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September 18, 2003 Issue

Honoring fallen heroes...
Local law enforcement officers, firefighters and local citizens bow their heads while taking a moment of silence in honor and remembrance of those who died in the terrorist attacks two years ago. For more pictures from the county's observances of the anniversary, see page 3B.

Louisville man found dead in home

By Ben Nelms
Staff Writer

A former Jefferson county resident is being held for investigation in the death of a Louisville man found dead in his apartment Saturday morning.

Carl Hall, 40, was found dead in his bed in the apartment located on the 300 block of E. Broad Street at approximately 9 a.m. An autopsy conducted Sunday at the state crime lab determined that Hall died from a single gunshot wound in the chest.

Jeffrey L. Carroll, 36, of Chattanooga, described as a person of interest, was charged with possession of a firearm by a convicted felon and is being held at Jefferson County jail on a parole warrant, according to a spokesman for the sheriff's office.

Carroll had been in Jefferson County for the past month visiting his mother. He was arrested subsequent to statements from witnesses who stated that Carroll and Hall had been seen together the night before Hall's death, investigators said. Witnesses said Carroll was in possession of a firearm and was attempting to sell it.

Carroll told investigators he found Hall's body at approximately 9 a.m. Saturday after arriving at his apartment. Carroll said he knocked and entered the unlocked front door when Hall did not respond. He found Hall in his bed upon entering the apartment. Carroll summoned neighbors who called 911.

Investigators said they have established no motive for the crime and found no sign of forced entry at the residence. Investigators also said they are searching for, but have not recovered, the weapon used in the shooting.

Carroll maintained that he and Hall were lifelong friends and that he had no part in Hall's death.

Hall shared the apartment with his 16 year-old son who was not at home the night of the incident.

Investigators asked that anyone with information relating to Hall's death contact the sheriff's office at (478) 625-7538.

The investigation was conducted by Louisville Police, Jefferson County Sheriff's Office and agents from Georgia Bureau of Investigation.

Convicted sex offender arrested

Drifter had been living in Wrens for a few weeks and had not registered with authorities

By Parish Howard

About six weeks ago, when drifter Lawrence "Larry" Jackson's truck broke down in Wrens and he was welcomed in by a local church, he told parishoners that God must have led him there. Last week, after he was arrested and charged with failing to register as a sex offender, some of those same church members who have been sitting with him in services three times a week wondered if he might have just been right.

A member of the local church met Jackson at a service station in Wrens and later saw his truck stopped by the road where he couldn't get it to crank. He was invited back to the man's home but spent the nights in the back of his pickup truck, which contained a bed, a television and videocassette player.

For about two weeks he attended the local church and got to know several other of its members. He then reportedly left for about two weeks, but returned to the area because he claimed the people here had been so nice to him. For a few days he parked his truck on the church's grounds, living out of it.

"He was very pleasant, a big talker, very jolly," said Reeves Parish of Ramsgate Drive, another church member who later invited Jackson to bring his truck to his yard while he looked for work and a place to live. "He said he was a World War II veteran and we talked about that. He could have worked his way into any group and he professed to be a born again Christian. He said a lot of things and some of them didn't add up. I never was comfortable around him, but I never would have suspected he was capable of all that."

He was with the Parishs about two weeks before he was arrested.

"We received a call from some members of the church," explained Wrens Police Chief David Hannah. "He had been invited to a wedding at another area church where he voluntarily videotaped the ceremony. Later the family went to him to get a copy of the tape. That's when they discovered something else on the tape."

For a few seconds before the wedding there was a scene which depicted two naked juveniles. According to Hannah, it appeared the scene had been taped from a video playing on another television.

"While the family was trying to determine what to do with the tape, they noticed how close he was getting to some of the children in the church," Hannah said.

"He'd been giving gifts to some of the children," Parish said. "They came into church that Sunday and saw him with one child in his lap and his arm around another sitting next to him on the pew. That's when they decided to tell the preacher."

The preacher decided to search the Internet using the man's name. When he discovered that Jackson was registered as a sex offender in New York, where he was convicted in 1988 of offenses against a 4-year-old and an 8-year-old, he decided to notify the local authorities.

According to the New York website, Jackson is listed as a risk level 3, which means he is believed to be at high risk of reoffending.

"I contacted the Georgia Bureau of Investigation," Chief Hannah said. "It turned out he was a multiple offender.

According to officers involved with the case, Jackson had multiple sex offense convictions against children in Washington D.C. and New York state. His first sexual offense was in 1948, when he was only 23 years old, followed by a number of other convictions, including failure to register in Colorado, sources said.

Jackson, who turns 79 Thursday Sept. 18, is being held on $10,000 bond on charges of failing to register as a sex offender and for distributing material depicting nudity or sexual acts.

According to state code, anyone required to register as a sex offender in another state must register within 10 days of establishing residency in Georgia, or within 15 days if relocating to Georgia to seek employment.

If convicted of failing to register in Jefferson County, Jackson could face between 1 to 3 years in jail and up to $100,000 in fines.

During the arrest, officers confiscated more than 90 video tapes from Jackson's vehicle and are currently in the process of reviewing them. Officers say the investigation is ongoing and other charges could arise.

The arrest has shaken some members of the congregation who opened their doors to this stranger they felt was in need of Christian fellowship and understanding.

"Why did he want to video that wedding?" asked Betty Parish, also of the Ramsgate Drive address. "No one asked him to. I believe that from the very beginning the Lord was acting in it. I believe He orchestrated it to get this man off the street.

"As a church we still welcome anyone, but you can bet I'll look on the Internet if they give us any warning signs before I invite them into my home."

Wrens will get a new mayor

Candidates qualify for elections in Wrens, Gibson, Wadley and Louisville

By Ben Nelms
Staff Writer

Qualifying last week in six cities in Jefferson and Glascock counties paved the way for elections Nov. 4 for mayors in Wrens and Gibson and city council seats in Wadley and Louisville.

In what could be considered the end of an era, Wrens Mayor J. J. "Juddy" Rabun opted not to seek re-election. Running for the position are David Hastings and council member Dollye Ward. Council members Ceola Hannah and Sydney McGahee faced no opposition for their seats.

Voters in Gibson will decide on the contest for mayor where incumbent Donald Kent is facing challenger Gregg Kelley. Incumbent council members Warren Pittman and Paul Hinton face no opposition.

Two at-large city council seats in Wadley are up for re-election. Incumbents Charles Lewis and Edith Pundt will face former council member Albert Samples in the Nov. 4 contest.

The Louisville election cycle will see a face off between incumbent council member Tom Watson and challenger David Smith. Council member James Davis is unopposed.

Stapleton had no challengers in the council race for seats held by Paul Beckworth and Stephen Harden. Mayor Harold Smith was also unopposed.

Avera also had no challengers for the expiring terms of council members Charles Padgett and Lisa Hadden.

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Last modified: September 17, 2003