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February 8, 2007 Issue

Palmer commits suicide in jail
Students arrested at school with drugs
Fundraisers benefit new Louisville parks

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Palmer commits suicide in jail

• Investigators claim Ezumer "Shorty" Palmer, 54, of Keysville, was responsible for bringing in 70 percent of the cocaine sold in the north end of Jefferson County

By Faye Ellison
Staff Writer

A Keysville man committed suicide Sunday in the Burke County Jail after being arrested earlier in the week for drug charges involving a joint investigation involving the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office.

Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office Investigator Clark Hiebert said Monday that Ezumer “Shorty” Palmer, 54, hung himself in the jail after his arrest on Thursday involving more than 2 kilograms of cocaine, several ounces of marijuana, over $53,000 and a firearm.


Hiebert said he believes Palmer was a supplier for around 70 percent of the cocaine trade in the north end of Jefferson County. The arrest, he said, dealt a major blow to the rising drug business in the county.

Burke County Coroner Betty White said Palmer was pronounced dead at 8 a.m. on Sunday, Feb. 4. An investigation is ongoing.

Hiebert said he contacted Special Agent Patrick Clayton with the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) about six to eight months ago in regards to the Terrell Road resident’s reported drug activity.

“Patrick Clayton is the lead agent in the Augusta DEA office,” Hiebert said Tuesday. “I was informing him of a problem we are having with a considerable amount of drugs being brought into Jefferson County from that area.”

Hiebert said himself, Special Agent Clayton and investigators with the Richmond County Sheriff’s Office met with Burke County Sheriff’s Office Captain Frankie Parker.

“We informed him of information we had been receiving on Shorty Palmer,” Hiebert said. “Throughout our discussion we were able to come up with plans for an undercover agent to make undercover buys from Shorty Palmer. Through this we were able to obtain several buys from Shorty. Some were on audio and some were on video of Shorty at this residence. This in itself was the probable cause we needed for the search warrant.”

Hiebert said the search warrant was executed on Thursday, Feb. 1, at Palmer’s 402 Terrell Road residence. Officers and investigators found approximately one quarter kilogram of suspected cocaine on top of a .45 semi-automatic pistol in the trunk of a white Pontiac Grand Am parked in the yard of Palmer’s residence. Also located in the same vehicle in a hidden compartment was 1.75 kilograms of suspected cocaine. There were also two other containers found with cocaine packaged in smaller increments in the steps of one of the out buildings located on the grounds.

Hiebert said they also found three ounces of high grade marijuana and two electronic scales. The drug raid netted over $3,000 in U.S. currency inside the residence. A duffle bag containing over $50,000 was also found in what Hiebert described as a van-type truck.

Hiebert said that during the raid officers and investigators seized a 2006 Ford F-250 King Cab pickup, a race car trailer, the 2001 Pontiac Grand Am and a brand new, two-seater golf cart.

“We took him to the Burke County facility and on Sunday morning, I was notified by Patrick Clayton that he had taken his own life,” Hiebert said. “I believe he felt like he would never see daylight again. Like he felt he had no purpose in living. It was a sad day and a sad way to go and the final outcome will be sad. It was beyond the law enforcement’s control.”

Hiebert said that Palmer was charged by the state with trafficking cocaine, which is a felony. It was unclear at press time what federal charges were brought against Palmer.

Hiebert said that Palmer was sentenced in 1990 on drug related racketeering charges.

“He was originally sentenced on federal charges in 1990, but then the sentence was amended and he was released in 2001,” Hiebert said. “I think he was very familiar with what he could receive the second time around with a gun enhancement with the amount of drug charges. I think he knew he was looking at some hard time in prison and not in a state prison.”

Hiebert went on to say that the investigation is continuing in the drug case.

“We expect more arrests to be made,” Hiebert said. “Palmer had made some admissions at the time of the interview at his residence before being transported. He also had given some statements that are valuable in the ongoing investigation.”

During the execution of the search warrant, DEA was the lead Agent, Hiebert said. Also assisting were the Richmond County Investigation Team, Burke County Sheriff’s Office investigators and deputies, Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office investigators and deputies and several agents with the Georgia Bureau of Investigations.

“We had superb cooperation between all agencies,” Hiebert said. “Jefferson County has been relieved of a major drug supplier. He supplied about 70 percent of the upper part of the county. This investigation has really helped to clean up Jefferson County.”

Hiebert went on to say that he does expect more arrests stemming from this investigation.

Students arrested at school with drugs

• Students face drug and weapon charges for pot, pills and knives found in vehicles

By Faye Ellison
Staff Writer

Two Jefferson County High School students were arrested on drug and weapon charges last Wednesday, Jan. 31.

A male juvenile was arrested for possessing prescription pain medication on school grounds and another student, John Paul “J.P.” Balser was arrested on a misdemeanor possession of drugs and possession of weapons charge, which is a felony.


Officer detained but did not charge a female juvenile.

Jefferson County High School Principal Molly Howard acknowledged the arrests in a phone conversation Tuesday.

“There was a juvenile arrested for possession of prescription pills,” Howard said. “The juvenile had one on him in the school and officers found he had five pills in the car of another student.”

Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office Investigator Clark Hiebert said that they arrested the male juvenile after it was reported that he had brought percocet, a schedule II drug, to Jefferson County High School.

“He had, according to himself, dispensed two pills to two different individuals,” Hiebert said of the juvenile.

The juvenile told officers he had received the percocet from Balser. “We learned through the investigation that that information was not accurate,” Hiebert explained. “The girl was detained because the juvenile had stashed his bottle of pills that he had not brought into the school in her car.

Upon interviewing him, we were able to obtain information on where the rest of the pills were. The investigation didn’t reveal that she was a part of the crime as far as bringing them to school.”

According to Hiebert, after searching Balser’s vehicle which was located on campus, officers located three knives. One knife was approximately 18 inches long by 2.5 inches wide.

One of the other weapons was a box cutter. Also in the vehicle was a misdemeanor amount of marijuana.

Hiebert said that the male juvenile was charged with the possession of a schedule II drug, which is the same schedule as cocaine, and distribution of a schedule II drug. Both are felony charges.

Balser was officially charged with misdemeanor possession of marijuana and felony possession of a weapon on school grounds.

Hiebert went on to say that Howard and other faculty and staff at the school have been very helpful in cleaning up the halls of Jefferson County High School.

“I do want to say that Molly Howard and her staff have been allegedly accused of hindering law enforcement and not really wanting the problem revealed in the school as far as the extent of drugs in the school for publicity reasons, but they hav not,” Hiebert said. “They have bent over backwards in assisting in investigations and calling investigators to the school when there are any suspicion of drug use or drugs being on campus.

“Molly Howard has even requested that they not even be notified when drug dogs are coming to the school. We have not received anything but complete cooperation from Molly and her staff. Even the Richmond County Narcotics Team has seen the cooperation that we receive and they stand apalled by the lack cooperation they have received in their own school system.

“Parents have heard things that are negative and the law enforcement knows the facts and together we are working to make JCHS a better place to send their children to school.

We couldn’t ask for a better team. The Board of Education has to support them for them to give us the support they do.”

Fundraisers benefit new Louisville parks

By Faye Ellison
Staff Writer

Throughout February one local group is hoping to collect enough old cell phones at Louisville City Hall to fund new playground equipment for the city’s parks.

Paula Sizeland, Wendy Davis, Ashley Wren and Lisa and Tony Otis are members of a new committee aimed at beautifying Louisville.


But while the new Louisville Beautification Committee is currently being established they are looking for 100 volunteers to sign up for upcoming projects in the city for 2007, including the cell phone drop. All ages are encouraged to sign up including individuals, families, youth groups and businesses.

The funds raised from this and other fundraisers will go towards the new Helen Clark Memorial Park and renovations of the Price Memorial Park, which are both located on Peachtree Street in Louisville.

“This is a wonderful way to offer the people of Louisville ways they can contribute to keeping Louisville beautiful and improving the quality of family life through fellowship in our parks and neighborhoods,” Sizeland said.

Sizeland said that the money through the cell phones will assist specifically in the cost of picnic tables, grills for the pavilions, bike racks and park benches.

Each cell phone that is donated at City Hall will be shipped to a company that recycles them, Sizeland explained. The city is reimbursed funds anywhere from $1 to $8 per phone. The goal for the fundraiser is $2,000.

“The Helen Clark Memorial Park and Price Memorial Park will both also have wonderful new play structures for the children among other things,” Sizeland said.

The next fundraiser the committee will undertake will be a ceramic tile sale.

“This is a creative and fun way to help by purchasing these ceramic tiles from us to be painted by yourselves, children, adults, businesses, teams, churches, whomever and they will be installed at the parks for viewing for years to come,” Sizeland said.

In the past, the city of Louisville has attempted to find ways and volunteers to help cleanup the community. Sizeland said Rhodes told her his last attempt at a community cleanup brought in three people.

“I was astonished,” Sizeland said. “I think we all agree this is an amazing little town full of big hearts. But we need help and we need volunteers to make this work."

Not only is the committee trying to raise money for the parks, but it is also interested in the general upkeep of the community. The committee will organize quarterly community curb appeal cleanups throughout 2007, one in March, June, September and December.

“We are hoping that everyone will (set aside) one day per year to help,” Sizeland said. “Our goal is 100 volunteers for 2007, which will be 25 individuals for each quarterly cleanup.

“We want what most families want, a safe fun, beautiful environment to play and congregate with our friends and family. We want to stroll the sidewalks of downtown Louisville and in our neighborhoods with pride. We need to maintain its historical beauty yet clean up the areas that are in obvious disarray and neglect."

Anyone interested is encouraged to contact Paula Sizeland 478-625-3628 or Don Rhodes with the City of Louisville.

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Last modified: January 31, 2007