Man convicted of child abuse, sentenced to prison
An Evans man was convicted on Wednesday of abusing his two sons and sentenced to 110 years in prison.
A Columbia County Superior Court jury deliberated for about 10 minutes before convicting Thomas Gilbert Beasley, 33, of Avrett Way, on five counts of first-degree cruelty to children and one count of second-degree cruelty to children.
Witnesses testified that Beasley regularly punched, kicked, pinched and scratched his sons. Punishment also included hot or cold baths, holding their heads under water and making them maintain painful stress positions for long periods of time.
In March 2008, Beasley snatched his 9-year-old son by the ankles and slammed his head into the hardwood floor. Beasley and his wife, April, waited two days before seeking medical care. The boy needed emergency brain surgery and was left partially blind and developmentally impaired, Assistant District Attorney Kristi Connell told the jury.
The Department of Family and Children Services got an emergency court order to transfer the boy to an Atlanta hospital after the Beasleys denied the transfer. The younger boy, then 7, was put in foster care and started telling what had been going on in the home.
Officials at Greenbrier Elementary School, where the boys attended for two years, suspected abuse and questioned the boys about their injuries. They often said, "You have to ask my father." School personnel called DFCS at least four times and were finally told to stop calling, said then-principal Michele Sherman.
A charge of cruelty to children in the second degree is still pending against April Beasley. She is accused of failing to immediately seek medical attention for her son after the March 2008 injury.
Fire damages press at Quad Color
An early morning fire on Thursday destroyed a press at a Martinez printing plant.
At about 4 a.m., Martinez-Columbia Fire Rescue firefighters responded to Quad Color on Evans to Locks Road at Columbia Industrial Drive, where a printing press had caught fire. Company personnel had the fire under control when firefighters arrived, said Jeremy Wallen, a department spokesman.
No one was injured, but the fire destroyed the press, Wallen said.
The following accounts were taken from reports from The Columbia County Sheriff's Office. Additional reports are available at www.columbia countyso.org:
Grovetown teens arrested in arson
Three Grovetown teens were arrested on arson charges Monday after a fire damaged landscaping and a streetlight pole in Joy Falls Plantation.
Police and firefighters responded at about 6 p.m. to a suspicious brush fire at the entrance to Midland Passage at Sylvan Lake Drive off Columbia Road near Patriots Park.
A nearby resident said as she stopped at her home she saw three teens smoking cigarettes near the large decorative plants at the neighborhood entrance. When she went back to her car a few minutes later, she said, the plants and light pole were engulfed in flames.
Another resident said as he returned home he saw three teens running from the fire on Midland Passage and one shouted, "Go, go, go."
Police found David Williams, 17, a 16-year-old and a 15-year-old in the driveway of a nearby home on Long Creek Falls. The man identified them as the teens he saw running.
The teens were charged with arson and taken to the Regional Youth Detention Center.
Would-be burglars cut phone lines
A Martinez woman told police Monday that two men tried to break into her home.
The 82-year-old woman said she was home alone at about 7:45 p.m. when she heard banging on a door or window of her Dowling Drive home.
The woman said she saw two men run from the side of her house, where police found the outside phone lines cut.
Teen says driver threatened him
An Appling teen told police Wednesday that a man who nearly hit him with a car also threatened to shoot him.
The 19-year-old said he was riding a bicycle on Lynnwood Drive off Old Petersburg and Baston roads at about 6 p.m. when a white Lexus came up behind him. As the teen turned onto Old Petersburg Road, he said, the Lexus turned very close to him, nearly hitting him. The teen followed the car to a home on Weldon Drive, where the 53-year-old driver told the teen he didn't have any right to be on the roadway and threatened to "put a bullet in his head."
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