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Top Stories
December 16, 2004 Issue

St. Nick rides again...
Children from Wadley, Wrens, Louisville and Glascock County have seen Santa ride into town during recent parades. For more pictures see page 3B in this week's edition.




















Other Top Stories
Trial begins in home invasion case
Council discusses actions taken at recent raid

Please click the above links to read the story.





Trial begins in home invasion case

Louisville woman takes stand, describes waking to a man standing over her with a gun

By Ben Nelms
Staff Writer

The home invasion trial of Augusta resident Cedric Lewis Beals got underway Tuesday afternoon at the courthouse in Louisville with testimony by Glennis Dukes and John Harris, both victims in the April 7, 2003 incident in Harris' Wrens Quarters home.

Thirty year-old Beals faces charges of armed robbery, aggravated assault, kidnapping, burglary, motor vehicle theft and possession of a firearm during the commission of a crime.

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Beals' alleged accomplice in the incident, 20 year-old Timothy Gene Greene, Jr. was sentenced to 25 years without parole May 21 after agreeing to change his plea to guilty in the case.

Dukes was the first witness to take the stand. She recounted how she and Harris had been awakened in the early morning hours of April 7 to the command of a man in their bedroom holding a gun to Harris' head and demanding money.

"He said, 'where's the money at, bitch,'" Dukes recalled emotionally. "I was terrified. I couldn't believe it. I couldn't say anything."

Dukes explained how she and Harris were forced to walk, hands behind their heads, into the living room after their captors were left unsatisfied with the small amount of money found in the bathroom.

She recounted the struggle that took place in the living room after Harris' car was searched.

Dukes took the jury step by step through the scene as she recalled, one where she was shot in the head at point blank range while Harris sustained three gunshots to his abdomen and another to his thigh just prior to the men fleeing her home.

Both Dukes and Harris underwent surgery and recovered from their wounds.

"The one with the pistol walked up to me and put the gun to my head," Dukes said, her voice cracking. "Then he pulled the trigger."

Dukes later identified the man who pulled the trigger as Beals.

Her identification came through her memory of his voice.

"I'll never forget it," Dukes said, visibly shaken. "That voice did something to me."

The trial is expected to continue through the middle of the week.

Beals also faces murder charges in a separate incident involving an Augusta store clerk.





Council discusses actions taken at recent raid

Councilman Albert Samples charges police improperly searched females present; Wrens and Wadley officers claim Samples threatened their jobs

By Ben Nelms
Staff Writer

Questions arose at the Wadley city council meeting Monday night over Council Member Albert Samples' accusation that officers had improperly conducted a raid on a residence where alcohol was being illegally sold and that officers had subsequently lied on incident reports.

The unusual sequence of events surrounding the topic was dotted with colorful comments. At one point, officers intervened in a heated exchange between council members and later, Samples left the room prior to the close of the meeting without answering questions about his accusations and his conduct during the raid.

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Present Nov. 28 at the Martin Luther King Boulevard "game room" where alcohol was being sold illegally, Samples claimed that officers had conducted the pat down search of female patrons inappropriately and had lied when stating that he had threatened their jobs. The raid was a joint operation by Wadley and Wrens Police and Georgia Dept. of Revenue Alcohol and Tobacco officers and was initiated after complaints about the "game room" and a subsequent investigation, Wadley Police Lt. Anthony Dixon told council members.

Samples leveled several accusations at police and their methods. Samples said police had lied by stating that he had threatened their jobs. Yet statements by officers indicate that Samples had made the threat. At the Monday meeting, Samples said Wadley officers had "made an enemy out of us" and mentioned the city's annual January re-hire process though he did not state that officers would not be rehired.

During Samples' initial statements, council member Randall Jones spoke up for police, stating that their job sometimes required the actions they described. Both Samples and council member Izell Mack took issue with Jones and a loud and emotional exchange ensued. Wadley police physically stepped in and ordered that the exchange end.

Samples' conduct at the raid was also mentioned in incident reports filed by Wrens Police officers. Reports state that Samples objected to being searched. Having been searched once by Wadley Police and later by Wrens officers who were unaware of the first search, Samples said, "You go right ahead and search me, my day is coming," reports said. Samples later told Wrens officers he would be "talking with your chief real soon," according to incident reports.

Samples said he disagreed, not with the raid, but with the way female "patrons" were searched, claiming that officers used their open hands to pat the women down, including "sensitive areas," Samples said. He added that officers left the bathroom door open for others to be within the view of the woman. Reports from both Wadley and Wrens officers tell a different story. Wrens officers said the women were patted down with the back of officer's hands and that one of the women ignored orders to the patrons to submit to their search and quickly ran, instead, into a bathroom where she appeared to be flushing something in the toilet, incident reports said. Once searched, the woman was found to be carrying a folding knife. Chief Paul Jordan attempted to make the point about the potential hazards officers face by placing the confiscated knife on the council table. Officers related how the woman left the "game room" and placed a phone call to 911, falsely reporting that a Wrens officer had just raped her.

When questions to Samples were attempted from the floor relating to his documented disturbance during the raid and his threat to officers, the councilman suggested that those questions wait until after the council's executive session. Yet once complete and the meeting reconvened, Samples got to his feet and exited the room. He was followed by Mack.


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