Six men charged in Snider home burglary
By Faye Ellison
Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office Investigator Clark Hiebert confirmed this week that six arrests have been made in connection with the burglary at Alton Snider’s residence on Sept. 30, as well as another burglary on the same day.
Those arrested were Damien Bynes, 19, of Louisville, Hikeem Bynes, 18, of Louisville, Kentrail Boyd, 18, of Louisville, Damien Middleton, 20, of Louisville, Delmetrius Floyd, 18, of Louisville, and Gabriel Tarver, 18, of Wadley.
Taken from Snider’s residence were three weapons, $2,000 in U.S. currency in silver and bills and an untold amount of damage to the inside of his residence.
Hiebert said on Sept. 30, D. Bynes, the driver of the burgundy Mercury Marquis, drove, H. Bynes, Middleton, Boyd and Floyd to an area on River Road which is close to Snider’s residence, which is located on Highway 1.
“He put them out and these four worked their way through the woods and across the field to Alton Snider’s residence,” Hiebert said.
As for the reason in choosing Snider’s residence, Hiebert said someone told the group that he kept large sums of money in his residence.
“They said they were told he would have close to $30,000 in his house,” Hiebert explained. “They said they had children to take care of and were having financial difficulties. They thought they could get their hands on the money easily and get away with it.”
The group of suspects noticed that Snider’s pickup truck was still in his yard. At that time, Hiebert said they crossed over Highway 1 onto Old Highway 1 and into the woods where they noticed another residence belonging to Bonnie Clark.
“While waiting for Snider to leave, they burglarized the garage beside the house at this location,” Hiebert said. “It was locked and they broke a window to gain entry into the garage. They tried to steal the truck parked in the garage, but it would not crank. They then broke in the back door of the residence and stole some gloves and other miscellaneous items out of the house.”
After the burglary at the Clark residence, they went back through the woods crossing over Highway 1 once they saw Snider’s truck was gone. They proceeded to kick in the back door at Snider’s residence where they stole money and three weapons, including a .3030-caliber rifle, a 12-gauge pump shotgun and an M-1 carbine .30-caliber rifle with scope.
The .3030-caliber rifle was recovered on Sept. 30 in the woods near River Road, where the suspects entered. Hiebert said the 12-gauge pump shotgun was recovered a few days after the theft.
“The barrel along with the stock had been sawed off so it was a pistol grip sawed off pump shotgun,” Hiebert noted.
The M-1 carbine .30-caliber rifle was recovered at a later day just inside of Burke County at a residence on Bailey Road. Hiebert said very little of the money had been recovered, noting only some of the silver was recovered.
Middleton was arrested on Oct. 19, while Tarver, D. Bynes, Boyd and Floyd were arrested on Oct. 20, and H. Bynes on Oct. 21.
“Hikeem Bynes had run from officers when they tried to arrest him on Oct. 18,” Hiebert said. “On Oct. 21, officers were in street vehicles and surrounded him before he recognized them as officers, which gave him no escape route. He gave up without incident at that time.”
Tarver was charged with theft by receiving stolen property when he and Boyd were in possession of the 12-gauge pump sawed off shotgun. H. Bynes, Boyd, Floyd and Middleton were all charged with four counts of burglary, two counts for burglary in Snider’s residence and two counts for burglary in Clark’s residence. The five were also charged with theft by taking for the three weapons and money, and criminal damage to property in second degree because the damage caused to property inside of Snider’s residence was more than $500. All the charges are felonies, Clark said.
D. Bynes was charged with two counts of party to the crime of burglary.
“There very likely will be more charges coming forward on maybe some of these cases and also some unrelated cases in which one or more of these suspects were involved,” Hiebert divulged.
As of press time on Tuesday, Tarver, D. Bynes and Middleton had bonded out of the Jefferson County Jail, while Floyd had not. Boyd and H. Bynes were denied bond because of previous charges. Hiebert said the Superior Court Judge may choose to set their bond or deny bond again at a bond hearing.
Hiebert said though the suspects have been arrested in this case, something like this can leave the victim shaken.
“We kept in touch with Alton Snider since day one,” Hiebert explained. “We talked to him many times in between this investigation. But it is such a tragedy when somebody goes into a residence and does this type of damage. The person’s mind and body creates a certain sense of fear, not knowing what is behind the door or around the corner.
“It is quite a tragedy for someone at that age to live with something like that. He was fortunate his life was spared. If not for the person who followed him into the yard, he would have probably walked into the house with the suspects still in there and there is no telling what could have happened.”
Hiebert said he would like to express his gratitude towards those who aided in the investigation.
“We are very grateful for all those who have come forward and expressed what they saw in the individuals running across the field, their descriptions as much as they could provide. It was very, very helpful in solving the case as quickly as we did. Without it, it would have been a lot more difficult.”
Ceremony attracts 100 despite rain
By Carol McLeod
About 100 people, some from as far away as Kentucky, came to Louisville Saturday, Oct. 24, to watch and participate in a ceremony marking the graves in the city’s Revolutionary War Cemetery.
Richard Noegel, Registrar of the William Few Chapter, Georgia Society, Sons of the American Revolution, was the master of ceremonies and coordinated the event.
Noegel is a descendant of Capt. Roger Lawson who is buried at the cemetery and whose grave was one of those marked during the ceremony.
His sister, Julie Noegel Hardaway, Regent of the Peter Foree Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution in LaGrange, Ky., was also on hand.
Noegel said several of the men buried in the cemetery are important figures in the American Revolution. Georgia’s first senior senator, Gen. James Gunn, and Georgia’s first junior senator, William Few, are both buried there.
“Georgia’s two seats in the senate chamber are still called the Gunn Seat and the Few Seat to this day,” he said.
On hand were other members of the SAR as well as members of the DAR, Children of the American Revolution and Sons of Confederate Veterans.
An important function of the SAR is to locate, mark and maintain graves of anyone who supported the American Revolution, Noegel said.
He was unable to find Lawson’s grave in the graves registry, he said. Other graves in the cemetery that should have been on the registry were also absent, he said.
The ceremony Saturday was held to correct those oversights.
“The city has been very supportive and so has the Jefferson County Historical Society. We are very grateful to the city of Louisville and the Jefferson County Historical Society for all their support,” Noegel said.
Attendees parked in the lot between West Broad Street and 7th Street and were shuttled to the cemetery in golf cars.
Louisville City Administrator Don Rhodes said he thought the ceremony went well.
“I had a lot of very positive comments,” he said. “Everyone said it was a very good ceremony.”
Rhodes said the event could not have been possible without the support of many people who volunteered their time.
“I think the volunteer firefighters from the Louisville Fire Department did an excellent job transporting people from the parking area to the cemetery and back again when the ceremony was over,” Rhodes said. “Chief Lamar Baxley and his people did an outstanding job.”
Rhodes said Mitchell McGraw of Davis McGraw in Louisville donated the use of several golf cars for the firefighters to use to transport the people who attended.
“We couldn’t have done it without him or without all the other volunteers,” he said.
“I’d like to thank everyone who helped make this event the success it was – the county for use of the transit buses. We had four of those. The Jefferson County Chamber of Commerce, city workers and all of the other people who volunteered for this ceremony. They did a great job,” Rhodes said.
During the ceremony, Louisville Mayor Rita Culvern read a proclamation from Gov. Sonny Perdue.
“It was an honor to read the governor’s proclamation. I thought it was a fantastic opportunity for Louisville to have that kind of venue in our historical cemetery.
“Had I known that the Sons of the American Revolution were going to come dressed out, I would have had every school child there. I think it would have been a real teaching opportunity for our children.
“It was a real eye opener how much we need to promote the history of our cemetery and maybe have some kind of an annual ceremony honoring those Revolutionary War heroes who meant so much to us and to our town.
“Those were real people. Those are real people buried in that cemetery. They walked the ground that we walk every day.
“They fought for the freedom of our country. And it really speaks to how important this little dot on the map was and is to our country.
“I guess it just made history come alive for me in that moment. To stand there under those live oak trees, with the Spanish moss hanging down, it made those people come alive for me. They were not all saints; some of them were almost rogues. But in every way they were heroes,” Culvern said.
Election Day is Nov. 3
By Faye Ellison & Carol McLeod
Election Day is Tuesday, Nov. 3, from 7 a.m. until 7 p.m.
No elections will be held for county commissioners or school board members in Jefferson County. No elections will be held in either Louisville, Wrens or Avera.
Louisville Mayor Rita Culvern announced several months ago that she would not seek re-election. City Councilman Larry Morgan is the only person who qualified for that seat.
The council seats available in Louisville are those currently held by Morgan, Robert Dixon and Phil Polhill.
The three people who have qualified to run for the council seats are Dixon, Polhill and Matt Hodges.
As there is no opposition, there will be no election for these seats.
In Avera, Mayor Tommy Sheppard is the only candidate for that position.
Council members Ronnie Hadden and Mary Mahoney qualified.
Councilman Lanier Padgett did not.
Ricky Norton was the only other person to qualify. As there is no opposition in this race, there will be no election in Avera either.
In Wrens, three council seats will expire Dec. 31. those are held by Willie Huntley, Erskine Lane and Tomasenia Jackson. Huntley and Lane qualified but Jackson did not. The only other person to qualify was Jack Templeton.
In Bartow, the mayor’s seat and all five city council seats are available.
Mayor John Albert Mancin III qualified for city council, as did Sally Smith Brooks, Fred C. Evans Jr., James Jackson Jr., Josh Z. McClain, Billy Neal, Lee Edward Shellman Jr., Ernest C. “Ken” Smith III and Catherine Swint.
Councilman Hubert F. Jordan Jr. and Robert Dwayne Morris qualified for mayor. Council member Paula Stickle is not running for re-election.
In Stapleton, the mayor’s seat and two council members’ seats are available.
Mayor Harold Smith, Paul Rathburn, June Rooks and Jack E. Wood qualified to run for mayor.
Councilman Jason Irby and William P. Beckworth qualified for the two city council seats. As Councilwoman Kay Leigh Sheppard is not running for re-election and there are only two candidates for the two seats, voters will need to vote only for mayor in that election.
In Wadley, the positions available are for mayor and three council members.
Mayor Herman Baker is the only person who qualified for that seat.
Council members Randall Jones, John Maye and Elizabeth Moore have each qualified for council seats as have Izell Mack and Dorothy Strowbridge.
Wadley officials have announced a change in the voting location. Voters in that election should go to the city’s community center.
Current terms for those seats in the election expire Dec. 31.
The last day a person could have registered to vote in these elections was Monday, Oct. 5.
The city of Edgehill will not hold an election on Nov. 3. All candidates who qualified to appear on the municipal general election ballot are unopposed; therefore, no election will need to be held.
Those who are qualified are W. Durham Milburn for mayor, Dewey Belcher for council member and Gary Kitchens for council member.
The candidates will serve for four years beginning Jan. 1, 2010, and ending Dec. 31, 2013.
The town of Mitchell will not hold an election on Nov. 3. All candidates who qualified to appear on the municipal general election ballot are unopposed; therefore no election will need to be held.
Those who qualified are Scott V. Lamb for mayor, W.A. Raley Sr. for council member and Lewis Berry for council member.
The candidates will serve for four years beginning Jan. 1, 2010 and ending Dec. 31, 2013.
The city of Gibson will hold an election Nov. 3 at Gibson City Hall from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. for two council member seats.
Those who qualified are Chester Chalker, Carol S. Markins and Stanley Phillips.
The two candidates for council member receiving the highest number of votes will be elected to a four-year term.
Glascock County will hold an election on Nov. 3 at all precincts, including Gibson, Mitchell, Mill and Edgehill, from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. for the Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax. Advance voting for this item on the ballot will close at 5 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 30, at the Glascock County Registrar’s Office.
The SPLOST, which is a 1 cent sales tax, if passed would begin next year for the next five years to help raise additional funds, not to exceed $1.5 million, for county projects.
The monies would fund county projects in the form of building a new facility to house the sheriff’s office and other public safety offices, tax commissioner and tax assessor’s offices as the public safety and tax administrative building; repairs, improvements, enhancements and construction of new and existing county facilities and land required therefore; improvements, enhancements and repairs to recreational facilities; improvements, enhancements and repairs to roads, bridges and culverts; purchase of capitol equipment such as vehicles for the sheriff’s office, equipment for road department, garbage trucks, ambulances, fire department equipment, recreational department equipment; improvements, enhancements and repairs to the City of Gibson sewer and water system; improvements, enhancements and repairs to the City of Mitchell water system; and improvements, enhancements an repairs to the City of Edgehill water system.
Arrests made in Glascock thefts
By Faye Ellison
Three Glascock County residents face felony charges, after the Glascock County Sheriff’s Office arrested them in recent weeks involving area thefts and drugs. Glascock County Sheriff Dean Couch said he believes they were involved in several area burglaries and thefts.
On Oct. 4, a Glascock County man reported his Briggs and Stratton engine gas generator was taken from his back porch. The generator had been stolen between sometime early that Sunday morning and the afternoon. The Sheriff’s Office said the generator was recovered.
Later that day, a Gibson woman reported her two American bulldog puppies were taken from her residence without permission within 30 minutes after they were last seen. The dogs were later recovered and returned to their owner by the Sheriff’s Office after they had been sold together for $60. The reported value of the pups was $500 for each one.
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Later on Oct. 4 around 9:30 p.m., Serena Davis and Wayne Neal, both of Glascock County, were stopped on Beall Springs Road at Church Street in a 2000 red Chevrolet Cavalier. Both were placed under arrest due to active warrants for theft by taking and criminal trespass in the case of the missing animals and generator theft.
The reporting officer found six pills in Davis’ purse in an unmarked pill bottle along with several other over the counter medications. There were also three broken brown pills that were unable to be identified. All pills in the bottle, as well as the broken brown pills, were sent to the Georgia Bureau of Investigations crime lab for identification.
Also in the back seat of the vehicle were two two-way radios, which were reported stolen by Neal from an area Wal-Mart.
Both Neal and Davis were charged with two counts of theft by taking and criminal trespass, while Davis was also charged with possession of a schedule IV drug.
Shortly after Neal’s and Davis’ arrests, the Glascock County Sheriff’s Officer executed a search warrant for Neal’s residence on Steephollow Road.
At the residence were Bridget Nichole Syms of Augusta and her 2-year-old son in the living room watching television. Though no other stolen items were located during the search, the reporting officer said he did discover a prescription bottle in the drawer of the coffee table in the living room containing a white substance that field tested positive for methamphetamine. Also on the same coffee table was Neal’s cell phone.
Under the television in the living room, officers found a Xanax pill, which is used to treat severe anxiety attacks and panic attacks. Neal confirmed to officers that the pill was indeed Xanax.
The methamphetamine and Xanax were both sent to the GBI crime lab. Search warrants were also executed on Neal’s and Davis’ cell phones and the phones’ contents, because they were believed to be used in several thefts.
Syms was charged with possession of methamphetamine and possession of schedule IV drugs.
The father of Syms’ 2-year-old son was contacted to retrieve the child from the Steephollow Road residence. All three, Neal, Davis and Syms, were transported to the McDuffie County jail. As of last Thursday, only Davis had bonded out of jail.
Sheriff Couch said he is thankful for the support he has received in residents reporting suspected criminal activity in the county to help curb drugs and thefts.
“We want to ask people to continue to watch out for suspicious activity,” Couch explained. “Contact us if there are people they don’t recognize or are not familiar with. We will continue to check out any complaints.”