Mobile home fire leaves Grovetown man dead
A Grovetown man died when a fire destroyed his mobile home Wednesday morning.
Johnny Bell, 67, likely died from smoke inhalation, according to Columbia County Deputy Coroner Harriett Garrison.
The fire, which began about 6:30 a.m., started in Bell's bedroom at the 600 block of Al Dempsey Road.
Bell was an amputee who had lost his left leg, Garrison said.
Because Bell did not have electricity, he was using a lantern and candles to light his home, she said.
Martinez-Columbia Fire Rescue spokeswoman Honey Shore said flames had engulfed the singlewide mobile home by the time firefighters arrived.
Bell's remains were transported to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation Crime Lab in Augusta for an autopsy.
Grovetown High principal injured during school fight
The principal of Columbia County's newest high school was struck in the face Wednesday as she tried to stop a fight in which two students were arrested.
Grovetown High Principal Penny Jackson sustained a busted lip as she tried to break up a fight between Dvadne Freeman and Faison Gaines, both 17, said Columbia County sheriff's Capt. Steve Morris.
Freeman, of Victoria Falls in Grovetown, and Gaines, of Millhaven Drive in Augusta, were fighting over a girl, police said.
The students were charged with disorderly conduct and taken to the Columbia County Detention Center. Both were released Wednesday evening on $500 bond, according to jail personnel.
Sex offender is arrested for moving without notice
A Columbia County sex offender was arrested Monday after police discovered during a routine check that she had moved without notifying authorities.
Wendy Whitaker, who had lived at 270 Church St., in Harlem, is charged with violation of the sex offender law, Capt. Morris said.
Last year, a state statute threatened to force Whitaker, 29, from her home, and she became the focal point of a lawsuit.
The legislation, passed in 2006, forbids sex offenders from living within 1,000 feet of a child-care center, school, church or registered school bus stop. Whitaker lived too close to both a child-care center and a church.
Whitaker was allowed to remain in her home after an injunction was filed in Columbia County Superior Court by attorneys from the Southern Center for Human Rights in November 2008.
Whitaker is on the sex offender registry because in 1996, when she was a 17-year-old high school student, she engaged in a consentual sex act with a 15-year-old, according to the lawsuit.
In July, Whitaker was arrested on drug charges. She was being held Thursday at the Columbia County Detention Center on a $1,100 bond.
Martinez man indicted on Web sex charges
A Martinez man arrested in May for alledgedly trying to lure a teen into meeting for a sexual encounter has been indicted in New York on state charges, a spokeswoman for the Albany County district attorney said Wednesday.
Federal agents arrested Michael Adam, 50, at his home on the 3500 block of Evans to Lock Road. Though the federal case in New York was dismissed due to the state's prosecution, the U.S. attorney for the northern district of New York can reinstate the charges.
Adam is accused of communicating by e-mail and Web cam with a New York state police investigator, who Adam thought was a 13-year-old girl, according to documents in the federal case. He is accused of plotting to meet the teen for sex, according to a partial transcript of the e-mail exchanges.
In the indictment, Adam is accused of six counts of attempting to disseminate indecent material to minors in the first degree between October 2007 and July 2008. The charge is punishable by up to four years in prison.
Adam was released on a $25,000 bond in the New York case with no special conditions attached, said Heather Orth, with the Albany County District Attorney's office.
Bond reduction denied for accused Cyrus stalker
A judge in Tybee Island, Ga., refused to reduce the $55,200 bond for an Appling man accused of attempting to stalk Miley Cyrus.
Tybee Municipal Court Judge Steven Scheer also ruled that Mark McLeod, 53, is a threat to both the Hannah Montana star and others.
McLeod was arrested Aug. 4 at his Linder-McCurdy Road residence on a charge of criminal attempted stalking after he was seen in the Tybee Island area, where Cyrus recently finished filming The Last Song.
He had been warned by police two months earlier to stay away from Cyrus after he was arrested for disorderly conduct in June while attending a shoot for her new movie.
McLeod also has made previous statements that he would marry the 16-year-old singer and actress, as well as stating she communicated with him through secret messages in photos and her TV show.
McLeod's defense attorney was seeking to have his client's bond reduced to $20,000 with conditions that would restrict him to the county. McLeod also has agreed to a 12-month protective order, keeping him away from Cyrus.
McLeod remained in the Chatham County jail Thursday, according to jail records.
Reward amount is raised in alligator killing/p>
A reward totaling $3,500 in cash and gift certificates had been offered as of Thursday for tips leading to the arrest and conviction of whoever killed and dismembered an alligator.
The Humane Society of the United States offered $2,500 as an incentive for information. Other area companies and organizations also have contributed to the fund.
During the weekend, trespassers killed the 9-foot gator, which lived in a pond off Washington Road behind Brown Feed & Seed. A reciprocating saw was used to remove its head, tail and two front legs.
Georgia's Wildlife Resources Division is investigating the incident. Anyone willing to share information on the case can contact Sgt. Mark Padgett, of the division's regional office in Thomson, by calling (706) 737-1480 between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m.
The identity of those willing to provide information will remain confidential, Padgett said. They can claim the reward without their name being made public.
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