Harlem man gets life in prison in cousin's murder
A Harlem man was sentenced to life behind bars after being convicted Wednesday in the 2005 shooting death of his cousin.
A Columbia County jury convicted Anthony Deontra Lee, 24, of felony murder and possession of a firearm during the commission of a crime. The jury acquitted him of malice murder, which requires prosecutors to prove that the act was premeditated.
Superior Court Judge Carl C. Brown Jr. sentenced Lee, of the 300 block of South Bell Street in Harlem, to life in prison with the possibility of parole.
Police said Lee shot his 30-year-old cousin, Dexter Butts, also of Harlem, in the hip Jan. 3, 2005, after an argument at a friend's home in the 100 block of Cook Street. Butts was taken to Medical College of Georgia Hospital, where he died because the bullet had severed his femoral artery.
Lee's attorney, Mike Garrett, said Lee's actions were in self-defense. Garrett said that Lee went to the Cook Street home to confront Butts about marijuana taken from Lee's car but that he didn't intend to kill his cousin.
Former substitute teacher pleads guilty
Billy Fray Cleveland, a former Columbia County substitute teacher charged in August with child molestation, pleaded guilty Thursday to misdemeanor simple battery as part of a negotiated plea agreement with the district attorney's office.
Cleveland, 68, pleaded guilty to three counts of simple battery at a sentencing hearing, at which Superior Court Chief Judge William M. Fleming Jr. sentenced Cleveland to two years' probation and fined him a combined $2,250.
Cleveland, of Augusta, was indicted on eight counts of child molestation in August. He had been arrested Aug. 1 and released on bond after being accused of inappropriately touching eight girls younger than 16 between May 3 and May 17, 2005, while he worked as a substitute teacher at Brookwood an Riverside elementary schools. As part of the plea agreement, Cleveland, who is retired, agreed not to substitute teach again.
The following accounts were taken from reports filed with the Columbia County Sheriff's Office:
Man charged with public indecency at Wal-Mart
A Hephzibah man who exposed himself to customers at an Evans retail store was arrested Tuesday after leading Columbia County sheriff's deputies on a foot chase through a subdivision, police said.
Ronald Levin Fountain, 47, of the 2100 block of Brown Road, is charged with battery, public indecency and obstruction or hindering a law enforcement officer, according to sheriff's office records. He was being held without bond at the Columbia County Detention Center.
Two Grovetown women told deputies they were shopping in the pharmacy area at Wal-Mart on Washington Road at about 3:45 p.m., when a man exposed himself to them.
One of the women told deputies she alerted a Wal-Mart assistant manager, who then confronted Fountain.
When confronted, the man threw something that struck an Evans woman in the arm, and he fled into the lawn and garden area of the store. The manager told deputies that Fountain hit him in the side with a tiki torch in that department and threatened to hit him with an iron chair.
When deputies arrived, the man fled across the parking lot and was pursued into Faircloth Commons subdivision, damaging several fences as he attempted to scale them, according to the report.
Deputy Bobby Bradford suffered unspecified injuries to his left leg and was taken to University Hospital.
Woman charged with hitting spouse with car
Police arrested an Evans woman Tuesday night on a charge of aggravated assault a day after her husband reported that she had struck him with her car.
MaryAnn Morris, 45, of the 600 block of Barberry Court, was released late Tuesday from the Columbia County Detention Center on a $7,600 bond.
Darryl Nelson Morris told deputies he and his wife were fighting about their cell-phone bill sometime after 6 p.m. Monday. He told deputies that his wife got into her car after getting angry and that he stood in front of the vehicle as she tried to leave. Mr. Morris told deputies that she hit him with her Pontiac Grand Am and that he rolled up on the hood before being thrown off as she accelerated.
Mr. Morris suffered cuts and scrapes to his palms, left arm, shoulder and side, and he was treated at the scene by paramedics. There is an "extensive history" of domestic violence calls to the Morris home, according to the incident report.
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