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Latest from Veronica Waters

    John Doe #40 is the only name of the as-yet-unknown man that the Federal Bureau of Investigation believes may have critical information in a child sexual exploitation investigation.  Almost all they have to go on right now is a grainy screen grab from a video which shows just the face of a pudgy man who appears to be lying down, which is especially disturbing, considering the nature of the probe. 'We're not getting into specifics of what he's doing,' says FBI Atlanta spokesman Kevin Rowson. 'This video--it's a video that investigators have looked at and it depicts this unidentified male, who we're calling John Doe 40, and he's shown with a child.' Wednesday, the FBI pushed out an alert as part of the FBI’s Operation Rescue Me and Endangered Child Alert Program (ECAP). Rowson says the video was likely produced prior to October 2017, which is when it came to the attention of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.  Rowson did not know if the child in the video the FBI is investigating is a boy or a girl.    ECAP has been in operation since 2004, investigating 40 Jane or John Does to date. The focus is publicly exposing adults involved in the sexual abuse of children and the production of child pornography. All of whom have faces and/or distinguishing characteristics visible in child pornography images. 'We've identified 26 of the people--the Jane Does or John Does we've pushed out. But the key thing and the most important thing is that they have led to the identification of over 40 child victims,' says Rosen. The FBI also has a sketch of John Doe 40, who is described as a White male, likely between the ages of 30 and 40 years old. He appears to be heavyset with dark colored hair. John Doe 40 could be heard speaking English in the video. Rowson says it's not known if the man is in the United States. Tipsters are asked to call the local FBI field office, or 1-800-CALL-FBI (1-800-225-5324). They can also submit a tip online at tips.fbi.gov. ECAP has its own page: fbi.gov/wanted/ecap, where people can see all of the John and Jane Does, and click on their photos for more information. The FBI says no charges have been filed in the case, and the person in the video is presumed innocent unless and until convicted in court. 'Our first priority is to get that child identified, and rescue that child,' says Rowson.
  • A former DeKalb County policeman loses his bid to have charges dropped against him in the 2015 shooting of a naked, unarmed Afghanistan war veteran. Robert Olsen, 56, claimed that he acted in self-defense when he shot Anthony Hill twice after responding to 911 calls about a nude man walking around a Chamblee apartment complex. A two-day hearing in May allowed Olsen to present evidence to sway a judge that he was justified in using deadly force. DeKalb Superior Court Judge J. P. Boulee did not agree with Olsen's contention, however, and denied all of the defense motions. Boulee ruled that the ex-cop did not prove deadly force was justified to prevent a forcible felony or harm to another person. WSB Radio’s Veronica Waters reported live from inside the courtroom in May: Hill's then-girlfriend Bridget Anderson tells WSB that waiting for this ruling has been grueling. 'My heart just dropped, and I just instantly started crying,' says Anderson, who says she believed that the case would continue to see the light of day. 'I definitely did think that it was going to go forward. I never lost my faith,' she says. Hill was honorably discharged from the Air Force after serving in Afghanistan, and diagnosed with bipolar disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder. The state said he was 'off his meds,' which Anderson said gave Hill adverse reactions. Judge Boulee's Tuesday-afternoon ruling notes, 'Even before Defendant exited his patrol vehicle, Hill started running towards Defendant with his arms up. Independent witnesses to the shooting confirmed that Hill was running towards Defendant. The witnesses were careful to explain that Hill initially ran with his arms up, and then his pace slowed as he got closer to Defendant and that his hands eventually went behind his back. Importantly, Hill was not armed. Also, Hill never made any verbal threats to Defendant.'  READ THE FULL TEXT OF JUDGE’S RULING HERE. Boulee also pointed out that Olsen changed his story in which he is seen on video claiming to another officer that Hill had 'started pounding on him' when Olsen stepped out of his patrol car. Olsen said in court, where the video was played, that he didn't remember that conversation, and acknowledged that Hill never touched him. In court, Olsen testified that he believed he was being attacked and that he was scared. He contended that he thought the nude Hill was in the midst of 'excited delirium,' a condition that would make Hill very aggressive and potentially dangerous. The State challenged that. 'What threat is a naked running man?' asked Assistant District Attorney Pete Johnson.  'Impervious to pain. Superhuman strength. Unlimited endurance,' said Olsen.  'Did he have superhuman strength? Isn’t he dead?' countered Johnson. 'He is dead, sir,' said Olsen.  'Because of you & your actions?' Johnson continued.  'I shot Mr. Hill, yes,' Olsen said.  Judge Boulee's order pointed out that Olsen stood five inches taller than Hill, outweighed him by 40 pounds, and was trained in several types of techniques for dealing with suspects.  The defense argued that Olsen did not have time to use a non-lethal method--like a Taser, baton, or pepper spray--to defuse the situation, but the judge noted that Olsen chose to get out of his patrol car, even after he saw Hill had already started running toward the vehicle as Olsen drove in. 'The police are my friends,' Hill told a Chamblee Heights maintenance worker who had told Hill he would call police to the complex if Hill didn't put on some clothes and go inside his apartment.  A trial date for Olsen is pending. He has been indicted on six counts including murder, aggravated assault, making false statements, and violating his oath of office. Anderson says the future of the way people with post-traumatic stress syndrome or other mental illnesses are treated is at stake. She says in the year before he passed away, the war vet had strengthened his relationship with God, and the couple talked a lot about doing something for the greater good. 'It's unfortunate that he died in this way, but I know his case, and him dying in this manner--it wasn't in vain. And I know that it's eventually going to help other people,' says Anderson.
  • It is an intense, life-saving job.  And with the unemployment rate dropping eight years in a row and counting – the nation's 911 call centers are struggling to stay fully staffed.  When Destiny Davidson became Cobb County's 911 Director in 2016, they were short 20 dispatchers. “It was looking a little dismal,” Davidson tells WSB Radio through laughter.  It is harder than ever, Davidson says, to lure and keep candidates considering the tight labor market.  “That is having an impact on not just on us, but across all fields of public safety,” Davidson explains.  Cobb's dispatchers handle nearly 33,000 emergency calls per month. Some candidates do well with the books, but struggle on the call floor. And the hours weigh on others.  “It’s a very high-stress job,” she says, adding, “A lot of multi-tasking; no one calls 911 when they’re having a good day.”  The 911 emergency operator's job is crucial. “They’re actually giving lifesaving emergency medical information over the phone to callers, which has been credited over and over as being the number one thing that kept that person alive until fire and EMS could get there and continue on with the proper equipment,” Davidson says.  She adds, “The first contact the operator has with a caller is usually under very stressful conditions.  “Sometimes there’s a lot of screaming, crying; sometimes there’s a lot of use of profanity and that sort of thing directed at the dispatcher.”  Davidson tells WSB Radio that the perfect dispatcher is kind-hearted and level-headed. “A lot of times the callers are intoxicated or under the influence of drugs, and they take out their emotions on that dispatcher,” she explains.  Right now, entry-level pay for a Cobb 911 dispatcher is $35,500.  Davidson has lobbied the county to bump entry-level pay so that Cobb is on par with, or higher than, other counties in metro Atlanta.  Cobb has streamlined training – which is paid – added quiet rooms for dispatchers to decompress, and included bonuses and additional incentives to meet or beat nearby counties' salaries as they compete to recruit.  And, Davidson tells WSB, it is a good job for younger folks who are not going to college. “It starts out with decent pay and benefits,” she says, adding, “They’ve increased their targeting of local high schools.”  Today, Cobb County has openings for fourteen 911 dispatchers; seven of those are brand-new positions. People can learn more at www.JoinCobb911.com 
  • As the latest law enforcement lip-sync challenge sweeps the Internet, police known for protecting and serving are taking time out for singing and dancing.  In Pickens County, Georgia, the officers did both.  The Pickens County Sheriff's Office video posted to Facebook on July 26 takes a fun project and turns it into a public service announcement about stopping family violence.  The action is realistic, and the video comes with a 'trigger warning' to watch it with caution because of what is depicted.  The first seconds of the video are fun, with deputies lip-syncing in their jail sally port to Tag Team's ever-popular 'Whoomp! There It Is!' But when Deputy Donnie Craig walks in, the music fades, and he challenges them to 'think outside the box.'  The video morphs into the song 'Titanium,' and a tale of domestic violence played out by employees and relatives of employees in the Deputy's Office. A man chokes and beats a woman as a little girl runs to lock herself in her bedroom to call 911. The Pickens County deputies respond to the call with blue lights flashing, rescuing the family and arresting the perp.  It ends with a deputy citing statistics about domestic violence – and letting people know where they can find help.  'According to the most recent statistics, law enforcement officers in Georgia responded to 65,487 family violence incidents in one year,' he says. 'We challenge you, our community, to help bring an end to family violence.'  He adds that within the past year, about 15.5 million children have witnessed acts of domestic violence nationwide.  The deputy gives the number to a 24-hour hotline: 1 (800) 33-HAVEN.  The Pickens County Sheriff's Office says that the lip-sync challenge shows the joy and humanity of those in law enforcement.  'However, there is also a different side to law enforcement we want to draw your attention to. As we thought about this challenge and its purpose, we also wanted to show you that side,' it says.  In a behind-the-scenes video, Sheriff Craig says they made the video after getting a lot of requests from residents.  'We wanted to do something different,' says Craig. 'We didn't want to do just the regular silly video that everybody else was doing. We kinda wanted to do something that was kind of outside the box and with a message.'  'We were all pushing to be funny,' says reserve deputy Shane Godfrey with the PSO. 'Sheriff pushed to be serious. So we met somewhere in the middle.'  The video racked up millions of views on Facebook, and many comments were filled with admiration and thanks.  'It was hard for me to watch because [that] could have been a home video of what I grew up with. Your video was more true to life than most could understand. God's blessing to all. Thank you,' wrote Peggy Brown.  Viewer Mindy Enos said, 'The very best one I've seen yet! Gave me goosebumps and tears! Way to go!'  Some women shared stories of how their abusers were able to skirt the law, even though their victims had reached out for help.  'He came thru my window and I had a deputy of the sheriff’s office at my house in my driveway with him violating the 500 ft mark & he told me there was nothing he could do,' writes Mindy Boothe Shackelford.  Chessa Jordan Welch agreed, comparing her experience with the woman's in the video.  'I was always made to feel like I was being dramatic and they even seemed annoyed with me. The woman had no bruises or marks and in the situation depicted therefore he most likely would not have been arrested for banging on a door. I found my own way once [I] realized they were no help to me,' she wrote.  Neither woman identified her city or what jurisdiction she lived in when having those experiences.  Pickens County Sheriff's Sgt. Jody Weaver reveals that the morning they shot the video, they also had a SWAT call-out, and some of the members of the SWAT team are also in the video.  They got both done that day, and the community seems grateful.  'It was so difficult to watch. But the message is far too important, not to. Thank you,' said Debra Michioka Thompson.
  • The Atlanta Fulton Public Library System has a novel approach to bring technology to people while its Central branch is under renovation.  'Library on the Lawn' is in its second week at Woodruff Park. It consists of 10 Chromebooks, set up on tables under a tent on the shady north side of the park, with the water wall cascading nearby.  The occasional fire engine siren passing on Peachtree Street is also part of the backdrop, if Tuesday afternoon was any indication. But the hubbub of the city didn't seem to bother the people who were taking advantage of the laptops.  The computers have a 30-minute use period – if there is a wait. However, if there is no wait, the user can surf as long as they want.  'The library isn't just about books anymore,' says Amanda Densmore, Community Engagement Librarian at Atlanta-Fulton Public Library System. 'It's about technology, and bringing Internet to people who may not necessarily have it. We just want to make sure that everybody has equal access, and ways to get what they need done.'  Densmore says no library card is needed to sign up to use a laptop, but they are also providing library cards for anyone who wants to get one. She says the AFPLS has a lot of features that people may not know about, including free downloadable movies, TV shows, books, comics, and music streaming, as well as access to the New York Times and digital magazines. She says just four days in, it seems clear that Library on the Lawn is a hit.  'I've seen regulars since I've been here,' she says. 'Definitely, people are coming back.'  Carol Land is one person who's stopped by the tent more than once to sign on. Most of the time, her Internet access is through her phone--except days like today, when her connection seems like it's 'in outer space,' she says. She last logged on to dump all the unnecessary e-mail in her inbox.  'I just use Facebook on my phone. I talk to my kids on Facebook, and I looked for a job,' says Land.  Densmore says the library has also brought with it the capability to provide Wi-Fi access to people there upon request, if they don't want to log on to a laptop.  Mustafa El Ahmiyd was scrolling through Facebook early Tuesday afternoon, and watching a video about the late singer Prince. He, too, uses Facebook to connect with his children, who live abroad.  'I get online here and go onto Facebook and I'm in their country instead of this country,' he smiles. He hopes the library expands the outdoor computer program, he says; he often uses the library or a coffee shop to get online.  'Besides being out in the air, you're out in nature, you're hearing the waterfall behind you, so that's cool. It’s soothing,' says El Ahmiyd. 'Then you want to take a break, look at a bird or whatever. A good distraction. A lot of positives there.'  Jayantkumar Sutaria sat at a table across from El Ahmiyd, clicking through a Yahoo! screen. He says the outdoor laptops make him think of a modern version of the ancient open-air schools in his home country of India, and admits he likes the idea of surfing outside more than being indoors on a pleasant day.  'In the presence of nature, I would like to work,' says Sutaria. 'Coming out here, this is far better. I am checking for the news, my e-mails, what is happening in the world.'  Land pointed out that some things, however, she still must do on her phone.  'Alls you can do is apply for a job, send a resume. Everything's blocked from the public library and everything's blocked from this Wi-Fi--you can't gamble or anything like that from this,' she notes. 'It's just to help your business life out.' Densmore says the Chromebooks are going to be available Mondays-Wednesdays from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., weather permitting, 'til further notice. The Central library branch's renovations are expected to take about two years.  'I think a lot of times librarians are getting outside of the buildings, because that's just where we need to be,' says Densmore.
  • WSB has learned details about the allegations facing a Cobb County man whose arrest led authorities to evacuate part of his subdivision when an apparent homemade explosive was found. Arrest warrants tie Brent Christopher Allsup’s false statement and theft by taking charges to his job as a financial analyst at Quikrete.  The warrant Cobb County Sheriff’s Office swore out before a magistrate judge on July 9, 2018, alleges that when his position was terminated in late February, Allsup used the power of attorney he held in his role of buying and selling company vehicles to sign a title for a white 2017 Chevrolet Tahoe over from the company to himself.  'Said accused did sign a vehicle title, as seller and purchaser, using his Limited Power of Attorney, and deliver it to a Department of Motor Vehicles to transfer a vehicle from Quikrete to himself for personal use after his termination from employment on 02/21/2018,' the warrant reads. 'There was no authority to do this.'  Tuesday morning, Acworth families spent hours evacuated from their homes while a bomb squad got to work on their block. Cobb Sheriff's investigators arrived on Zachary Court around 7:30 a.m. to arrest Allsup on the theft and false statement charges. As deputies took him into custody and took inventory of the 2017 Tahoe which they also came to seize, they spotted what looked like a bomb.  “It was described as a plastic PVC pipe with a cap on the end, with the wires out of it,” Cobb Sheriff's spokesman Glenn Daniel told WSB Radio’s Veronica Waters.  Daniel says investigators immediately cleared the area and called in the Cobb County Police Bomb Squad. Officers neutralized the device and took it to a different location to assess whether it was explosive. Families in the subdivision were evacuated for about five hours.  Allsup resigned his part-time professorship at Kennesaw State University last October after he was found passed out with an open container of beer in the student center; he blamed his condition on a medication mix-up. Assorted pills were found in his truck.  Allsup is jailed in Cobb County. The bond on the theft and false statement charges is $55,000. Allsup is also facing additional charges related to the explosive in the Tahoe.
  • There is already a 2013 law on the books requiring businesses to post in plain view signs so that trafficking victims have a number they can call for help. Fulton County Commission Chairman Robb Pitts says he was angry to know that it had fallen by the wayside--with members of his Task Force on Sex Trafficking alerting him that it wasn't being enforced.
  • Four attacks in apartments. One at a single-family home. Twice, there were weapons. Police in Clayton County now know they are hunting one serial rapist. Clayton County Police Sgt. Ashanti Marbury tells WSB that DNA trace evidence processed by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation has linked the sexual assaults on five black women over the course of two years. The four rapes—and one attempted rape of a woman who managed to get away—date back to July 2015 in Clayton County. “In every case, we recovered DNA evidence that links to one male,” says Sgt. Marbury. “It’s particularly important for us because initially detectives did not believe that any of the cases were linked together just because the method that was being used by the suspect was ever-changing.” The last known assault by this suspect was in May of 2017. “In a few of the cases, he entered the residence through an open or an unsecured window,” explains Marbury. “In another situation, he accosted his victim as she was walking to her apartment. In one other situation, he knocked on the door of a victim and asked for a wrong name—just a random person— and when she opened the door, he forced his way in. Marbury says most of the women lived in multi-family dwellings—apartment or townhome complexes. All are African American. Two were able to give police enough of a description that they were able to produce composite sketches. “We did notice there is similarity to the sketches that were done at different times by different women. So, we are hoping that someone will recognize or even see a similarity in the person to someone they know, and give us that information, “says Sgt. Marbury. Since 13 months have passed since this suspect’s last known assault, is it possible that the man is already behind bars? “We know that he’s not been processed into the Georgia prison system, because when you go into the state prison system, automatically they collect a sample of your DNA, and that would’ve given us our suspect. But on a local level, if you’re in and out of a local jail, they don’t usually collect your DNA for any reason there,” she says. It’s also possible that a subsequent attack may not have left DNA that has been processed yet—or left DNA at all.  Marbury says it’s not known whether the suspect sought out the women specifically or whether they were all crimes of opportunity.  All of the cases were being investigated separately. Now, the five will come under the review of one detective.
  • A McDonough man was sentenced to life Tuesday after pleading guilty to raping a child relative--and getting her pregnant. The beginning of the end of the little girl's horror story began last September in Michigan. 'A little girl actually had miscarried a fetus,' says Jodi Spiegel, Henry County (GA) Senior Assistant District Attorney. 'And this little girl, nor her mother, really had any idea she was pregnant until that miscarriage.'.
  • An Atlanta group planning a 'die-in' Tuesday near the state Capitol canceled the demonstration due to the threat of bad weather. One would-be attendee disagrees with the call for stricter gun control, but came hoping to connect with the group on a different level.
  • Veronica Waters

    Reporter

    Veronica Waters is an anchor and reporter for News/Talk WSB. She is also the staff expert on legal affairs and the courts. In 2007, the Radio-Television News Directors Association named Waters' series on "Snaring Internet Predators" best in the region with an Edward R. Murrow award for Investigative Reporting.She has been honored by several professional organizations for news and sports feature reporting, and was named in 2003 as the Atlanta Press Club's Radio Journalist of the Year. Waters has covered an assortment of high-profile cases from Mayor Bill Campbell's corruption trial to the murder trials of activist-turned imam Jamil Al-Amin and of former DeKalb County, GA Sheriff Sidney Dorsey.She served as the station's correspondent for the murder trial of accused "Black Widow" Lynn Turner, and the death penalty case of double murderer Stacey Humphreys. One of the biggest legal cases in Atlanta history involved the notorious Gold Club racketeering trial. Waters covered this unfolding drama not only for WSB Radio and radio stations throughout America, but also for a worldwide audience on BBC Radio. Waters joined WSB in 1997 as an anchor and reporter. She began her journalism career at the Southern Urban Network and Mississippi Network in Jackson, MS. Waters attended Alcorn State University and Mississippi State University, and enjoys cheering for the NFL's Tennessee Titans.

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News

  • A 61-year-old woman was pinned between her car and a gas pump after a four-car crash at a Lithonia gas station, DeKalb County police said.  Her grandchildren were inside the her car at the time, according to Channel 2 Action News.  The woman was taken to the hospital in critical condition following the Monday evening wreck at the Circle K gas station in the intersection of Covington Highway and Evans Mill Road, DeKalb County spokeswoman Shiera Campbell said.  Campbell said the woman was pumping gas when a gray vehicle sped into the gas station at a high rate of speed. The car crashed into a pick-up truck, causing it to crash into a Nissan SUV, Campbell said. The SUV slammed into the woman’s car, pinning her against the gas pump.  Campbell said the people, believed to be juveniles, inside the gray vehicle ran from the scene.  No other details were released.  In other news:
  • Georgia is paying attention to what's happening in other states and around the world with measles.  Measles cases have been identified in 21 states and Washington, D.C. --- 107 in all. Georgia has not seen a case since 2016 but three cases have been reported in Florida and experts say that's close enough. Sheila Lovett directs the immunization program for the state and says a 93.3 percent vaccine coverage rate is serving Georgians well. 'There is a level of protection that is there that is keeping the disease out of our communities. Measles cases hit a record high in Europe. 41,000 cases of infection and 37 deaths in the first half of 2018,' she said. 'Europe is very alarming because the cases are widespread. But you have to look at that coverage rate there as well compared to what we have here.' TRENDING STORIES: Plane carrying famous rapper blows 2 tires, will try emergency landing Buford schools superintendent recorded in racist rant, lawsuit says 15-year-old girl rescued; 4 people accused of trafficking, pimping her for sex Facts show the vaccine is more than 90 percent effective in preventing the disease. It's recommended children be vaccinated at 12 months and get a booster between 4 and 6 years old. 'We cannot make them vaccinate their children. What we can do is continue to educate, continue to provide the facts,' she said. Lovett says 'worst case' measles can be a life or death situation, but a vaccine can help protect you from even the mildest complications.  'If you're going to travel is that you've been vaccinated and have received those two doses,' she said. What about the other 7 percent of people who are not vaccinated? That's where we rely on what's called 'herd immunity' since such a high percentage of people who should be vaccinated from this area, they rely on that stat to keep the disease out of the community.. 
  • Marlins right-hander Jose Urena dropped his appeal of a six-game suspension for intentionally hitting Atlanta rookie Ronald Acuna Jr. with a pitch. Urena began serving the suspension Tuesday. The Marlins, fearful the Braves might retaliate, had already decided Urena wouldn't pitch against them during a four-game series later this week. 'It seems like there's no reason to open that back up,' manager Don Mattingly said. 'We don't need that.' Urena is expected to return at Boston on Aug. 28. He hit Acuna on the left arm with his first pitch, triggering a melee in the Marlins' 5-2 loss in Atlanta last Wednesday. Acuna went into the game having homered in five straight games, including four homers in the three games against Miami — three of them leading off. Acuna left the game injured but was back in the lineup the next day. Urena was ejected. His next start came Sunday, when he pitched a two-hitter for his first career complete game to beat Washington 12-1. ___ More AP baseball: https://apnews.com/tag/MLB and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports
  • West Virginia's Republican House speaker resigned Tuesday to run for a vacancy on the state Supreme Court, fueling accusations by Democrats that an unprecedented move to impeach state Supreme Court justices represents a power grab by GOP lawmakers. Speaker Tim Armstead disclosed his plans on Twitter. Though the secretary of state's office has said he's not required to resign, Armstead said he was doing so to make sure his candidacy is above question. House lawmakers recently impeached four of the court's five justices, prompting one to resign. All four were ordered Tuesday to appear in the Senate on Sept. 11 to answer accusations against them. The impeachment probe was sparked by questions involving more than $3 million in renovations to the justices' offices and expanded to broader accusations of corruption, incompetence and neglect of duty. Armstead had recused himself from the House debate over impeachment because he had previously expressed interest in serving on the court. More recently, he and U.S. Rep. Evan Jenkins, a Republican who is not seeking re-election and lost in his bid for the U.S. Senate this spring, both applied to be considered for temporary appointments to the Supreme Court by Gov. Jim Justice. Those appointments would last until the November election is certified. Jenkins has declared himself a candidate for a different seat on the court in the November election, which is officially nonpartisan. The West Virginia Democratic Party said on Twitter of Armstead's resignation, 'No surprise here, more self-serving moves for political gain and abandoning the people of West Virginia in his district.' In a statement announcing his resignation, Armstead said he intends 'to spend as much time as possible meeting West Virginians and earning their trust and their votes to represent them on their Supreme Court of Appeals.' Armstead filed by Tuesday's deadline to run in the nonpartisan race for the vacancy created last month when Menis Ketchum retired and agreed to plead guilty to wire fraud related to his personal use of a state vehicle and fuel. Robin Davis stepped down from the court Aug. 14 after lawmakers voted to impeach her and justices Allen Loughry, Margaret Workman and Beth Walker. Davis and at least one Democratic lawmaker have accused the Republican-led legislature of turning what they said was a legitimate pursuit of charges against Loughry into a blatant attempt to take over the court. Democratic Delegate Barbara Evans Fleischauer of Monongalia County has called impeaching the other justices 'a power grab ... and using the impeachment process to take over another branch of government.' Jenkins and six other candidates have filed to run for Davis' seat in November. Armstead and nine other candidates have filed to run for the seat Ketchum vacated. Loughry faces six charges related to accusations of spending $363,000 on office renovations, taking home a $42,000 antique desk owned by the state, and lying to a House committee. Loughry, Walker and Workman all face charges of abusing authority by failing to control office expenses and not maintaining policies about the use of state vehicles, office computers at home and other matters. Workman faces two separate impeachment articles related to accusations that she allowed senior status judges to be paid higher wages than are allowed. Armstead was appointed to a House seat from Kanawha County in 1998 to fill a vacancy and was elected later that year. He served as House minority leader and was named speaker in December 2014 after Republicans gained majority control of both the House and Senate for the first time in eight decades. Some Democrats have said the impeachments were strategically timed by majority Republican lawmakers to allow the governor to name their temporary replacements. 'There's never been any time in history where one branch of government supposedly controls another branch,' Senate Democratic leader Roman Perzioso said Monday. 'And for the governor to be able to appoint people to be replaced, obviously there's that apprehension by a lot of the Democratic senators and House members, too.
  • A man accused of shooting and killing a man in a Walmart parking lot appeared in court Tuesday.  Gwinnett County District Attorney Danny Porter said that while he does believe Troy Hunte killed Fadil Delkic, a refugee from the Bosnian War, in the parking lot of a Snellville Walmart Sunday, he is not convinced there was malice involved. “Clearly there was provocation on both sides, so that's the reason they made that choice,” Porter said. Sunday afternoon, shoppers at the Scenic Highway store were sent into a panic after a shot was fired outside.  “All you saw was everyone running,” witness Robin Reynolds told Channel 2 Action News. [READ MORE: Bosnian War survivor identified as victim in Walmart parking lot shooting] Witnesses said Hunte, his girlfriend and their child were heading into the store as Delkic was driving away. Hunte's girlfriend apparently thought Delkic pulled too close to them in a crosswalk. TRENDING STORIES: Buford schools superintendent recorded in racist rant, lawsuit says Man arrested in death of Mollie Tibbetts details what happened Girl, 15, says police officer sexually assaulted her for hours; GBI investigating The two argued, she slapped Delkic, then police said Hunte shot and killed the Bosnian refugee.  Hunte made his first court appearance Tuesday on what are now voluntary manslaughter charges.   Porter said the charges may change as his team investigates. He hinted Hunte may claim self-defense. “There are two questions in this case. Number one: Was there a right to defend him or his girlfriend? And number two: Was he justified in using deadly force?” Porter said. Delkic is getting a lot of support. An online fundraising effort has taken in $25,000 in less than a day.  Some of Delkic's family are not only asking why the suspect is not charged with murder, but why the woman who first argued with Delkic has not also been charged. “There was a child to consider. There were other issues that taking her into custody at this point was not necessary for the public safety,” Porter said. Porter said the woman is not entirely cleared yet. “That's something that is still under investigation and she may be (charged),” Porter said.
  • Shanann Watts’ father sobbed in a Colorado courtroom Tuesday as a judge recited the charges against his son-in-law -- charges that indicate detectives believe Chris Watts may have killed his children before his pregnant wife returned home from a business trip.  Chris Watts, 33, of Frederick, was charged Monday with nine felony charges: five counts of first-degree murder, including two for killing a child under the age of 12 while the defendant was in a position of trust, one count of unlawful termination of a pregnancy and three counts of tampering with a deceased human body. He is being held without bail in the Weld County Jail.  The defendant faces a potential death penalty on the murder charges.  In a confession to police, Chris Watts alleged that he strangled Shanann Watts, 34, after seeing her do the same to their two daughters, Bella, 4, and Celeste, 3. Disbelieving investigators charged him with all three murders, as well as with the death of the couple’s unborn child.   >> Related story: Colorado father charged with killing pregnant wife, 2 daughters, says wife killed children Shanann Watts was 15 weeks pregnant with a son they planned to name Niko, friends and family have said. A Change.org petition started by friends demands that Colorado adopt a new law, named “Niko’s Law,” to make the killing of an unborn baby like the Watts’ son first-degree murder. As Chris Watts sat stone-faced throughout Tuesday’s proceedings, which were streamed live by CBS Denver, Judge Marcello Kopcow advised Watts of the updated charges levied against him. Watts had been in custody since Wednesday on suspicion of murder and tampering with evidence.  Chris Watts told 9News in Denver in an interview the day before his arrest that he had nothing to do with the deaths of his family.  “Everybody’s going to have their own opinion on anything like this,” Watts said in the TV interview. “I just want people to know that I want my family back. I want them safe and I want them here.” The charges Kopcow read in court state that Chris Watts caused the death of his wife on Aug. 13, the day she and her daughters were reported missing by a friend. The charges related to Bella and Celeste, however, state that he caused their deaths “between and including Aug. 12, 2018, and Aug. 13, 2018.” Shanann Watts was out of town until early Aug. 13.  An arrest affidavit released Monday states that the friend who reported Shanann and the girls missing, Nickole Utoft Atkinson, dropped Shanann off at the Watts’ home just before 2 a.m. that day. The two women had been on a business trip to Arizona for Le-Vel, a health and wellness company that sells nutritional products.  “Nicole (sic) stated Shanann was 15 weeks pregnant and was not feeling well during the trip,” the affidavit states.  Atkinson became concerned later that morning because Shanann Watts missed a 10 a.m. doctor’s appointment and was not answering phone calls or texts. She went to the couple’s home at 2825 Saratoga Trail to check on her.  Read the charges against Chris Watts below. “(Nickole) went to Shanann’s residence and discovered her car in the garage with car seats positioned inside of it,” the affidavit says. “(She) attempted to enter the front door, but a latch prevented it from opening more than three inches.” Atkinson called Chris Watts at work and asked him to return home to check on his wife, the court document reads. She was afraid that Shanann Watts, who reportedly had lupus, had passed out or was suffering some other medical emergency.  Atkinson also called police, who arrived before Chris Watts did. Once Chris Watts arrived and allowed officers into the house, they found Shanann Watts’ personal belongings -- her cellphone, purse, wallet and medication -- inside.  They also found a pair of women’s shoes kicked off by the front door and a suitcase, apparently from her Arizona trip, at the bottom of the stairs, the affidavit states.  Chris Watts initially told investigators that around 4 a.m. that day, he told his wife he wanted a separation. He said it was an emotional conversation, with both of them upset and crying, but that it was not argumentative.  Chris Watts told detectives that when he left for work just before 5:30 a.m., Shanann Watts told him she and the girls would be going to a friend’s home later in the day. He said that he backed his work truck up into the driveway to load some tools into it before leaving.  Read the warrantless arrrest affidavit in the Chris Watts case below. The truck’s movements were captured by a neighbor’s security camera, the affidavit says.  During the investigation into the disappearance of Shanann Watts and her daughters, investigators learned that Chris Watts was having an affair with a female co-worker at Anadarko Petroleum Corp. -- an affair that he denied in previous interviews.  Chris Watts was taken into custody Wednesday night, at which time Anadarko fired him. In a subsequent police interview Thursday, after being allowed to speak to his father, Chris Watts admitted strangling Shanann Watts the morning of Aug. 13, the affidavit states.  “Chris stated after he told Shanann he wanted a separation, he walked downstairs for a moment and then returned to his bedroom to speak with Shanann again,” the affidavit states. “While in the bedroom, via baby monitor located on Shanann’s nightstand, he observed Bella ‘sprawled’ out on her bed and blue and Shanann actively strangling Celeste. “Chris said he went into a rage and ultimately strangled Shanann to death.” Chris Watts told detectives that, when he backed his truck into the driveway, it was his wife and daughters’ bodies he loaded into the back seat, the affidavit states. He said he drove the bodies to an Anadarko work site just north of Roggan, an unincorporated area of Weld County about 40 miles from the family’s home in Frederick.  A Google Maps search using the coordinates of the site, which are included in the affidavit, shows a desolate area in which a dirt road leads to a couple of large oil tanks.  Chris Watts told investigators buried Shanann in a shallow grave near the tanks and dumped his daughters’ bodies inside the tanks.  “Chris was presented an aerial photograph of the tank battery area and identified three separate locations in which he placed the bodies,” the affidavit reads. Prior to Watts’ alleged confession, investigators did a drone search of the site and spotted a bedsheet in a field near the tank battery, the document says. The sheet matched the pattern of pillow cases and a top sheet discovered stuffed into a trash can in Watts’ kitchen earlier Thursday.  Shanann Watts’ body was found that afternoon, buried in a shallow grave near the oil tanks. Bella and Celeste were found inside the tanks, which were almost completely full of crude oil.  The girls’ bodies had been submerged in oil for four days, according to court documents filed by Chris Watts’ defense lawyer. The attorney, James Merson, sought to have defense experts at the autopsies of the victims, and to have DNA swabs done on the necks of the children, an apparent bid to prove that Shanann Watts killed her daughters.  Kopcow on Friday denied the motion to have defense experts present at the autopsies, but granted the request to for DNA swabs of Bella and Celeste’s necks. He denied the defense’s request that their expert take the swabs, however.  “Furthermore, defendant’s request to order prosecution to collect evidence in the manner described by defense expert is denied,” the order reads. “This court cannot order the prosecution and/or coroner how to conduct their investigation.” Kopcow said there was no indication that prosecutors or the coroner would destroy evidence, improperly collect it or fail to collect it.  The disappearance and killings of Shanann, Bella and Celeste Watts have captured national attention, and inspired gut-wrenching emotion from those who knew them. Shanann Watts’ father, Frank Rzucek, tearfully spoke publicly Monday ahead of the news conference at which Weld County District Attorney Michael Rourke announced the charges against Chris Watts.  “We would like to thank everyone in the Frederick Police Department and all the agencies involved for working so hard to find my daughter, granddaughters and Niko,” Rzucek said. “Thank you, everyone, for coming out to the candlelight vigil and saying all your prayers. They are greatly appreciated. “Keep the prayers coming for our family.” Rzucek has also been active on his Facebook page, posting photos of Bella and Celeste smiling and playing together. In one post, he uploaded the song “Let It Go” from the Disney movie “Frozen.” “Dear Bella and Celeste and Nico,” Rzucek wrote. “Pop Pop loves you. God bless you.” He also posted several photos of Shanann Watts.  “Dad loves you,” he wrote on one. On another, he wrote, “We got you, baby.” Family friends who let Chris Watts stay in their home after his wife and daughters went missing expressed shock over the accusations against him -- and apologized for taking him in and defending him against swirling rumors.  “Had we had any inclination that we thought he was involved at all, no way would I have let him in my house with my wife and kid,” Nick Thayer told 9News Thursday, the day Watts confessed and the bodies were found.  “They were family,” his wife, Amanda Thayer, told the news station. “They spent Thanksgivings with us and Fourth of Julys and all the holidays. It’s just unreal.” The couple, who also took in the Watts family’s dog, Deeter, until Shanann’s family could pick him up, is now left figuring out how to tell their 5-year-old daughter that her playmates are dead. They are also struggling to understand the crime themselves, 9News reported.  “I’m so sorry. We didn’t know. We thought we were doing the right thing,’ Nick Thayer said. “It’s all we can do is say we’re sorry that we defended him on social media. We really had no idea that he was capable of doing something like we’ve.... I hate it. I hate all of this.”