Morning News Briefs for 2-18-16

| February 18, 2016


The state of Georgia has carried out another execution of a death row inmate. Former Navy crewman Travis Hittson was put to death after appeals and clemency on his behalf was denied. Hittson was convicted in the April 1992 killing of another sailor-Conway Utterbeck. His co-defendant Edward Vollmer entered a plea bargain with prosecutors and is serving a life sentence. The board of Pardons and Paroles will consider his case in 2020.

23 year old Ryshaun Bigelow is dead and 25 year old Darian Williams suffered multiple gunshot injuries in two separate shootings in Moultrie. Williams was airlifted to a hospital in Macon, Bigelow’s body was found lying in the middle of 7th Street West. The Thomasville GBI is asking that anyone with information on these incidents to contact their office or call the Moultrie Police Department.

A legislative bill permitting licensed gun owners to carry their weapons onto Georgia college campuses has been approved by a house committee. In 2014 the house took similar action but that provision was removed from the proposal due to opposition from the Georgia Board of Regents and college administrators.

Camilla law enforcement officials continue their search for Stephania Hall, Kenneth Quimby and Terry Bell, so far they have eluded the round–up of persons accused of selling drugs in that community. However, nine other persons were apprehended and their charges include the sale of cocaine and marijuana.

Colquitt County resident William Roberson has been taken into custody by sheriff’s investigators. The convicted felon was caught after he sold guns at a pawn shop.

The search for fugitive John Wesley Walton of Naylor has moved from Georgia to an area of Jackson, Mississippi. He fled from a traffic stop on Old Valdosta Road and managed to elude law enforcement after he stole a truck. He was sighted in Mississippi and officials with the U. S. Marshalls report that after he attempted to run down one of the officers, two of his tires were shot out. Walton abandoned the stolen truck and once again fled into a wooded area eluding capture.

Current and prospective students at Georgia’s 29 public colleges will not see an increase in their tuition in the fall. Members of the Georgia Board of regents announced the decision not to increase the 2016-2017 school year tuition after many complaints were lodged by students and their families. Tuition in Georgia had been steadily climbing since 2002.

A petition with the signatures of 12 thousand supporters has been handed over to the office of Governor Nathan Deal and other leaders in Georgia. A proposal put forth by Representative Allen Peake of Macon seeks to allow for the state licensing of manufacturers of medicinal cannabis and other products for medical use to open in the state. His bill expands the medical conditions of eligibility for persons with certain diseases to receive treatment. Speaker of the House David Raulston supports the proposed legislation-Governor Nathan Deal does not.

On Sunday, January 16, 2005 a passerby found the burnt body of 31 year old Anthony Davis on the power lines that cross Johnson Road South. Investigators found that Davis had been shot prior to being set on fire. On Friday, January 20, 2012 Stephon Edgerton called 9-1-1 after he walked out of the building following his shift as a DJ at a radio station on Highway 84 west of Valdosta and told the communications officer he had been shot. Edgerton passed away after being transported from the scene by ambulance. In both cases, Sheriff’s Office detectives have worked and followed up on numerous leads including consultation with the F.B.I. and numerous pleas for information all of which have failed to provide any substantial evidence of who committed these acts of violence. It is hoped that with the passage of time, someone will be willing to come forward and provide the information that is needed.

Valdosta Municipal Court Judge Vernita Lee Bender was recently featured by the Judicial Council of Georgia as one of the most influential African-American judges in Georgia. Each February during African American History Month, the Judicial Council’s Administrative Office of the Courts looks to highlight leading African American judges in Georgia to feature on the Council’s website. Judge Bender was appointed to serve as Judge of the Municipal Court for the City of Valdosta in August 2006.

The 2016 Arbor Day event, takes place on Friday, Feb. 19, at10 a.m.  The event, hosted by the Valdosta Tree Commission, will take place at the American Legion Post 13, located at 1301 Williams Street. During the ceremony, the Georgia Forestry Commission will honor the City of Valdosta as a Tree City USA community for its 30th consecutive year and for being one of only nine Georgia cities with this honor of 30 years or more. Citizens are invited to attend the event.

Christopher Wright the Mayor of Dawson, Georgia has been implicates in a 2012 case involving the sexual molestation of a girl that was 12 years old at the time of the incident. The implication came during the trial Milton Johnson who is accused of molesting two children; one male-the other female. Wright was named by the female victim in the case. Mayor Wright is listed as an unindicted co-conspirator and to date faces no charges.

A new Georgia Senate Bill-SB 367 is aimed at helping to reform the juvenile justice system and its sponsors hope to draw a legal and administrative line between incidents that can be handled by school officials and those that require police intervention. The measure has the support of Governor Nathan Deal. Supporters say that criminalization of youth behavior can often lead directly to the school-to-prison pipeline.

Congratulations go out today to Fifteen Lowndes County 4-H’ Club members who took part in the Southwest District Junior/Senior District Project Achievement at Rock Eagle 4-H Center in Eatonton recently. Organizers report that as many as 500 youth and adults were in attendance.

County Clerk Paige Dukes has announced that the Monday, Feb. 22, work session for the chairman and members of the Lowndes County Commission and the regular meeting of the board of commissioners set for Tuesday, Feb. 23, have been canceled due to a lack of agenda items requiring immediate actions.

Bill allowing guns on Georgia college campuses gets one step closer
Georgia executes man for 1992 murder of Navy crewman
Filed in: News, Regional News

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