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March 24, 2019 - 12:00 am


Atlanta police set up hotline for 'child murders' case

ATLANTA (AP) — Atlanta's mayor and police chief are leading a push to re-examine evidence from a string of murders that terrorized the city's black community between 1979 and 1981.

As a result, authorities are being inundated with calls. Now, officials have set up a central hotline for anyone with information about the "Atlanta Child Murders" cases.

Atlanta police urged tipsters to call 404-546-2603 and, if no one answers, callers are encouraged to leave a message for follow-up.

At least 25 African-American children and several adults were killed in the late 70s and early 80s. Atlanta native Wayne Williams was convicted in the deaths of two adults in 1981. He's been linked to the deaths of at least 22 of the children, but has never been tried. Williams maintains he never killed children.


Georgia hospital reviews its response to Alabama tornadoes

(Information from: Columbus Ledger-Enquirer,

COLUMBUS, Ga. (AP) — Officials at a Georgia trauma center are reviewing a day this month that began as a slower-than-usual Sunday and ended in one of its busiest days.

Piedmont Columbus Regional Midtown received more than 20 patients as a result of the March 3 tornado outbreak in Alabama and Georgia.

The Columbus Ledger-Enquirer reports that the hospital treated patients with conditions ranging from cuts, broken bones, respiratory distress and head injuries to critical injuries.

Hospital officials say that with gaps in immediate trauma care in rural areas of Alabama and Georgia, it's not uncommon for Piedmont Columbus Regional to receive trauma patients from many miles away.



Georgia county seeks to stop suicides on coastal bridge

(Information from: The News,

BRUNSWICK, Ga. (AP) — A community in coastal Georgia is asking state officials to help stop people from jumping to their deaths from a towering suspension bridge.

The Glynn County Commission approved a resolution calling on Georgia lawmakers and the state Department of Transportation to take action aimed at preventing suicides on the Sydney Lanier Bridge in the port city of Brunswick.

The Brunswick News reports at least 10 people have killed themselves by jumping from the bridge since it opened in 2003.

The resolution passed unanimously by the commission Thursday doesn't specify a solution.

San Francisco is installing a suicide net beneath the sides of the Golden Gate Bridge. But the project's $211 million cost has made it controversial.



Suddenly, cost-cutting states turn friendly to teachers

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Cost-cutting states are trying to keep schools happy as teacher unrest over low pay and overcrowded classrooms continues into a second year.

Pressure from voters is forcing states to put more money on the table as much as picket lines. In Texas, Republican lawmakers have proposed $5,000 teacher raises and $9 billion in additional classroom funding.

The proposals follow the GOP's worst election in a generation in Texas. New Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt is also pushing ahead with an additional $1,200 pay increase for classroom teachers, a year after several Republican opponents of a pay package were ousted in primaries.

A nationwide teacher revolt began with walkouts in West Virginia in 2018. In Kentucky this month, recurring "sickouts" for teacher protests forced schools to cancel classes.


Georgia Senate OKs governor-backed 'heartbeat' abortion ban

ATLANTA (AP) — Amid protests and a heavy police presence, the Georgia Senate has passed a bill banning almost all abortions after a fetal heartbeat can be detected.

The bill is backed by Republican Gov. Brian Kemp and now goes back to the House to approve Senate changes.

Women in Georgia can currently seek an abortion during the first 20 weeks of a pregnancy. A heartbeat can be detected in an embryo as early as six weeks, before many women know they're pregnant.

The ACLU of Georgia on Friday said it would challenge the legislation in court if it's signed into law.

GOP governors in Mississippi and Kentucky have recently signed similar "heartbeat" bills.

Abortion opponents are hoping the conservative-leaning U.S. Supreme Court will soon either reverse Roe v. Wade or uphold specific state laws undermining the landmark ruling.


Biden, Abrams reps pour cold water on running mate 'rumors'

WASHINGTON (AP) — Representatives for Joe Biden and Stacey Abrams say that rumors the former vice president planned to choose the onetime Georgia gubernatorial candidate as his 2020 running mate are "false" and that there was "no grand plan hatched."

Biden spokesman Bill Russo tweeted Friday that the ex-vice president "has an enormous amount of respect for" Abrams, noting Biden endorsed her in the gubernatorial race. "But," Russo tweeted, "these rumors about discussions on a pre-cooked ticket are false, plain and simple."

Abrams' spokeswoman Lauren Groh-Wargo responded by saying Abrams "enjoyed meeting" with Biden but "there was no grand plan hatched" and she was keeping her options for 2020 open.

Both Biden and Abrams are considering 2020 Democratic presidential runs, and Biden advisers had reportedly discussed options to mitigate concerns about his age.


Man charged with 1981 rapes at knife-point in N Carolina

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — North Carolina police say they're charging a man now living in Georgia with breaking into homes and raping women at knifepoint almost four decades ago.

The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department said Friday they've charged 64-year-old Johnny Ealey with burglary and raping two women in 1981.

Police say evidence collected from both women were analyzed in 1981, but underwent additional testing in both 2014 and 2016 that identified Ealey as a suspect.

Authorities say Ealey was arrested by his parole officer in Georgia on Tuesday and will be extradited to North Carolina.

Charlotte police continue investigating a string of cases from the summer of 1981 in which break-ins led to victims being threatened with knives and sexually assaulted.


R Kelly defense emerges, including saying accusers are lying

CHICAGO (AP) — A strategy seems to be emerging for how R. Kelly and his legal team intend to defend him against charges of sexually abusing three girls and a woman.

His legal team is likely to question the veracity of his accusers. Both Kelly and his lead attorney, Steve Greenberg, have said they are lying. Other statements indicate they'll also argue that, even if Kelly did have sex with them, it was consensual and he thought they were of age.

With pretrial maneuvers and time required to vet evidence, a trial could be many months or even years away. But court filings, as well as comments from Kelly and Greenberg, offer clues about how they might mount a defense.

Prosecutors are sure to offer evidence in a bid to corroborate the accusations.

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