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Top Stories
January 5, 2006 Issue

Firefighters work to separate the two vehicles after the fatal accident on Hwy. 24 outside Louisville claimed to lives of a local couple.

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Couple killed in wreck

Other Top Stories
Bartow man shoots son-in-law
Trusty takes holiday in Magistrate's offices
U.S. postage stamp prices going up Jan. 8

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Couple killed in wreck

Bartow couple was to be married in April

By Ben Roberts
Staff Writer

A couple planning to wed in April was killed last Tuesday afternoon, Dec. 27, when their pick-up truck was struck from behind by a tractor trailer on Georgia Highway 24 outside of Louisville.

According to the Georgia State Patrol, James William Cain, 27, of Louisville and Michelle JoAnn McLester, 20, of Sandersville were killed on impact when their 1996 Nissan pick-up was hit by a 2006 Freightliner.


The couple was stopped waiting for a vehicle in front of them to turn onto Buchanan Road when the accident occurred, authorities said. The tractor trailer hit the pick-up, pushed it down a steep embankment, and came to rest on top of the truck.

The accident is under investigation by the GSP's Specialized Collision Reconstruction Team (SCRT) and charges are pending against the driver of the tractor trailer, Eddie William Smith, 69, of Wrens.

Cain and McLester had planned to wed on April 7, 2006. The two were buried in Zeta Cemetery in Tennille on New Year's Day.

Bartow man shoots son-in-law

James Stapleton, 74, shot Thomas Sause Jr. outside their Bartow-area home, investigators said

By Ben Roberts
Staff Writer

A Jefferson County man was arrested for the fatal shooting of his son-in-law last Tuesday evening near Bartow.

According to Jefferson County Sheriff's Office investigators, James Lawrence Stapleton, 74, has been charged with one count of murder and one count of possessing a firearm during the commission of certain crimes.


Stapleton is accused of shooting his daughter's husband, Thomas Edward Sause Jr., 55, with a small-caliber handgun shortly after 8 p.m. Tuesday night, Dec. 27. The shooting occurred outside the residence the two shared with Stapleton's daughter at 5316 Moxley-Bartow Road, in south Jefferson County.

Stapleton is currently being held at the Jefferson County Jail awaiting a bond hearing.

Sause's body was transported to the GBI Crime Lab in Augusta for an autopsy Wednesday afternoon. Jefferson County Deputy Corner Fay McGahee confirmed the cause of death was a single gunshot wound to the head.

Investigators say Stapleton had lived with the couple for about four years but that the two men had not been getting along in recent weeks. They had apparently argued shortly before the shooting occurred.

Stapleton's daughter was not at home at the time of the shooting, but did return and witnessed some of the incident outside the residence, investigators said.

Johnny Kitchens, general manager of Iron Ax Inc. in Wadley, where Sause had worked for over 12 years manufacturing heavy equipment parts, said employees were having a difficult time dealing with their coworker's death.

"Tom was a nice guy. In the whole time he worked with us, I can honestly say he never lost his temper," Kitchens said. "I'd never seen him get mad, and that's not something you can say about a lot of people."

Sause was buried Friday, Dec. 30, at the Eastbrook Cemetery in Bartow.

Trusty takes holiday in Magistrate's offices

By Ben Roberts
Staff Writer

A trusty at the Jefferson County Jail took a little time out of his day to give himself a small Christmas present that will most likely add time to his current sentence.

According to Jefferson County officials, the Magistrate's Office was broken into on two occasions Christmas day by a jail trusty who was supposed to be working in the ceiling loft changing air filters.


Joshua Carey Dunn, 28, of Statesboro, was charged with two counts of burglary, authorities said. He was being held at the Jefferson County Jail for Bulloch County, which houses a number of inmates in Jefferson County because of space issues.

Dunn dropped from the ceiling into the Magistrate's Office, which was closed for the Christmas holiday, once in the morning and again in the afternoon, staying in the office for approximately 30 minutes each time.

Jefferson County Magistrate Murray Bowman said there was no damage to his office or files and that nothing was stolen. However, Dunn did use an office computer to view pornographic material on the internet, Bowman said.

Jefferson County Sheriff Gary Hutchins said he was unsure of how long Dunn had been at his facility or what his original charges were in Bulloch County, but stressed that inmates convicted of serious crimes are not allowed to be trusties.

"We don't just let anybody do it," Hutchins said. "They are screened and we're careful about who we allow to do these jobs."

Dunn has since been sent back to Bulloch County.

This is the second year in a row that Jefferson County court offices have been burglarized.

Between Friday, Dec. 24, and Monday, Dec. 27, 2004, someone entered the county courthouse by breaking a window in the Tax Commissioner's office. That office, as well as the Clerk of Superior Court and the recently vacated Sheriff's office, were all three rummaged through.

The culprits got away with an undisclosed amount of money and were never apprehended.

U.S. postage stamp prices going up Jan. 8

By Ben Roberts
Staff Writer

If you're going to mail a payment for a bill next week, make sure you've got the correct postage on the envelope.

As of this Sunday, Jan. 8, postal rates will increase, pushing the cost of a regular first-class letter from $.37 to $.39. Postcards will increase from $.23 to $.24.


According to the U.S. Postal Service, most postal rates and fees are increasing by approximately 5.4 percent across the board. Those increases were approved by the Governors of the U.S. Postal Service in November.

Louisville Postmaster Joanne Brinson said the new $.39 stamps are available now as single stamps, 20-stamp books and rolls of 100. The post office also has $.02 stamps that can be used with $.37 stamps.

Brinson recommends customers go ahead and use the new postage rate on items they mail Saturday, just to be on the safe side.

Anything mailed from a drop box after the last pickup on Saturday - which is 5 p.m. for most, but not all, boxes - would not be picked up until Monday and would need the new postage.

According to Brinson, post office personnel have been alerting individual customers about the rate change.

U.S. Postal officials say the rate increase - the first since 2002 - is needed to fulfill the requirement of a federal law passed in 2003. That law requires the Postal Service to establish a $3.1 billion escrow account, with use of the funds to be determined by Congress at a later date.

Brinson admits she and post office personnel have had to listen to complaints about the rate changes, but she says that simply comes with the job.

"I understand how customers feel, but I try to explain that they're still getting a good bargain. A $.39 stamp will get a letter from Louisville to California and then forward it even further at no extra cost if the recipient has moved," she said. "And when gas went up recently, stamps stayed the same."

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