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June 29, 2018 - 12:00 am


Suspended officer dead after standoff; 2 others killed

(Information from: The (Jacksonville) Florida Times-Union,

BRUNSWICK, Ga. (AP) — A suspended police lieutenant in Georgia is dead after a SWAT standoff at his home and an investigation found his estranged wife and her boyfriend slain in a nearby county.

The Florida Times-Union reports police say it appears 41-year-old Robert Cory Sasser's wife and her boyfriend were shot Thursday night in McIntosh County during a confrontation with Sasser, who then fled to Glynn County where the standoff ensued and ended with his death.

Sasser had been arrested last month on charges of simple battery and criminal trespassing after his wife said he threatened to kill her and a guest while trying to kick in her door. Sasser was placed on administrative leave without pay pending an investigation.

Authorities say the couple had been separated for three months.



Georgia officer to appear in court after deadly shooting

KINGSLAND, Ga. (AP) — A white Georgia police officer charged with voluntary manslaughter after shooting a fleeing black man is set to make his first court appearance.

Kingsland Police Officer Zechariah Presley's hearing will be at 2 p.m. Friday in Camden County, Georgia.

Presley was charged after the Georgia Bureau of Investigation reviewed his body camera recording and other evidence in the death of Anthony Green in the small south Georgia town of Kingsland.

Presley's lawyer, Adrienne Browning, said her client is looking forward to his day in court and declined further comment.

The killing has enraged Green's family and friends. They plan to hold a news conference with their lawyers at 11:30 a.m. Friday.


Conviction tossed for man accused in Lil Wayne bus shooting

ATLANTA (AP) — Georgia's highest court has reversed the convictions of a man who pleaded guilty to a gang charge after he was accused of shooting into rapper Lil Wayne's tour buses on a Georgia highway.

Jimmy Carlton Winfrey was sentenced in November 2015 to serve 10 years in prison after he pleaded guilty to six counts of violating the Street Gang Terrorism and Prevention Act.

The Georgia Supreme Court on Friday said the trial judge improperly participated in the plea negotiations, making Winfrey's plea involuntary.

During a pretrial hearing, prosecutors told the judge Winfrey had rejected three plea offers and no more were anticipated. The judge warned Winfrey that the plea opportunity was going away and that if he went to trial and got convicted she had a reputation for being tough.


Campaign contributions to top candidates raise questions

(Information from: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution,

ATLANTA (AP) — A newspaper's analysis of campaign contributions to the two Republican candidates vying to become Georgia's next governor details donations that critics say raise ethical questions for both state officials.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution found donations of more than $325,000 to Secretary of State Brian Kemp's campaign from people tied to licensees and companies regulated by his office.

The newspaper found contributions of more than $240,000 to Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle's campaign before the beginning of the 2018 legislative session from lobbyists, members of their family or their firms, as well as another $40,000 donated after the session ended.

Kemp and Cagle are locked in a contentious runoff for the Republican nomination for governor that will be decided July 24. The winner will face Democrat Stacey Abrams in November.

Kemp and his campaign are the subject of an ethics complaint filed by Atlanta-area attorney Simon Bloom, who the newspaper reported is a Cagle supporter, citing examples of contractors, investment advisers and an auctioneering firm that donated to his campaign.

Critics say that donations to Kemp by people with ties to businesses under the oversight of his licensing or securities divisions could undermine the credibility of one of the state's top regulators. Two previous secretaries of state told the newspaper they had returned similar donations.

A legal loophole exists where regulated companies are not permitted to make such donations, but individuals at those companies are allowed to contribute.

Kemp spokesman Ryan Mahoney told the newspaper that Kemp has gone "above and beyond" and has refunded a number of donations by regulated companies.

"Given that Kemp is a man of integrity," Mahoney said, "he decided to not take contributions from regulated businesses. Our legal and compliance team spend a lot of man hours to screen these checks. We've refunded hundreds of thousands of dollars because of Kemp's character."

One donor to Kemp's gubernatorial campaign told the newspaper that he did not expect anything in return.

Cagle's campaign meanwhile has received support among lobbyists in the state.

Cagle, who is known as a political tactician that can get things done in the state legislature, received donations from about 85 lobbyists or people with close ties to lobbyists before the 2018 session, according to the newspaper. His four Republican opponents in last month's primary had about a dozen lobby supporters combined.

Cagle also received at least an additional 20 contributions from lobbyists, worth about $40,000, after the session.

Sara Henderson, the executive director of Common Cause Georgia, a government watchdog group, told the newspaper the donations show a pattern of Cagle putting "moneyed interests" above voters.

"Anybody is welcome to donate to my campaign. We don't filter. But I have a very long record of standing up for what I believe in and for what is right for the citizens of our state," Cagle told the newspaper.

"I hope that people contribute to me for the sole purpose that they buy into our vision and the fact that we have a proven, consistent conservative record. If they're thinking anything different, then they're going to be disappointed."



Don't dial and drive: Georgia mandates hands-free cell use

ATLANTA (AP) — Don't touch that screen!

Starting July 1, Georgia is joining more than a dozen other states in banning hands-on cellphone use while driving.

Robert Hydrick is a spokesman for the Governor's Office of Highway Safety. He says that under the "Hands-Free Georgia Act," drivers will not be allowed to hold a phone with their hands or use any other part of their body to support the device.

Drivers may touch their cellphones to answer and end phone calls, but anything more than that violates the law.

Violators will face fines of up to $150 and as many as three points on their license.

Exceptions include reporting a crash or other emergency. Utility workers and first responders are also exempt from this law.


Health official who urged abstinence says views have changed

NEW YORK (AP) — The head of the nation's top public health agency once opposed condoms and needle exchange programs as ways to stop the spread of sexually transmitted diseases.

This week, in one of his first media interviews since taking office, Dr. Robert Redfield Jr. said his views have changed.

Redfield became director of the Atlanta-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in March. He rose to prominence in the 1980s as a top researcher into the emerging AIDS epidemic. But at the time he was criticized for being out of step with the public health community on some issues.

Redfield told The Associated Press it has become clear to him that condoms and needle exchanges work as part of comprehensive programs to stop the spread of certain infectious diseases.


Investigators: Atlanta police officer shoots, wounds man

ATLANTA (AP) — State investigators say an Atlanta police officer has shot and wounded a man.

News outlets report that the wounded man was taken to a hospital for surgery and is expected to survive.

Georgia Bureau of Investigation spokeswoman Nelly Miles tweeted that the office is working to gather details about the shooting early Friday in downtown Atlanta. She says Atlanta police have asked the GBI to investigate.

GBI spokesman Bahan Rich says the police officer had tried to speak with the man when he became combative. Rich says a stun gun and pepper spray were used in an effort to subdue the man. He says the officer fired one gunshot during the struggle that struck the man's abdomen.

Authorities are continuing to investigate.


Roy Minter named police chief in Savannah

SAVANNAH, Ga. (AP) — The city of Savannah has chosen a new police chief.

The Georgia city on Thursday announced in a news release that 58-year-old Roy Minter was chosen for the job after a nationwide search. Minter is currently the chief of police in Peoria, Arizona. The news release says he served as chief in Denton, Texas from 2008-2011. He also served in several positions during 15 years with the Aurora, Colorado, police department.

The Savannah Morning News reports that Minter will replace Joseph Lumpkin, who announced almost seven months ago that he was resigning to head DeKalb County's public safety department.

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