Latest Georgia news, sports, business and entertainment at 9:20 p.m. EDT

June 16, 2018 - 12:00 am

OLD CASE-SENTENCE

Georgia man gets life for drowning neighbor 20 years ago

(Information from: The Telegraph, http://www.macontelegraph.com)

PERRY, Ga. (AP) — A man accused of drowning his neighbor in her bathtub almost 24 years ago has pleaded guilty to a charge of malice murder.

The Telegraph reports 48-year-old Homer Ridley III pleaded guilty Friday before Chief Judge Rucker Smith of the Superior Court of the Southwestern Judicial District. He then sentenced Ridley to life in prison without the possibility of parole. The sentence was part of a negotiated plea that took the death penalty off the table.

Ridley was indicted in May 2015 on one count of malice murder and two counts of felony murder in the slaying of 20-year-old Summer Gleaton of Warner Robins. Gleaton's partially clad body was found in the bathtub of her home on Dec. 1, 1994 by her mother. Her wrists and ankles were bound.

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FRIEND SHOT IN FACE

Georgia teen surrenders after shooting friend in face

(Information from: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, http://www.ajc.com)

DALLAS, Ga. (AP) — A Georgia teenager has surrendered to authorities after accidentally shooting his friend in the face.

Dallas Police Chief Joe Duvall says 18-year-old Joshua Chestney was arrested Friday after accidentally shooting his 16-year-old best friend in the eye while sitting in an SUV and playing with Chestney's father's pistol.

News outlets report it happened Tuesday near Sara Babb Park. Duvall says Chestney was showing off the gun when it went off.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports Chestney was released from the Paulding County jail on a $7,900 bond. He faces charges of false report of a crime, pointing a gun at another and reckless conduct. More charges are possible, depending on whether the victim survives.

Police say the 16-year-old was put into a medically-induced coma after he lost his left eye and was bleeding from his brain.

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GEORGIA ISLAND PRESERVE

Island preserve off Georgia coast celebrates 40 wild years

(Information from: Savannah Morning News, http://www.savannahnow.com)

SAVANNAH, Ga. (AP) — The Ossabaw Island Heritage Preserve off Georgia's coast is marking its 40th anniversary since it became the state's first heritage preserve.

The Savannah Morning News reports that Friday was the anniversary of the day in 1978 when then-Gov. George Busbee signed an executive order with the designation.

Patricia Barmeyer, who helped to forge the deal as a young lawyer in the office of the Attorney General, says Georgia has achieved what it set out to do with the purchase of Ossabaw and its designation as a preserve.

The 26,000-acre (40.6 square mile) island in Chatham County is home to alligators, otters and bald eagles. It also serves as a nursery to sea turtles, with 314 loggerhead nests erupting with hatchlings on its beaches last year.

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BEACH FIREWORKS

Georgia beach town seeks help to watch for illegal fireworks

(Information from: WTOC-TV, http://www.wtoctv.com/)

TYBEE ISLAND, Ga. (AP) — Georgia's largest public beach is seeking volunteers to help watch for people illegally shooting fireworks — particularly during the Fourth of July holiday next month.

WTOC-TV reports city officials on Tybee Island near Savannah are concerned that fireworks could disrupt shorebirds and nesting sea turtles, and could potentially damage beachside homes.

While it's OK to have fireworks on the island and the city sponsors a professional display for Independence Day, the law prohibits the general public from igniting them on the beach. Violators face a fine of up to $500.

Tybee Island police Capt. Joseph Fobes said the department always gets calls about illegal fireworks around July 4. He says police often arrive too late, and volunteers can help by alerting police as soon as they see violations.

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EX-NBA PLAYER ARRESTED

Ex-NBA player faces armed robbery charge in Georgia

NEWNAN, Ga. (AP) — A former NBA player from Georgia has been arrested for an armed robbery.

Coweta County Sheriff spokesman Jimmy Yarbrough tells news outlets 29-year-old James Edward "JJ" Hickson Jr. was arrested Friday and is being held without bond. It was unknown if he has an attorney.

Yarbrough says Hickson was charged in connection with a home invasion. He says at least two people were involved, but only Hickson faces charges.

Hickson was a standout basketball player at Joseph Wheeler High School in Marietta and attended North Carolina State before being drafted in 2008 by the Cleveland Cavaliers. He also played for the Sacramento Kings, Portland Trail Blazers, Denver Nuggets and Washington Wizards throughout his eight-year career. He most recently played basketball overseas for the Lebanon Champville SC team.

INMATE DEATH

ME: Death of prison inmate during struggle was homicide

(Information from: Hartford Courant, http://www.courant.com)

NEWTOWN, Conn. (AP) — Connecticut's medical examiner has ruled the death of a prison inmate who struggled with guards a homicide.

J'Allen Jones died in March at the Garner Correctional Institution in Newtown. Authorities said the 31-year-old Atlanta man was being transferred to a mental health unit when he became combative with staff, and then become non-responsive.

Chief Medical Officer Dr. James Gill told the Hartford Courant that Jones' death resulted from "restraint with chest compression" and an adverse reaction to pepper spray.

Gill says the homicide finding does not necessarily mean a crime was committed.

A correction department spokeswoman says state police are continuing to investigate the incident, but added the agency stands by its initial assessment that officers did not appear to use excessive force.

Jones was serving a 10-year sentence for armed robbery.

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GEORGIA ELECTION-WALTON MONEY

Walmart heirs deny involvement in Georgia governor's race

Representatives of the Walmart company heirs deny any involvement in the Georgia governor's race after a candidate was secretly recorded saying he backed a school choice law because campaign money from the family's non-profit foundation was at stake.

Republican Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle admits he made the remarks that have surfaced in the past week.

His campaign issued a statement Friday calling it "old news" that stemmed from a "purely political conversation" Cagle had in his campaign office.

Walton family members are leading supporters of the school choice movement in America, including charter schools and tax-credit vouchers for private schools.

The Waltons' political affiliate denied any interest in the race, saying all speculation is unfounded.

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Associated Press reporter Benjamin Nadler contributed to this report from Atlanta.

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Follow AP Education Reporter Sally Ho on Twitter: https://twitter.com/_SallyHo

VOICELESS RADIO REPORTER

Radio reporter regains a voice with new technology

ATLANTA (AP) — Two years ago, longtime radio reporter Jamie Dupree encountered what others in his profession might see as an unsurmountable challenge: He lost his voice.

The 54-year-old veteran political newsman found a workaround: He focused on text-based reporting and communicated with interview subjects through note cards.

But not being able to speak was not just a problem in his profession; it affected every area of his life.

Now he may have found a solution. A Scottish company that creates text-to-speech technology has crafted a new "voice" for Dupree: software turns his typed sentences into spoken words.

CereProc used audio recordings from Dupree's decades on the air to create a voice that sounded as much as possible like him.

He says the voice "sounds slightly robotic, but I could hear myself."

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