal challenge pending

Counties meet deadline for vote count with legal challenge pending
Photo Credit: Alyssa Pointer
Carolyn Bourdeaux, Democratic Nominee for Georgia's 7th Congressional District, holds onto a Gwinnett County absentee ballot as she speaks during a press conference outside of the Gwinnett County Board of Voter Registration and Elections in Lawrenceville, Monday, November 12, 2018. Bourdeaux's campaign filed an emergency motion Sunday night seeking to force Gwinnett County to count previously rejected absentee ballots for the 2018 Midterm elections. (ALYSSA POINTER/ALYSSA.POINTER@AJC.COM)

Counties meet deadline for vote count with legal challenge pending

Every Georgia county but Gwinnett is expected to have met the Tuesday deadline to certify election results to the Secretary of State, but a court ruling expected Wednesday could put additional ballots into play.

Although Republican Brian Kemp has declared victory in the governor’s race, Democrat Stacey Abrams’ campaign said she will continue to fight for more votes to be counted in hopes of forcing a runoff. 

Two separate court ruling, one late Monday and another Tuesday, helped her cause by putting disqualified absentee ballots in Gwinnett back into play and requiring election officials statewide to review thousands of provisional ballots

That could also affect the count in the 7th District, where Democrat Carolyn Bourdeaux has also filed litigation as she tries to close a roughly 900-vote gap with Republican incumbent Rob Woodall.

On Wednesday, a third federal judge is expected to decide whether the court order for Gwinnett to count absentee ballots missing valid birth dates should be applied statewide. U.S. District Judge Steve Jones will also rule on whether provisional ballots cast by voters who were registered in a different county should be counted.

Updates from The Atlanta Journal-Constitution staff were posted throughout the day on Tuesday. Click here for the latest vote totals

Gwinnett counts provisional ballots

10:30 p.m.: More than eight hours after Gwinnett’s elections board originally convened, the county accepted more than 2,000 provisional ballots.

Those included provisional ballots that pulled Democrat Carolyn Bourdeaux within about 530 votes of Republican Rob Woodall in the 7th Congressional District.

- Tyler Estep

Gwinnett vote counting continues

8:42 p.m.: Elections workers in Gwinnett County are still tabulating what were viewed as uncontroversial provisional ballots that should be accepted. Meanwhile, the county’s elections board is reviewing staff recommendations on batches of provisional ballots deemed more debatable. The board is then deciding whether to accept or reject them.

- Tyler Estep

Woodall optimistic about a win despite court challenges

8:25 p.m.: U.S. Rep. Rob Woodall was cautiously optimistic about his chances of retaining his 7th District U.S. House seat and offered no apologies about his low-key campaign style on Tuesday evening as the Gwinnett elections board counted the race’s remaining ballots. What the Lawrenceville Republican said concerned him was the continued involvement of the courts in the vote-counting process after his Democratic opponent Carolyn Bourdeaux and several voting rights groups filed suits over previously-discarded provisional and absentee ballots.

“Having a close election isn’t a bad thing. Having judges decide the election, that is kind of a bad thing,” said Woodall during an interview on Capitol Hill.

Woodall leads Bourdeaux by roughly 900 votes, but several prominent Georgia Republicans have privately grown sour about the four-term incumbent’s reelection chances in recent days. Still, Woodall said he had no regrets about the nonconfrontational way he ran his campaign and insisted he would not change his style in 2020 should he win reelection this year. 

“This job is only worth doing if you can do it in a way that makes people proud,” he said. “And while Monday morning quarterbacking is a full-time job in Washington, D.C., there’s not going to be anybody who’s going to say that I embarrassed them or betrayed their vote because of the way we ran our campaign.” 

- Tamar Hallerman

Interim Secretary of State says certification will meet deadline

8:18 p.m.: Georgia Secretary of State Robyn Crittenden said Tuesday she'll certify the election by the state's deadline Nov. 20, once all 159 counties finalize their results.

Crittenden said once counties submit their vote counts, she doesn't expect to add any more ballots to the totals.

"The actual counting and determination is done by the counties, so my certification consists of computing and tabulating and canvassing the votes that have been cast," she said.

- Mark Niesse

Related: Georgia’s new secretary of state seeks accurate finish to vote count

DeKalb certifies election results

7 p.m.: In less than 30 minutes Tuesday afternoon, the DeKalb County Elections Board certified its midterm election results, touted their hard work and listened to questions and complaints from residents about the election process.

But a “technical glitch” is preventing the certified numbers from being posted to the county’s elections website, DeKalb spokesman Andrew Cauthen said Tuesday evening.

The board met to certify the results at 4:30 p.m. Tuesday, but no updates had been posted as of 7 p.m.

DeKalb officials rejected 1,375 of the 3,147 provisional ballots cast, a spokesman said by email. Most were thrown out because voters were registered in a different county or weren’t registered at all.

- Raisa Habersham

Related: DeKalb voters complain of election issues as county certifies votes

Court ruling on Georgia absentee ballots due Wednesday

5:23 p.m.: U.S. District Judge Steve Jones said he hopes to decide by noon Wednesday if Georgia counties statewide will be required to count absentee ballots even if voters failed to include their date of birth or provisional ballots cast out of county.

Jones declined to delay today’s deadline for counties to verify election results. Gwinnett County is the only county not expected to finalize vote tallies today.

Jones questioned voters from the Republican Party of Georgia and Secretary of State’s office whether voters would be harmed by uneven implementation of guidance from the Secretary of State’s office regarding absentee ballots.

Only Gwinnett is under court order to count ballots with missing birth dates. The judge also questioned whether it was practical to require provisional votes cast outside the county where a person resides  to still be counted.

Stacey Abrams’ campaign and the Georgia Democratic Party argued they should. The Republican Party, Secretary of State and an attorney representing Gwinnett County said there are not processes that exist to prevent voter fraud if that rule is changed.

The lawsuit, filed Sunday, asked the court to require absentee ballots rejected for “arbitrary” reasons, such as a mistake in a birth date or missing information, to be counted. As many as 2,000 ballots were dismissed because of such problems.

- Tia Mitchell

Related: New ruling on absentee, provisional ballots expected Wednesday

Gwinnett counts provisional ballots

10:30 p.m.: More than eight hours after the Gwinnett elections board originally convened, more than 2,000 provisional votes were counted. 

Those included enough to bring Democrat Carolyn Bourdeaux within 533 votes of Republican Rob Woodall in the 7th Congressional District race.

Gwinnett to count ballots Tuesday night

5:08 p.m.: Gwinnett County still plans to count provisional ballots Tuesday evening, but the elections board is in recess until the ballots are “ready to be addressed,” chair Stephen Day said.

The new scheduled date for certifying the county’s election results – 5 p.m. Thursday – will allow for the re-evaluation of absentee ballots that were rejected due to birthdate issues, per a new federal order. Day estimated there were more than 300 such ballots that have been identified, though officials are also likely to review other rejections that were filed under the vague “insufficient oath information” classification.

- Tyler Estep

Gwinnett delays certification

3:25 p.m.: Gwinnett County will not certify its elections results Tuesday.

Elections board chairman Stephen Day said it would take about two days to re-evaluate absentee ballots that were rejected due to missing birth year information, in accordance with a new federal order. 

A new special meeting for certification was scheduled for 5 p.m. Thursday. The county was still likely to count provisional ballots Tuesday.

Related: Gwinnett will not certify election results today

A state senator detained

2:50 p.m.: State Sen. Nikema Williams was among about a dozen demonstrators who were detained during a protest in the state Capitol. 

The first-term Atlanta Democrat said she was standing with her constituents when officers put plastic restraints on her wrists.

“I was not yelling. I was not chanting,” she said. “I stood peacefully next to my constituents because they wanted their voices to be heard, and now I’m being arrested.”


 

The protest in the rotunda under the Gold Dome was organized by a local Black Lives Matter group to pressure state officials to ensure all absentee and provisional ballots were tallied. Occasionally, the group of roughly 100 people broke into chants of “count every vote.” 

Authorities said the demonstration was broken up after several warnings because of rules that prohibit chanting or yelling while lawmakers are in session. There was no immediate detail on how many people were arrested. 

Georgia law requires that legislators “shall be free from arrest during sessions of the General Assembly” except for treason, felony or breach of the peace. 

Related: Georgia state senator, protesters detained at Capitol while demanding that ‘every vote count’

- Maya T. Prabhu

Bob Andres/bandres@ajc.com
State Sen. Nikema Williams was among the demonstrators detained in the Georgia Capitol rotunda. BOB ANDRES / BANDRES@AJC.COM
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LIVE UPDATES: Chants of ‘count every vote’ under Gold Dome as key election deadline nears

Photo Credit: Bob Andres/bandres@ajc.com
State Sen. Nikema Williams was among the demonstrators detained in the Georgia Capitol rotunda. BOB ANDRES / BANDRES@AJC.COM

Gwinnett’s closed-door meeting 

2:40 p.m.: The Gwinnett County elections board was meeting behind closed doors Tuesday afternoon as provisional ballots were being counted and dozens of advocates from both sides of the voter access issue awaited their return.

Gwinnett began scanning provisional ballots around 1 p.m. and the elections board started its meeting -- during which it is scheduled to certify the county’s election results -- shortly after 2 p.m. Less than five minutes later, they went into executive session to discuss pending litigation.

They left close to 100 people inside their roughly 40-seat meeting room. Those gathered included a group decrying Democratic governor candidate Stacey Abrams’ decision not to concede, waving signs with the hashtag “Stop the Steal.” 

The other half of the room included voting rights advocates and representatives from the Democratic Party.

- Tyler Estep

A clash over vote tallies

2:30 p.m.: The Abrams campaign held a teleconference focusing on the fundamental disagreement in the post-election saga: How many votes are still outstanding.

Kemp’s campaign insists there aren’t enough un-tallied votes left to swing the vote to a runoff even if Abrams wins them all. Abrams campaign manager Lauren Groh-Wargo said the Democrat’s tally shows roughly 30,000 ballots left.

Asked for a breakdown, Groh-Wargo said that includes roughly 2,700 rejected absentee ballots that could be reviewed, 2,600 absentee ballots and some 26,000 provisional ballots. She also said there could be some more early-votes and mail-in ballots that haven’t been processed yet. 

“Every hour that goes by, additional votes are processed. Some we know about, some we don’t know about,” said Groh-Wargo. “Our position is count the provisionals, count the absentees -- and don’t rush the process.”

- Greg Bluestein

The GOP intervenes

2 p.m.: The Georgia Republican Party filed litigation trying to intervene in ongoing court challenges from Democrats who are asking the courts to force local elections officials to accept more provisional and absentee ballots.

The Georgia GOP’s motion to intervene accuses Democrats of seeking to “subvert the express language of Georgia law by requiring invalid provisional and mail-in absentee ballots to be counted.” 

It also warns that siding with Democrats would "ultimately circumvent the jurisdictional and procedural requirements in Georgia law for election contests.”

- Greg Bluestein

Protests under the Gold Dome

1:40 p.m.: A group of about 100 people gathered at the Capitol Rotunda shortly before the House was to convene in a special session. 

The group chanted for every vote to be counted in the gubernatorial election.

There was a heavy police presence, and officers led a handful of protesters away in plastic restraints. It was not immediately known if anyone was arrested.

- Maya T. Prabhu


 

‘A good first step’

1:35 p.m.: The congressional campaign of Carolyn Bourdeaux called a federal court ruling requiring Gwinnett to count several hundred previously-rejected absentee ballots a "good first step" as county officials look to certify election results. But the Democrat, who is currently trailing U.S. Rep. Rob Woodall by roughly 900 votes in the 7th U.S. House District, also raised questions about other ballots that Gwinnett previously tossed for "insufficient oath" information.”

The county previously rejected hundreds of ballots for trivial reasons, including, but not limited to, year of birth," Bourdeaux spokesman Jake Best said Tuesday afternoon. "We will continue to fight to have every eligible vote counted and every voter’s voice heard.”

Bourdeaux had filed a motion in federal court late Sunday seeking to delay Gwinnett County from certifying its election results in order to count an estimated 3,200 provisional and absentee ballots that had previously been rejected.

Tyler Estep
A group believed to be organized by Debbie Dooley holds up signs as Gwinnett elections staff counts provisional ballots prior to election board meeting.
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gwinnett elections

Photo Credit: Tyler Estep
A group believed to be organized by Debbie Dooley holds up signs as Gwinnett elections staff counts provisional ballots prior to election board meeting.

Woodall said Monday that Bourdeaux should let local elections officials “do their job.”’

“It is disappointing that those, who in hopes of changing the election result, have gone to federal court to try to overrule our local, bipartisan officials,” the four-term lawmaker said. 

--Tamar Hallerman

Fulton’s vote is certified

1:30 p.m.: Georgia’s largest county certified its election results on Tuesday.  

Fulton County said 424,998 residents voted in the mid-term, the largest midterm participation this century. That equaled a turnout of 60.4 percent of the voting-age population.

Fulton received 3,549 provisional ballots, 1,555 of which were rejected, Rick Barron, the county’s director of elections and registration said. A total of 972 of the rejected votes were tossed because they were from “out of county” voters while 581 people were not registered. Two people who attempted to vote could not prove citizenship.  

“We can’t count ballots that are voted out of county,” Barron said.

Related: Fulton midterm election turnout close to presidential levels

-- Leon Stafford 

 ‘Ensure fairness’

1:15 p.m.: Religious leaders and Georgia Democrats chanted “count the votes” during a press conference inside the Georgia Capitol saying no valid ballot should be omitted as election officials add up the totals in races for governor and Congress.

Bishop Reginald T. Jackson, presiding prelate of the AME Church in Georgia, said many people were denied their voting rights because their registrations were canceled, their absentee ballots were rejected or they had to stand in long lines.

“A lot of them were denied the opportunity to vote,” Jackson said. “We cannot be confident that it was coincidence or accidental. ... We demand that every vote must count.”

Georgia Democrats echoed the call for a complete counting of votes before certifying the election.

Senate Minority Leader Steve Henson, D-Stone Mountain, said the numerous anecdotal stories of issues at the polls on Election Day show why counties need more time to tally. 

“After spending years shutting down precincts and passing laws to make it harder to vote, we have deep concerns,” he said. “The only thing to ensure fairness is to ensure every single vote is counted.” 

State Sen. Nan Orrock, D-Atlanta, complained of former Secretary of State Brian Kemp’s track record of purging voters from the rolls and a lack of guidance for county election boards when counting absentee ballots. Kemp resigned from his public office last week.

“Brian Kemp has repeatedly put his heavy thumb on the scale of democracy,” she said. “Now Brian Kemp wants us to just trust him?”

-- Maya T. Prabhu and Mark Niesse

Racing to certify

12:30 p.m.: All but about 40 of Georgia's 159 counties have certified their vote, and most of them have fully reported the remaining provisional ballots.

But most of the more densely populated metro Atlanta counties that tilt toward Abrams plan to convene on Tuesday. 

That includes DeKalb and Gwinnett counties, which have yet to report provisional ballots.

You can see for yourself which counties have certified by clicking here.

-- Greg Bluestein

Gwinnett’s question

11:46 a.m.: Gwinnett County plans to begin counting provisional ballots at 1 p.m, a spokesman said.

Officials have previously said the county received between 2,400 and 2,500 such ballots, including around 1,500 believed to be cast in the tightly contested race in the 7th Congressional District. The county has not revealed how many of those ballots might ultimately be accepted.

Staff was still conducting final evaluations of some provisional ballots before lunch, officials said. The Gwinnett elections board is scheduled to meet at 2 p.m. to certify the county’s election results, a process that could take multiple hours.

Gwinnett — a longtime Republican stronghold where Democrats are starting to make waves — has been in the spotlight throughout this election season.

Related: Gwinnett getting ready to count provisional ballots

-- Tyler Estep

Washington intervenes

11:35 a.m.: Our Cox colleague Jamie Dupree reports that the legal wrangling in Georgia has made it all the way to Capitol Hill, where Senate Democrats are rallying around Stacey Abrams and her efforts to tally all absentee and provisional ballots.

Dupree's latest includes comments made by Democrats attending Al Sharpton’s National Action Network event in Washington: 

“What we’ve seen in Florida, and especially in Georgia, has been a national disgrace,” said Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), joining Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) in accusing Republicans of doing all they could to suppress the votes of Democrats.

-- Tamar Hallerman

The latest tally

11:34 a.m.: The latest vote totals in Georgia’s governor’s race. For more updates, visit our vote count page.

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Live updates: Georgia counties face key deadline amid new legal battle

A DeKalb recount

11:30 a.m.: The DeKalb County Board of Registration and Elections is in the process of recounting already accepted absentee ballots. 

The recount, which was supposed to be completed around 12:30 p.m., is to help ensure that the numbers the county has logged are accurate. About 19,000 absentee ballots are being recounted by machine. The county said it is too early to tell if any vote totals will change as a result. 

A spokesman for the county said the recount could take even longer that expected.

“Looking at the number of ballots left, I’m not sure,” county spokesman Andrew Cauthen said.

The DeKalb Elections Board is scheduled to meet at 4:30 p.m. to certify the county’s election results. 

As of Monday, at least 94 of Georgia’s 159 counties had already certified their ballots.

-- Raisa Habersham

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Live updates: Georgia counties face key deadline amid new legal battle

10:50 a.m.: There are still big questions about how many provisional ballots will be counted before Georgia’s election was certified.

U.S. District Judge Amy Totenberg on Monday ordered election officials to review as many as 27,000 provisional ballots that were cast because voters’ registration or identification couldn’t be verified at the polls. Totenberg’s ruling is separate from a decision Tuesday from another federal judge that additional absentee ballots should be counted.

Here’s what you need to know about Totenberg’s ruling:

  • It remains unclear whether additional provisional ballots will be counted. Totenberg ordered election officials to provide more information about provisional ballots that were cast because voters’ registration couldn’t be verified, and ballots issued because voters didn’t appear at their correct neighborhood precincts.
  • The ruling came in a lawsuit filed Nov. 5 by Common Cause Georgia, a nonprofit voter advocacy organization. This lawsuit is different from those filed by the Democratic Party of Georgia and supported by Democratic candidates like Stacey Abrams and Carolyn Bourdeaux.
  • After the Secretary of State’s Office reports information about provisional ballots, Totenberg could issue further rulings on how they should be handled before the election is certified. Secretary of State Robyn Crittenden is scheduled to certify the election by Nov. 20. Totenberg’s order said the election can’t be certified before Friday at 5 p.m.

-- Mark Niesse

10:29 a.m.: A federal judge ruled Tuesday that Gwinnett County officials must still count absentee ballots that contain errors or omissions in birthdates. 

The ruling only applies to Gwinnett County but it mirrors guidance sent by the secretary of state late Monday to direct county officials how to handle the votes. 

Brian Kemp’s campaign said the ruling will affect roughly 400 ballots in Gwinnett, where the tight race for Georgia’s 7th District also hangs in the balance. Statewide, less than 1,000 of these ballots have been tossed for similar issues. 

In a statement, Abrams campaign manager Lauren Groh-Wargo celebrated the ruling and another court order as “wins for Georgians’ fundamental right - the right to cast a ballot.” 

9:37 a.m.: Late Monday, we learned that a federal judge ordered a review of thousands of uncounted provisional ballots. Counties still must certify their election results today, but the state is prohibited from doing so until Friday at the earliest. The state deadline to certify the election by Nov. 20 remains.

The review requires a statewide hotline for voters to check on the status of their provisional ballots and requires updated reports. Read more on the judge’s ruling here.

-- Mark Niesse

6 a.m.: We’re paying closest attention to the biggest trove of provisional votes still outstanding. 

Most of the provisional ballots from Cobb and Fulton counties have already been added to the state tally, but thousands of additional potential votes could be added from DeKalb and Gwinnett counties. A few hundred more could come from Muscogee County.

These three counties are all heavily Democratic territory where Abrams must gain significant ground on Kemp if she has any chance of forcing a runoff. Kemp’s campaign, meanwhile, said she’s got no mathematical chance. 

-- Greg Bluestein 

Read More

News

  • An truck driver based in Euclid, Ohio, is accused of causing the deaths of four people lastThursday afternoon in a fiery interstate crash in McDonough, Georgia. On Monday, authorities announced charges against the driver, 39-year-old Mohabe McCoy, since all four victims had been identified. He is facing charges of second-degree homicide by vehicle, a misdemeanor, improper turn and driving too fast for conditions. >> Read more trending news  The victim’s bodies were badly burned when McCoy’s tractor-trailer slammed into the back of their Chevrolet pickup truck on I-75, according to officials with the Henry County Police Department. The pickup truck, which was hauling pine straw, was pushed into the back of another tractor-trailer and went up in flames.  The victims were identified as Jose Ibarra Yanez, 42, Jaime Sanchez, 26, Fermin Sanchez, 20, and Juana Adaliris Ortiz-Martinez, 31. The three men and woman were from Dublin, Georgia.  The crash happened around 12:15 p.m. Thursday. At the time, northbound traffic was lagging after another crash on I-75 shut down the interstate before the I-675 interchange. Video from a nearby car dealership obtained by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution shows the first tractor-trailer slowed before an exit, and the pickup truck followed suit. McCoy’s tractor-trailer, which was hauling potatoes, did not appear to slow down before plowing into the back of the truck in the video. McCoy was arrested Thursday evening after he was checked out at Atlanta Medical Center. He is being held Monday in the Henry County Jail in lieu of a $10,000 bond. 
  • A married Georgia police officer appeared in court with black eyes last week for his first court appearance in the homicide of his girlfriend, a paramedic who was found shot to death May 11 in her home.  William Leonard Talley, 51, is charged with murder, possession of a firearm during the commission of a crime and a violation of his oath as a public officer, according to Muscogee County Jail records. A judge on Saturday ordered Talley, a sergeant with the Columbus Police Department, be held without bond on the murder charge.  Talley, a married father of two teenage daughters, is accused of shooting Kelly Susanne Levinsohn, 44, inside her home. He was arrested in neighboring Harris County after crashing Levinsohn’s truck on Interstate 185, The Columbus Ledger-Enquirer reported.  The longtime police officer, who was left in critical condition in the crash, was hospitalized at Piedmont Columbus Regional Hospital for five days before being released Thursday and booked into the jail.  His attorney, Jennifer Curry, told the Ledger-Enquirer that Talley is being housed away from the general population while he continues to recover from his injuries. Curry said Talley, a police officer since 2002, would be at risk among fellow inmates he helped put behind bars.  Curry on Saturday waived her client’s preliminary hearing and entered a not guilty verdict on his behalf.  “Our goal today really was to protect families on both sides, especially Mr. Talley’s children,” Curry told the newspaper. “They didn’t ask for this, so I’m trying to respect their privacy.” Talley’s wife was among the scant number of people in the courtroom Saturday. Despite his marital status, Columbus police officials have characterized Levinsohn’s death as the result of a domestic situation. They have not confirmed a romantic relationship between her and her alleged killer, though some of Levinsohn’s neighbors told WTVM in Columbus that the pair had been dating for more than a year.  Curry declined to comment Saturday on the nature of her client’s relationship with Levinsohn, the Ledger-Enquirer reported.  “Again, my goal today was to protect his two daughters,” Curry said. “I’m hoping that both families have time to understand what happened and come to terms with where we’re at now.” Columbus police officials said officers were called to Levinsohn’s home around 8 p.m. Saturday by an unidentified caller who told 911 dispatchers someone had been injured or killed in the home. The caller identified the suspect in the slaying as an officer with the department.  The caller met officers at Levinsohn’s home and told them the suspect had been in a car crash in Harris County, the Ledger-Enquirer reported. Officers went inside the home, where they found Levinsohn dead of a single gunshot wound.  They also found the paramedic’s vehicle to be missing, the newspaper said.  Columbus police Chief Ricky Boren told the Ledger-Enquirer that investigators recovered a gun believed to be the murder weapon. It was not a department-issued weapon, Boren said.  Talley, a patrol sergeant and SWAT team member, is on leave without pay pending a resolution of the case, the newspaper said.  Clark Rowell, who lives across the street from the crime scene, told WTVM his neighbor’s relationship with Talley was not always a peaceful one.  “One time, they had a bad argument out there on the front porch,” Rowell told the news station. “He went to the door, she opened it up and she wouldn’t let him in.” Rowell said after Levinsohn slammed the door on him, Talley “stomped” to his patrol car and left.  Talley’s own personnel record shows that he was also handcuffed by colleagues called to Levinsohn’s home more than a year before her slaying. Records obtained by the Ledger-Enquirer show officers were called to the scene around 7:41 p.m. March 11, 2018. Talley had been drinking, according to the report obtained by the newspaper.  “Talley had to be placed in handcuffs due to a brief struggle while officers attempted to calm him down and speak with him about his personal issues,” the report stated.  Two on-duty supervisors had to be called to Levinsohn’s home to deal with the situation. According to the Ledger-Enquirer, Talley served a single day’s suspension in September related to the incident.  He was not arrested, the newspaper said. It was his first disciplinary action in nearly a decade and his previous disciplinary issues were minor ones.  A sergeant since November 2009, Talley briefly became a detective in 2015, but transferred back to the patrol division less than a year later. Aside from the handful of disciplinary actions against him, he was given “glowing” performance evaluations, the Ledger-Enquirer reported.  Supervisors in 2017 complimented his “initiative” and recommended he try for a promotion to lieutenant.  From all accounts, Levinsohn also excelled at her job as an advanced emergency medical technician with Care Ambulance, the Ledger-Enquirer reported. Muscogee County Coroner Buddy Bryan told the newspaper Levinsohn had been with the service for 12 years.  Bryan said her slaying came as a shock to those she worked with. “She was very dedicated to her job. It’s a hard job, both physically and mentally hard. She took it in stride, never showed any kind of negative mood towards one of the patients that she was transporting,” Bryan said. “She was always there to ease the patient’s pain and suffering, and she was just the kind of person you would want to see come to the scene to be with you.” He said Levinsohn was also a friendly face for first responders, who were often exposed to horrific situations.  “In our line of business, me as a coroner and her as an EMT, we see a lot, car accident victims, gunshot victims, stabbing victims, sick people,” Bryan said. “(Levinsohn) was a very emotionally stable person. She kept a level head the whole time, and I praised her for that quite often.” The coroner said he was taking extra care that Levinsohn’s body was treated with respect as her mother, Wylma Levinsohn, traveled home from Israel to see about burying her daughter, who friends described as her best friend.  According to Kelly Levinsohn’s obituary, her funeral was Sunday in Columbus.  Longtime friend Staci Warman described Kelly Levinsohn as a loyal friend with a smile that was “the most contagious part about her.” “She was the best friend anybody really could ever have,” said Warman, who last spoke to Levinsohn in April, the day after Levinsohn’s birthday.  At the time, Levinsohn was on a trip to Aruba with her mother, Warman said.  Kay Witt, who had known Levinsohn since her childhood, also spoke about the tropical vacation, saying that Wylma Levinsohn will be left with a treasured memory.  “They spent a week in Aruba and had an absolute ball, snorkeling, driving around, laying on the beach, eating,” Witt told the Ledger-Enquirer. “All the things that you would do on your fantasy vacation, they did.” Witt said Kelly Levinsohn was also her mother’s “rock” as her father, Bill Levinsohn, battled cancer before his 2017 death.  Besides her mother, Levinsohn is also survived by an older brother, Gary Levinsohn, who “loved her from the minute she was born and was so proud of what she became,” her obituary said. 
  • A police officer died and two others were injured after they responded to a domestic violence call late Sunday at an Alabama mobile home park, according to multiple reports. >> Read more trending news  After an hours-long manhunt, authorities arrested Grady Wayne Wilkes, 29, on charges connected to the shooting. The slain officer was identified as William Buechner, WSFA reported. The news station reported the injured officers were identified as Webb Sistrunk and Evan Elliott. Here are the latest updates: Update 1:30 p.m. EDT May 20: Auburn police Chief Paul Register said early Monday that the two officers injured in Sunday’s shooting were expected to recover. 'This is probably the worst day of my time here,' Register said. 'Words cannot express the loss for this family, our family and this community.' One of the injured officers, identified as K-9 Officer Webb Sistrunk, was being treated Monday at a hospital in Columbus, Georgia, WMBA reported. The other officer, identified as Officer Evan Elliott, was treated for his injuries and released, according to the news network. Authorities on Monday arrested Grady Wayne Wilkes on charges including capital murder, WMBA reported. Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey decried the violence. 'This is so tragic and so useless. I'm just heartbroken,' she said Monday during an appearance in Montgomery. Update 12:40 p.m. EDT May 20: Police on Monday identified the slain officer as William Buechner, a 13-year veteran of the Auburn Police Department, WBMA reported. Police Chief Paul Register identified the injured officers as Webb Sistrunk and Evan Elliott, AL.com reported. Authorities earlier Monday arrested Grady Wayne Wilkes, 29, the man suspected of shooting the officers. Officials continue to investigate. Update 8:32 a.m. EDT May 20: Police have apprehended the man accused of fatally shooting one police officer and injuring two others late Sunday at an Auburn mobile home park. According to WVTM reporter Sarah Killian, Grady Wayne Wilkes, 29, was captured Monday. >> See the tweet here Original report: According to the Opelika-Auburn News, a white man opened fire just after 10 p.m. Sunday as Auburn police officers responded to a domestic disturbance call at a mobile home park. “Responding officers were injured by gunfire and were transported to local hospitals,” Auburn police said in a news release. Although authorities have not release the officers’ names or conditions, the Opelika-Auburn News reported that one died and two more were seriously injured.  Police said the suspect, Grady Wayne Wilkes, 29, is on the run. He is described as a 6-foot-4, 215-pound white male with brown hair and hazel eyes. He was wearing body armor, camo clothing and a helmet. Wilkes is believed to be “armed and dangerous,” authorities said. The Associated Press contributed to this report.
  • The parents of an 8-year-old California girl filed a claim against the Bakersfield City School District after a dog visiting the child’s classroom allegedly bit her, cutting open the right side of her face, KGET reported. >> Read more trending news  Leilani Rivera was bitten by the animal, who had been brought to a second-grade glass at Wayside Elementary School on May 9 by a guest reader, KBAK reported.  The reader, Ann Ardell, brought two dogs into the classroom and invited students to pet them, KGET reported. When Leilani went to hug one of the animals the dog bit her, cutting her face and splitting her lip, the television station reported. 'I was crying and it was painful,' Leilani said Thursday at the law office of Chain Cohn Stiles, which is filing the claim against the Bakersfield City School District and Kern County’s superintendent of schools.  Leilani was taken to a hospital, where she underwent two hours of facial reconstructive surgery, KBAK reported. Bakersfield police spokesman Sgt. Nathan McCauley said owner Ann Ardell’s dog, which was either a chow-chow or Akita, was quarantined by animal control and released May 11, KGET reported. The incident did not appear to be intentional on the part of Ardell, McCauley told the television station. The school district issued a written statement, saying school officials immediately sought medical attention for Leilani and began an investigation, KGET reported. Since then, the school district said that due to pending litigation, it had been advised by legal counsel not to comment further, the television station reported. The claim is designated as 'unlimited,' meaning exceeding $25,000, KGET reported.
  • A man who broke into a home in Houston early Sunday died after he was shot several times by the man who found him in his teenage daughter’s bedroom, according to police and multiple reports.  >> Read more trending news Police said they were called around 2:40 a.m. Sunday to respond to a shooting at a home on North Bellaire Estates Drive. The homeowner told police he found an armed man in his 13-year-old daughter’s upstairs bedroom after a break-in. The homeowner said he wrestled the gun away from the burglar before firing it multiple times, striking the intruder, according to authorities and the Houston Chronicle. Police said the burglar, who was not identified, broke into the home through a downstairs window and walked up the stairs to get to the girl’s bedroom. Four children between the ages of 4 13 and 4 were home at the time of the incident, officials said. Detective Blake Roberts told reporters a neighbor helped get the kids out of the home after the shooting. “They did observe the suspect downstairs in the residence, stabbing himself … (with) a kitchen knife,” Roberts said, according to KPRC-TV. Authorities took the injured intruder to Memorial Hermann Southwest Hospital, where he was pronounced dead, police said. It was not immediately clear why the home was targeted. 'This appears to be random,' Roberts said. “Of course, it's still under investigation. We still have a lot of research to do on the male that broke into the house as far as his criminal history, his mental history and anything we can find in order to determine what would be the motive for this.”
  • Monday is Memorial Day, a day to honor those who died in military service to the United States. >> Read more trending news In addition to being a day to honor those who gave the ultimate sacrifice for their country, the last Monday in May is also seen as the “unofficial start of summer.” Retailers are here to help shoppers get a jump on all things summer with special deals for military personnel and great discounts for the rest of us. Here are some Memorial Day deals to jump start your three-day shopping weekend. Academy Sports and Outdoors: Military and first responders get 10% off in-store and online purchases through Memorial Day. Everyone can get discounts during the Memorial Day sale. Amazon: Look for sales on TVs, KitchenAid mixers, grills, Dyson vacuums and more. Birch Lane: Shop the Memorial Day pre-sale through Wednesday for discounts up to 70%. Bed Bath & Beyond: Save 40% on select outdoor furniture.  Belk’s: Use the code “Memorial” and get 20% off regular & sale purchases (15% off home & shoes; 10% off small appliances), through Memorial Day. Bloomingdale's: From Tuesday through Memorial Day, get 20% off Big Brown Bag sale and clearance. eBags: Get up to 60% off sitewide.  >> Memorial Day 2019: Quotes about patriotism, freedom Eddie Bauer: Use the code “CREEK40” at checkout to get 40% off sitewide when you enter coupon code 'SUMMIT40' at checkout. Famous Footwear: Get up to 60% off select sale items. Home Depot: Get 40% off select appliances. Get $10 off gallon cans of select paints an stain; $40 off 3-gallon and 5-gallon cans of paint. Hush Puppies: Save up to 50 percent on sale items. Johnston & Murphy: Get free shipping on all women’s orders and on orders more than $100.  Joss & Main: From Wednesday to May 30, save up to 70% off sitewide. Land’s End: Get 50% off all swimwear and water shoes.   Layla Sleep: Get $125 off the Layla mattress and get two pillows free. Lilly Pulitzer: Get two wine glasses, elephant wine stopper and a wicker wine basket when you spend $600 or more.  Lowe's: Get up to 40% off select appliances from Thursday through May 29. Macy’s: Sales not going on at Macy’s include select sneakers from 40% to 60% off, men’s 20% to 60% off, luggage 50% off, and fine jewelry 50% to 70% off. Old Navy: Get 50% off tees, tanks, shorts and swimwear. Nordstrom: Get 20% off Thule Baby Gear through Memorial Day. Purple: Up to $100 mattresses, plus free sheets.  Peruvian Connection: Get 20% off sale items plus free shipping through Memorial Day. Sears: Get 40 percent off select appliances. Serta: Save up to $600 on iComfort mattress sets. Target: You can save up to 30% on home and patio items. Walmart: Get 30% to 60% off on clothing, furniture, home goods, kitchen appliances, tech gadgets, toys and more. Wayfair: Through May 28, save up to 70% off mattresses, bedding and kitchen essentials; 65% off living room furniture and pet products; 60% off coffee tables, and up to 50% off grills.