High court reverses teacher's sex ruling
The Georgia Supreme Court on Monday agreed with a former Columbia County teacher and coach that she should have been able to claim consent as a defense after she was arrested for having sex with a 16-year-old student.
The 5-2 ruling reversed a ruling by the Georgia Court of Appeals that had upheld a Richmond County Superior Court's ruling against Melissa Lee Chase, who was convicted of sexual assault and sentenced to 10 years in prison, followed by five years on probation.
"This appeal presents a straightforward question of law," stated the majority opinion written by Chief Justice Leah Ward Sears. "The question is whether, in November 2006, consent of the alleged victim was a defense."
In Monday's decision, the Supreme Court ruled it was a defense that should have been allowed at trial.
Augusta Judicial Circuit District Attorney Ashley Wright said she would review the ruling with the prosecuting attorney and the victim in the case before making a decision on retrying Chase, who is being held in Pulaski State Prison in Watkinsville, Ga.
Storm forces tree on Martinez home
Severe weather swept through Columbia County on Friday afternoon, causing a tree to fall onto a Martinez house and leaving several downed trees and power lines in its wake.
The storm started about 5:30 p.m., said Martinez-Columbia Fire Rescue Captain Ray Blessing.
The brunt of damage occurred off Old Evans and Old Petersburg roads. Several trees, in addition to power and cable lines, were down in the area of Dent, Mears and Padrick streets, Blessing said.
A tree fell onto the one-story home of Mary and Salvatore Pileggi on Anneswood Road, forcing the couple to temporarily vacate.
A 100-foot-tall hickory tree in the front yard fell onto the roof, causing structural and water damage to the den, kitchen and carport. At least six rafters were broken, Blessing said.
The following accounts were taken from reports from the Columbia County Sheriff's Office. Reports are available at www.columbiacountyso.org:
Police find stolen items at neighbor's
A Grovetown man told police that someone stole yard machines from a home he was watching for a neighbor.
He said he checked on the property just before 6 p.m. Sunday, while his neighbor was out of town, and found the back door forced open and the refrigerator on a dolly in the middle of the kitchen. The riding lawn mower was missing from the yard, and a weed trimmer and a leaf blower were missing from the barn, which also had been forced open.
Police found tire tracks leading from the yard to a nearby home on Rolland Road. They saw the lawn mower and leaf blower in the backyard. The owner of that house said her boyfriend had brought the items over and asked her to keep them until he could take them to his home. She said she did not know they were stolen and would help police contact her boyfriend.
Truck is egged from interstate overpass
A New York truck driver told police Sunday that someone dropped eggs onto his truck from an Interstate 20 overpass near the McDuffie County line.
He said the vandalism took place while he was traveling west near the White Oak Road overpass about 3:30 a.m.
The eggs damaged the roof and wind spoiler.
Vandals set fire to clothing, slash tires
Several people told police Sunday that someone set fire to clothes and slashed tires at Applecross Apartments.
A 21-year-old woman said that between midnight and 2:45 a.m., fire was set to a towel and two pairs of shorts that were draped over the railing of a second-floor breezeway at the Martinez complex.
A 30-year-old resident told police that about 8:30 a.m. he found a tire cut on his Dodge Caravan. Tires on three other vehicles also were slashed.
Martinez Columbia Fire Rescue report for June 7-13:
Structure fires, four; vehicle fire, one; controlled/unauthorized burns, six; dumpster fire, one; activated fire alarms, eight; gas line ruptures, three; medical incidents, 16; vehicle accidents, nine; electrical incidents, two; weather damage, four; investigate various incidents, four; assist residents, one; and mutual aid/public safety assistance, one.
The Columbia County News-Times ©2013. All Rights Reserved.