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February 5, 2009 Issue

Six qualify for Norton's seat
Gas leak detected
Stray bullet enter's woman's home
Suspects arrested in DOT burglaries

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Six qualify for Norton's seat

By Carol McLeod
Staff writer

Michael E. Brown, Charles Wayne Davis Sr., Alec McNeely, Spence C. Norton, Dalton D. Dowdy and Horace Watson “Race” Lariscy III qualified for the Jefferson County Board of Commissioners’ seat vacated by the death of Sydney Norton in December.

Qualifying for this seat closed at noon on Friday, Jan. 30. The special election will be Tuesday, March 17. Only registered voters in District 3 will be voting in this election.

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Chandrel Evans, Jefferson County’s voting registrar, said there will be early voting, advance voting and absentee voting during this election.

Advance voting is allowed during the week prior to the election. In this case, that will be Monday, March 9, through Friday, March 13, she said. Voting during this time will take place only at the registrar’s office at 302 E. Broad St., Louisville. The office, which normally closes an hour for lunch, will be open all day, from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m., she said.

Early voting occurs prior to advance voting and will begin when Evans receives the ballots, she said, adding the ballots were requested after qualifying ended. She will announce the start of early voting when she receives the ballots.

Votes cast during this time must be made in the registrar’s office as well. The office will be open its usual business hours, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. with an hour for lunch. The office closes from noon until 1 p.m.

“Only voting during Election Day will be at the precincts,” she said. All the usual District 3 precincts will be open Tuesday, March 17, from 7 a.m. until 7 p.m.

Voters who want to use absentee ballots will need to complete a request form.

“They can do that now,” Evans said. Voters can call the office to have an absentee application mailed to them or stop by the office and pick up an application.

The form should be completed off site and mailed back to the registrar or dropped by the office.

“Or they can fax it,” she said.

Friday, March 13, will be the last day someone can pick up an application for an absentee ballot, Evans said. She recommends people do not wait until the last day as it is possible they will not receive their ballot in time to cast it. Anyone not registered to vote may register at the registrar’s office, the public library or online at www.sos.ga.gov/elections, Evans said.



Probate Judge Q. L. Bryant Jr. who oversees the election process said he believes there will be a runoff because of the number of candidates.

The two people with the most votes will be in the runoff.



Gas leak detected

By Kate Agel
Intern

At 11:15 a.m. on Monday, Feb. 2, a 3/4-inch service gas line was cut by contract workers from a cable company out of Augusta who were digging a cable line at Brooksfield Apartments in Louisville.

The Louisville Fire Department responded immediately, evaluated the scene and decided it was a job for the city’s gas department. LFD Chief Lamar Baxley said under certain conditions, the leak could have been dangerous. Under those conditions, a lighted match or cigarette-smoking passerby could have possibly ignited the scene.

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Baxley said the fire department deemed the leak a controlled situation. It was underground and wind conditions kept the gas from accumulating.

“We called the gas department and they said that everything was fine and that they would take care of it and handle it. They know how to handle it better,” he said.

Before the cable company began drilling underground, city workers marked where the gas lines were so the drillers would know where to avoid.

“Sometimes when you mark, you can be off, doesn’t matter whether it’s a gas or a telephone line. You know, it’s not perfect. It happens and it’s going to happen again,” Baxley said.

Baxley said the fire department rarely gets calls about cable companies cutting lines. More commonly, gas leaks are caused by people accidentally hitting a line while mowing their lawn or from children playing on the gas meter and bending it.

The smell associated with gas is actually added to natural gas so a leak can be easily noticed. This smell can be described as a strong, rotten egg odor.

“If you smell that gas, notify the gas department and your fire department,” Baxley said.



Stray bullet enters woman's home

By Carol McLeod
Staff Writer

A woman standing in her house reported someone fired a shot that went through the wall of her house near where she was standing Sunday, Jan. 18.

A Jefferson County deputy responded to a call on Godbee Road outside Louisville, a JCSO spokesman said Wednesday, Jan. 21.

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“The complainant stated that someone had shot through her house from the back of the house. The projectile hit part of a railing between two rooms in the house and fell to the floor,” the spokesman said.

The complainant further reported having heard neighbors shooting earlier, the spokesman said.

The deputy called an investigator with the JCSO who arrived on the scene. The officers located the projectile and then went to a T. E. Buchanan Road residence that is behind the complainant’s home.

The officers asked the resident there, identified as 46-year-old Rodney Green, what he had been shooting at.

Green reportedly told the officers that a dog had come on to his property and he was shooting near it to scare it away.

The officers asked to the see the weapon, which was in the home, the spokesman said.

Green reportedly told the officers that the weapon, a .38-caliber revolver, was the gun he had been using. When Green pointed in the direction he had been shooting, it was in the direction of the complainant’s home, the spokesman said.

The projectile that was recovered was very similar to the bullets in the weapon, which had two spent casings, he said.

Green was arrested and charged with possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. The charge is a felony, the spokesman said.




Suspects arrested in DOT burglaries

By Carol McLeod
Staff Writer

Five men have been charged for burglaries of the DOT offices in Louisville, law enforcement officials announced last week.

The burglaries, which occurred a year and a half apart, have ended with the arrests of one DOT employee, a state correction officer, an officer in the U.S. Army, a college student and another man.

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Kenneth Alan Davis Jr., 24, of Tennille works for the DOT in Tennille and had been working out of the Louisville offices during the burglaries, law enforcement officials stated last week.

“The first burglary was on the weekend of Feb. 10, 2006,” a spokesman with the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office said Wednesday, Jan. 21. vThe burglary occurred between Friday, Feb. 10, 2006, when the office closed and Sunday, Feb. 12, 2006, when an employee went to the DOT offices in Louisville.

“He came to change out some survey equipment at the (DOT) survey office and noticed the back door to the survey office was open,” the spokesman said.

“It had been forced open and appeared to have been pried open with a pry bar. He called 9-1-1. They put the call out to the officers who were on duty. Maj. (Charles) Gibbons was the first to arrive,” he said.

After officers cleared the building, the employee entered with Gibbons and stated two Dell computers had been taken.

Gibbons had Deputy Tim Moore check to see if the main office building was clear.

“Moore saw the back door had been forced open, a small amount of cash had been taken from a money box as well as five computers from that building. Some had extra monitors. A total of four additional monitors were taken from the building. A video camera was taken. The total value of the burglaries from both buildings at that incident was estimated at $15,274,” the spokesman said, adding approximately $300 worth of damage had been done to the doors of the buildings.

A second burglary occurred a year and a half later, during the weekend of Friday, Aug. 31, 2007, and Monday, Sept. 3, 2007.

“Monday, they came to work and found the back door of the main office kicked in,” the JCSO spokesman said. “Eight computers had been stolen, seven monitors, one camera, approximately 13 Sony tapes, several boxes of AA batteries and approximately $15 in change.”

The total value of the items taken during this burglary was estimated at $14,165, he said.

“When the second one happened, we felt like it may have been some of the same ones as those involved in the first burglary,” the spokesman said, adding that law enforcement officials had heard in December of 2008 that one DOT employee had sold a computer to another DOT employee.

“I had heard through law enforcement channels that Kenneth Alan Davis Jr. had sold one Dell desktop computer to another individual. Both men worked for DOT during the 2006 burglary at the survey office in Louisville,” he said. The second person is not a suspect at this time, the spokesman said.

“I contacted the Internal Affairs Investigator with DOT out of Atlanta in December of 2008. On January 6 of 2009, the Internal Affairs Investigator with DOT came to Louisville. He made an appointment for Kenneth Alan Davis Jr. and another individual to come to the Louisville DOT office. By this time, both men were working out of the DOT office in Tennille,” the spokesman said.

The spokesman would not name the second person, who he said was not currently under suspicion in these crimes.

“The investigator with DOT invited me to sit in in the interview. At that time we did not know if the computer was one of the stolen DOT computers,” he said.

During the course of this interview, Kenneth Alan Davis Jr. said he had received some computers that he thought may have been stolen from the Louisville DOT office. Kenneth Alan Davis Jr. said he received these computers from John Davis and Robert Emory “Robbie” Davis, who are brothers and unrelated to Kenneth Alan Davis Jr., the spokesman said.

John Davis is a first lieutenant in the U.S. Army studying to be a captain. He is 24 and originally from Sandersville.

Jefferson County deputies picked him up from the sheriff’s office in Muscogee County where John Davis is stationed at Fort Benning, the spokesman said.

Robbie Davis, 20, of Sandersville is presently in college, the spokesman said.

The spokesman said he and the investigator asked Kenneth Alan Davis Jr. to arrange to have the computers brought to the Louisville DOT office.

Kenneth Alan Davis Jr. said he thought these computers were stolen during the 2006 burglary.

However, some of the computers that were brought in were ones reported stolen during the 2007 burglary, the spokesman said.

The name of another man, David Clint Hobby, came up during the interview.

On Thursday, Jan. 8, investigators met with Hobby, 24, from Davisboro.

“(David) Clint Hobby did in fact at that time acknowledge that he, along with John Davis and Robbie Davis, committed the February 2006 burglary at the Louisville DOT office,” the spokesman said.

“He further stated that those three had been to Kenneth Alan Davis Jr.’s house the night of the burglary. Kenneth Alan Davis Jr. had given him a key to open the back door of the DOT survey office. Those three came to (that) office, couldn’t open the door with the key. They pried the office open, got the computers and broke into the main office,” he said.

During interviews in January, Robbie Davis acknowledged that he, his brother John Davis and Hobby were given a key to enter the DOT’s survey office in Louisville in 2006, the spokesman said.

“Robbie Davis did acknowledge that they had taken the computers at the survey office and also from the main office. He said once they received the computers, they went back to Kenneth Alan Davis Jr.’s house, called him to unlock the door, that they had the computers,” he said.

Robbie Davis also acknowledged he, his brother John Davis, Kenneth Alan Davis Jr. and another man, Edward Hugh Bridges, were the ones who entered the main DOT office and removed the computers, most of the monitors and additional items, the spokesman said.

Bridges, 24, is from Harrison and at the time of his arrest was employed by Johnson County State Prison as a state correction officer.

On Tuesday, Jan. 13, investigators interviewed Kenneth Alan Davis Jr. again. During that interview, he acknowledged the other men had brought all the computers from both burglaries to his house, the spokesman said.

On Friday, Jan. 16, investigators met with John Davis who acknowledged he, his brother Robbie Davis and Hobby did commit the burglaries of the DOT buildings in Louisville in February 2006, he said.

“John Davis did acknowledge that all computers were taken initially to Kenneth Alan Davis Jr.’s house that same night,” he said.

John Davis also acknowledged that he, his brother Robbie Davis, Kenneth Alan Davis Jr. and Edward Bridges were the ones who committed the burglary the weekend of Aug. 31, 2007.

Kenneth Alan Davis Jr. has been charged with a party to the crime of burglary in the 2006 burglary and with burglary in the 2007 case.

Robert Emory “Robbie” Davis has been charged with two counts of burglary, one in the 2006 and one in the 2007 case.

John Davis has been charged with two counts of burglary, one in each case.

David Clint Hobby has been charged with burglary in the 2006 case.

Edward Hugh Bridges has been charged with burglary in the 2007 case.

Seven computers and monitors from each burglary have been recovered by investigators.




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