Georgia Archives:

NORCROSS, GEORGIA (BNO NEWS) — Five people were killed on late Tuesday evening in a suspected murder-suicide at a health spa in an Atlanta suburb, police said on Wednesday.

Police said three men and two women were found dead at the Su Jung Health Sauna in Norcross, Georgia, late Tuesday evening. Four of the gunshot victims were pronounced dead at the scene and the fifth died at a local hospital, police said.

Norcross Police Chief Warren Summers said the shooting appears to be a murder-suicide, some of which was captured on surveillance footage, CBS Atlanta reported.

“It appears that he walked in, had some conversation with one of the victims and the shooting started,” said Summers. “Then he goes off camera at some point, and we don’t see exactly what went on there. But then he comes back on camera, and we know it’s a murder-suicide.”

Police have not released the identity of the shooter or the victims. An investigation is underway.

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CANTON, GEORGIA (BNO NEWS) — A 7-year-old girl who went missing from her apartment complex in the U.S. state of Georgia last week was found dead in a nearby dumpster on Monday afternoon, investigators said.

Jorelys Rivera went missing on late Friday afternoon from the River Ridge apartment complex in Canton, a city in and the county seat of Cherokee County. She was last seen at around 5 p.m. local time at the building’s playground and never returned after going to get a drink.

Vernon Keenan, the Director of the Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI), said the body was found on early Monday afternoon when investigators searched a dumpster about 100 yards (91 meters) from the apartment complex. “She was in the dumpster. It appears from the examination of the agents at the scene that she was severely beaten. We believe that she was sexually assaulted,” Keenan said.

“This is going to be a very, very horrendous crime. I am convinced of that after having observed the body,” the GBI Director said. “A child death is always a terrible thing but a child who dies under extreme violence is the absolute worst thing that can happen to a human being.”

The body of Rivera was later transported to the GBI Crime Laboratory where an autopsy took place on Monday evening. The cause of death was not immediately disclosed, and there were no immediate suspects.

“We are pursuing several leads but, quite frankly, at this point, we do not have a strong suspect. We’ve not focused in on anyone,” Keenan said during a news conference. “We very much need information from the public who may know something about the abduction of this child and the child’s subsequent murder. So we welcome information from the public.”

Investigators believe that both the abduction and the murder occurred at the apartment complex. “Evidence thus far points to that and the fact that the body was disposed of in a dumpster that was located at the apartment complex,” Keenan said.

Some residents criticized investigators for being too slow to respond and said the dumpster should have been searched earlier. Police did not issue a Levi’s Call – the state’s Amber Alert system – because there were no witnesses who were able to confirm the child had been abducted.

Keenan said Rivera’s mother is not a suspect, but she nonetheless lost custody of her two younger children following the abduction. “We don’t think the child’s mother had anything to do with her disappearance at this point,” Canton Police Detective Candy Worthy told local media. “We just think that she was not supervising well enough to keep all of the children safe.”

But the mother, Joselin, appeared in a family court on Monday to try and get her children back. “I’m a very good mother,” Joselin was quoted as saying by 11Alive News. “I’m a very hard-working mother. My kids have everything they need. Everything is in order. They have their room. They have their food. They don’t want for anything.”

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ATLANTA, GEORGIA (BNO NEWS) — Republican Herman Cain says he is suspending his presidential campaign.

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ATLANTA (BNO NEWS) — An Atlanta woman came forward on Monday evening to claim she had a 13-year-long affair with Republican presidential hopeful Herman Cain, just weeks after a series of claims regarding sexual harassment. Cain has denied the latest allegations.

The woman, 46-year-old Ginger White, made her allegations in an exclusive interview with WAGA-TV in Atlanta. She said her off-and-on affair with the presidential candidate ended about eight months ago, just before Cain announced he is running for the White House.

“I’m not proud,” she said, adding that she did not want to come out but felt she had no other choice after an unidentified person contacted several media outlets. “It was pretty simple. It wasn’t complicated. I was aware that he was married. And I was also aware that I was involved in a very inappropriate situation, relationship.”

White said she met Cain during a presentation in the late 90s in Kentucky when he was the head of the National Restaurant Association (NRA). She claims they shared drinks afterwards and Cain invited her back to his hotel room. “[He said], ‘I would like to, definitely, see you again. You are very beautiful to me and I would, you know, love for us to continue this friendship,” White told WAGA-TV.

During the next 13 years, Cain allegedly flew her to cities where he was speaking and ‘lavished her with gifts.’ She said Cain never harassed her, never treated her poorly and was ‘the same man’ you see on the campaign trail.

White said she had planned to keep the relationship a secret until she watched reports of different women who accused Cain of sexual harassment. She told the television channel that she was not surprised by the allegations, but that she was bothered by the way Cain fought back.

“It bothered me that they were being demonized, sort of, they were treated as if they were automatically lying, and the burden of proof was on them. I felt bad for them,” White said. When someone contacted the media about herself, she felt she had no other choice but to come forward.

“I wanted to give my side, before it was thrown out there and made out to be something filthy,” she said. “Some people will look at this and say that is exactly what it is. I’m sorry for that.”

Overall, the woman described the alleged affair as ‘fun’ and ‘exciting’, but provided no evidence to substantiate her claims. WAGA-TV said White had provided cell phone records which showed calls and text messages between her and Cain’s number, but the woman provided no copies of the actual text messages.

An investigation by WAGA-TV revealed that White filed a sexual harassment claim against an employer in 2001, but the case was settled. White’s former business partner also once sought a “stalking temporary protective order” against her for “repeated e-mails/texts threatening lawsuit and defamation of character.”

The case was dismissed; but was followed by a libel lawsuit against White. A judge entered an order in favor of the business partner because White failed to respond to the lawsuit. The woman also filed for bankruptcy 23 years ago and has a history of eviction notices, the most recent one earlier this month.

Responding to the latest allegations, Cain confirmed he knows White and thought she was a friend. “But I did not have an affair, okay?” he said during an interview on CNN, which aired before White’s interview on WAGA-TV. “I acknowledge that I knew the woman. I acknowledge that I have known her for about that period of time but the accusation that I had a 13-year affair with her? No.”

After the interview aired on WAGA-TV, Cain released a statement in which he said the American public is tired of dirty politics and smear tactics. “I am running for President of the United States of America and the reality is that there are individuals out there that favor the status quo of higher taxes, more government and political cronyism and they are afraid of a Cain Presidency,” he said.

Cain added: “I have spoken directly to the American people and have been 100 percent honest with them. My plan is to continue to spread my vision on how I would renew America and keep her safe. I will not fight false claims as it is not what America needs or wants.”

Cain spokesman J.D. Gordon said the campaign is not surprised by the new allegations. “Detractors are trying once again to derail the Cain Train with more accusations of past events that never happened,” Gordon said. “The Cain Campaign is not surprised that another female accuser has come forward due to the fact that earlier allegations were unable to force Herman Cain to drop his presidential bid to renew America.”

Earlier this month, a Chicago woman called Sharon Bialek came forward to allege she was sexually assaulted by Cain when she sought his help in 1997. Bialek was previously employed at the Educational Foundation of the National Restaurant Association (NRA) as manager of industry relations and was fired before the alleged incident happened.

Bialek said she first met Cain at a convention in Chicago about a month before she was terminated. “Mr. Cain sat next to me at that luncheon and spoke to me extensively,” she said. “Mr. Cain was the keynote speaker at the luncheon. He was incredibly inspirational. When he sat down I said to him, ‘when are you running for President?’”

During the final night of the conference, Bialek claims, Cain sat at a table with her and her boyfriend. “He was warm and attentive to both of us and invited us to join him at the after party in a suite at the hotel, which we did,” she said. “I felt very honored to be included in this select gathering.”

But several weeks later, Bialek was suddenly let go by the Foundation because she had not raised enough money. “I was devastated. I loved the job and the industry and in the short time that I had been there I felt we were doing well in terms of fundraising,” she said.

According to the woman’s accounts, her boyfriend suggested to reach out to Cain to see if he was able to help her find another job with the Foundation or in some other capacity. “I told [Cain] I had been let go. He said that he was unaware of it,” she said. “I asked if he could meet me for coffee. He said that he would and that I should call once I had firmed up the dates and the arrangements.”

Bialek’s boyfriend then proceeded to book a room for her at the Capital Hilton Hotel in Washington, D.C. where the two met. “When I went to check into the room I was shocked to be taken to a palatial suite,” she said. “I told the bellman that there must be some mistake, but he insisted that there was no mistake. I later found out that Mr. Cain had arranged for the suite, though at the time I thought that perhaps my boyfriend had decided to surprise me.”

During the evening, at about 6.30 p.m. local time, Bialek said she met Cain in the hotel lobby where they had drinks. “He asked me how I liked my room and I explained that I was surprised. I said that I could not believe that I was given this gorgeous Senator’s suite. Mr. Cain smirked and then said, ‘I upgraded you.’”

Bialek said Cain then took her to an Italian restaurant where they had dinner, during which she explained that she needed a job after being let go. “He said that he would look into it,” she said.

After the dinner, Cain allegedly told Bialek that he would show her where the National Restaurant Association offices in D.C. were. “He parked the car down the block,” she said. “Instead of going in he suddenly reached over and put his hand on my leg, under my skirt and reached for my genitals. He also grabbed my head and brought it toward his crotch.”

Bialek said she was ‘surprised and shocked’ and told Cain that she did not come for that. “Mr Cain said, ‘You want a job, right?’ I asked him to stop and he did. I asked him to take me back to my hotel which he did,” she said during a press conference.

Cain also denied those allegations.

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TEMPE, GEORGIA (BNO NEWS) — Rapper Soulja Boy was arrested on Tuesday along with four other people after being found in possession of drugs and a firearm, officials said.

DeAndre Cortez Way, better known as Soulja Boy, 21, and of Chicago, Illinois, was arrested in Tempe, Georgia on Tuesday morning along with four other men, law enforcement sources told entertainment news and gossip website TMZ.com.

Police pulled over Way, who was driving his Cadillac Escalade, because one of the lights of his vehicle was out. However, when police approached the vehicle, a ‘strong odor’ of marijuana was perceived by one of the policemen, sources told the website.

According to reports, after pulling them over, police carried out a search in the vehicle and found a briefcase which contained a ‘substantial amount’ of marijuana, as well as a firearm.

Police then arrested the five men and charged them for possession of marijuana and a gun charge. They were all later released after posting bond.

Soulja Boy has released three studio albums and one independent album. His September 2007 single ‘Crank That (Soulja Boy)’ reached number one on the Billboard Hot 100 and is featured on his debut studio album Souljaboytellem.com which was certified platinum. Forbes listed the rapper as number 18 on their ‘Hip-Hop Cash Kings of 2010′ list after earning $7 million for that year.

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LONDON (BNO NEWS) — Activists have been campaigning extensively to stop the execution of Troy Davis, an American man who is scheduled to receive a lethal injection on Wednesday for allegedly murdering a Georgia police officer in 1991.

Amnesty International said on Friday that more than 660,000 signatures have been delivered to authorities in Georgia to urge them to commute the death sentence. In addition, vigils and events have been held at approximately 300 locations around the world.

The death row inmate is set to have a clemency hearing on Monday. If clemency is rejected, he is due to be executed two days later, on Wednesday.

Davis was sentenced to death in 1991 for the murder of police officer Mark Allen MacPhail in Savannah, Georgia. Since his 1991 trial, seven of nine key witnesses have recanted or changed their testimony, some alleging police coercion.



“Monday’s hearing gives Georgia’s Board of Pardons and Paroles the opportunity finally to grant clemency in this case,” said Guadalupe Marengo, Deputy Director of the Americas Regional Program at Amnesty International’s International Secretariat.  



“When it looked at this case in 2007, the Board said that it would not allow the execution to proceed if its members had any doubts about the prisoner’s guilt,” she said. “We trust that it will recognize that doubts persist four years later.”



In July 2007, the Georgia State Board of Pardons and Paroles issued a stay 24 hours before Davis’ then-planned execution. He faced two other execution dates in 2008, both of which were stayed by the courts, the London-based rights group said.

Georgia has over 100 people on its death row and three people have been executed so far this year. Currently, the United States has more than 3,200 people on its death rows, and has executed more than 1,200 prisoners since resuming judicial killing in 1977.

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AUGUSTA, GEORGIA (BNO NEWS) — A man from the U.S. state of Georgia has been sentenced to nearly three years in prison for stealing tens of thousands of dollars which was intended to pay for the meals of poor children, prosecutors said on Friday.

Bernard Walker, 44, of Waynesboro, was found to have fraudulently obtained checks worth tens of thousands of dollars from a federally-funded, not-for-profit organization in Augusta. He then laundered that money through businesses located in Waynesboro and bought two vehicles.

Evidence presented at hearings in this case showed that Walker committed these crimes over a span of 2.5 years while he was a nutrition specialist for the Central Savannah River Area Economic Opportunity Authority and was responsible for providing meals for the low-income children who were enrolled in Head Start programs in approximately eleven counties in the Augusta, Georgia area.

In addition to sentencing Walker, who pled guilty in January, U.S. District Court Judge Dudley Bowen also signed an order forfeiting Walker’s ownership of a BMW 528I and an Audi A6 Quattro which he bought with the stolen money.

“Stealing taxpayers’ money that was allocated to buy meals for our children is reprehensible,” said U.S. Attorney Edward Tarver. “The lengthy prison sentence in this case sends a message that the egregious theft of public funds will not be tolerated.”

Under the U.S. Sentencing Commission’s guidelines, Walker faced a range of imprisonment between 27 and 33 months. In addition to a prison sentence which was at the top end of the sentencing guidelines range, Walker was ordered to pay restitution and also serve three years of supervised release after he is released from prison.

Regarding the length of Walker’s prison sentence, Tarver noted that there is no parole in the federal system.

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MOSCOW, RUSSIA (BNO NEWS) — Russia on Thursday demanded that the United States launches a thorough investigation into the alleged rape of a Russian orphan by his foster father in the United States, RIA Novosti reported.

Alexander Lukashevich, spokesman for the Russian Foreign Ministry, said that an investigation was requested in regards to Ksenia, a Russian orphan adopted by a U.S. family in the southern Georgia State.

“We demand that the U.S. authorities hold an all-embracing and thorough investigation into the assault of Ksenia and hand down a just verdict to the guilty party,” said Lukashevich.

The foster father, Michael Gismore, was arrested by U.S. authorities in 2010 and charged with regularly sexually abusing the 16-year-old. The defendant, however, claimed that the sexual intercourse with Ksenia was consensual and that the girl was 16 years old at the time.

According to Georgia’s state law, 16 is the legal age of consent but according to documents of Russia’s Federal Migration Service, Ksenia was born in October 1994 and thus was 15 years old at the time of the alleged abuses.

Ksenia, who was born in Russia’s Kemerovo region, is currently at a children’s orphanage in Georgia, where she is receiving physical and psychological treatment. The U.S. Department of State notified the Russian Consulate General of the case last June.

Lukashenko remarked that the Foreign Ministry and the Russian Embassy in the U.S. are keeping a close eye on the situation. He also criticized the late notification by the U.S. government. “Such a blasphemous and outrageous case calls again for the immediate conclusion of an agreement with the United States on cooperation in international adoptions,” added the spokesman.

The U.S. and Russia have failed in reaching an agreement on the safety of Russian children adopted by U.S. families. Negotiations began in 2010 but have so far been without success. Furthermore, Russia suspended adoptions after a Tennessee woman sent her 7-year-old adoptive son back to Moscow.

The mother claimed that he was psychotic and decided to put him on a plane along with a handwritten note. An estimated 60,000 Russian children have been legally adopted by American families in recent years.

According to Russia’s ombudsman for children’s rights Pavel Astakhov, seventeen Russian children have died in the United States due to child abuse since the process was launched about 15 years ago.

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ATHENS, GEORGIA (BNO NEWS) — A suspected cop killer took at least nine hostages in a neighborhood of Athens, Georgia on Friday afternoon, local media reported.

WGCL-TV and WSB-TV both reported that Jamie Hood, 33, had taken at least nine hostages at a residential building north of downtown Athens, a unified city-county in the northeastern part of Georgia. A baby is among the hostages.

Hood was being sought in connection with the fatal shooting of Senior Police Officer Elmer “Buddy” Christian on Tuesday. Another officer was injured.

Scores of police units have surrounded the building in the Athens neighborhood and negotiations with Hood are underway.

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ATLANTA, GEORGIA (BNO NEWS) — Former federal judge Jack Camp on Friday was sentenced to a short prison term over the scandal involving drugs and a stripper, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.

Former Senior U.S. District Judge Camp, 67, received a 30-day prison term, 400 hours of community service, and one year of probation. In addition, Camp was ordered to pay a $1,000 fine.

U.S. District Judge Thomas Hogan said before sentencing that Camp disgraced his position and denigrated his office. Camp asked for probation and community service sentence but Hogan denied it.

Camp resigned from the U.S. District Court bench shortly before pleading guilty in November to a felony drug charge and two misdemeanors. He admitted giving a stripper $160 to buy drugs, knowing that she was a convicted felon.

“I have embarrassed and humiliated my family as well as myself,” Camp said. “I have embarrassed the court I have served on and I am deeply sorry for that. When I look back at the circumstances which brought me here and look at what I did, it makes me sick.”

At the time of his offense, Camp was a senior judge who began paying the exotic dancer for sex and drugs after meeting her in May at the Goldrush Showbar in Atlanta. Later on, the stripper turned informant for the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).

In October, Camp was arrested by FBI agents in an undercover drug operation. He said his decades-long battle with depression and a bicycling accident that caused brain damage led him to use drugs and seeing strippers.

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