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January 22, 2004 Issue

Firefighters and rescue workers struggle to put out the flames that claimed the life of a Kingsland man Monday night.







River Road crash deadly

By Ben Nelms
Staff Writer

A single car accident on River Road late Monday night claimed the life of 32 year-old Kingsland resident Brian Keith Allen.

The accident occurred at approximately 10:45 p.m. at the intersection of River Road and Pete Smith Road. Allen's vehicle was found burning when firefighters and rescue personnel arrived.


The vehicle was positioned on the opposite side of Pete Smith Road from where the initial impact had occurred. The car, a late model sedan, came to rest atop bales of hay.

The vehicle and the hay bales were already engaged in a large blaze and engulfed in flames. The vehicle's only identifiable feature was a rear bumper, red in color, with a Camden County tag lying on the roadway near the intersection.

Allen was pronounced dead at the scene by Coroner Johnny Nelson at 11:45 p.m. He was transported to the state crime lab in Augusta after being extricated from the charred vehicle. The autopsy is expected to help determine more of the circumstances of Allen's death, said Deputy Coroner Mike Bennett.

Allen had been staying with relatives while attending the Mortuary Science School at Georgia Southern University in Statesboro.

Prior to the accident, Allen's vehicle left the roadway as he traveled south on River Road, as evidenced by tire tracks on the right shoulder. The vehicle continued at a slight angle but nearly parallel to the road for approximately 200 feet until it made contact with the deep culvert at the intersection at Pete Smith Road. Though the vehicle's rate of speed was not known, officers and firefighters found the car having come to rest on the opposite side of the Pete Smith Road intersection, approximately 75 feet from the impact with the culvert. The car had apparently traveled that distance in mid-air, completely clearing the roadway before coming to rest.

Firefighters and rescue personnel from Wadley and Louisville, sheriff's deputies and Georgia State Patrol responded to the accident.

Two plead not guilty in home invasion

Men charged with murder of Augusta store clerk face charges of entering the home of a Louisville couple, robbing and shooting them

By Ben Nelms
Staff Writer

Security was tight Friday inside and outside the Jefferson County courthouse for the arraignment of the two men charged with a May 2003 home invasion in Louisville.

The men are being held in Richmond County where they were charged with the murder of an Augusta convenience store clerk last year.

Cedric Lewis Beals, 30, and Timothy Gene Green, Jr., 19, were charged in the home invasion with two counts each of armed robbery, aggravated assault, kidnapping and burglary, according to Judge Walter C. McMillan, Jr. The pair was also charged with one count each of theft by taking a motor vehicle, possession of a firearm during the commission and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.

Both men plead not guilty to the charges against them. Judge McMillan requested that the lawyers handling the cases in Augusta be asked to represent the men in the Jefferson County proceedings. Trial dates in both counties are pending.

Security was tightened after officers received information that possible gang affiliated individuals might attempt to free one or both of the men, according to a spokesman for the sheriff's office.

Sheriff's deputies and police from Louisville and Wrens were present when Richmond County deputies arrived with Beals and Green. Officers on the first floor used metal detectors to screen those entering the building while only officers and court officials were present in the courtroom upstairs. Officers provided enhanced security outside the building as Beals and Green entered and exited.

Beals was arrested May 13 in Atlanta after investigators received information about his location. He was transported to Richmond County jail later the same day. Green was arrested May 7 in Richmond County.

Green told Jefferson County investigators after his arrest that the home invasion that resulted in multiple gunshot wounds suffered by Glennis Dukes and John Harris came because he and Beals wanted the vehicle parked at the house. They had seen the car in the yard as they drove through the neighborhood, Green told investigators. They did not know who lived in the house but they did want the car, said Green. He told investigators he broke into the house and later shot Harris multiple times with a .22 caliber rifle after the residents were held at gunpoint. Green said Beals searched the house and car and later shot Dukes in the head, according to investigators. Beals used a .32 caliber firearm during the home invasion, Judge McMillan said during the arraignment proceedings.

Harris had suffered several gunshot wounds in the torso and thigh but experienced no permanent damage. Dukes sustained only a minor injury after a handgun was put against her right temple and the trigger pulled. The bullet fragmented and never penetrated her skull, said investigators.

Charges in Richmond County include armed robbery and murder resulting from the April 30, 2003, shooting death of Shell Pump N' Shop clerk Margaret King, according to Richmond County Sheriff's spokesman Maj. Ken Autry.

Wadley votes to halt garnishment on delinquent city loan holder

Motion made and seconded by councilmembers who are also delinquent loan holders

By Ben Nelms
Staff Writer

The City of Wadley's long delayed decision in mid-2003 to collect bad debts on city loans came to a sudden halt at the Jan. 12 council meeting.

The council voted 3-2 to accept monthly payments of $250, apparently in lieu of the recently imposed garnishment on delinquent city loan holder Brenda Mincey.

The motion was made by newly elected council member Albert Samples, who had been sworn in for his new term earlier in the meeting, and was seconded by council member Izell Mack. A brief discussion followed.

Mack, Samples and Mincey all defaulted on city-sponsored loans granted them in the 1990s and face measures by the city to recover the delinquent principle and interest.

Council member Edith Pundt objected to the motion, citing the significant amount of time that had elapsed since Mincey had made regular payments to meet her loan obligation, the years-long process involving recouping all three delinquent Urban Development Action Grant (UDAG) loans and the council's eventual decision to collect the city's money.

Minutes later, the council voted 3-2 to accept $250 per month as payment for the debt.

Council members Samples, Mack and John Maye voted in favor of the motion. Pundt and council member Randall Jones voted against the motion.

Nothing stated in the motion or discussion phase centered on the specifics of the decision. City attorney John Murphy was charged with determining the amount of money owed and a payment schedule.

The Wadley council voted in July 2003 to bring suit to collect money owed on its three delinquent city loans.

The move came after more than three years of deliberations and delays. By mid-2003 Mincey's small business loan was more than $9,000 delinquent. Samples and Mack were also delinquent in repaying their loans.

As of mid-year 2003 Samples owed more than $29,000 in principle and interest on a $25,000 loan while Mack owed more than $11,000 on a $15,000 loan.

Unlike Samples and Mack, Mincey's loan contract had two other co-signers, Ideal Glover and Prince Lemons, but was left with the responsibility of repaying the debt herself after the parties moved away.

Federal UDAG grant awards were established through competitions from 1978-1989 to assist communities in stimulating economic development, employment and housing opportunities in distressed communities. Samples, Mack and Mincey are the only UDAG recipients in Wadley history to default on the their loan obligations.


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