Across Georgia

Hearing postponed for Ga. man charged in attack


JONESBORO, Ga. - A hearing was postponed for a 47-year-old south Georgia man charged with attacking an Army reservist outside a Cracker Barrel in Morrow.

Troy Dale West Jr. of Poulan is charged with aggravated assault, cruelty to children, false imprisonment, battery and disorderly conduct. West was scheduled to appear in court for a pre-trial conference on Monday. Superior Court Judge Geronda V. Carter's office said the hearing has been indefinitely postponed.

Prosecutors say West beat and kicked Tashawnea Hill, an Army reservist, as she was coming out of the Cracker Barrel in Morrow in September.

Police say West became enraged when Hill admonished him after he nearly hit her daughter while opening a door.

Last month, Carter agreed to release West on bond after pleas from his family.

Candidates scramble for votes on eve of election

ATLANTA - Atlantans are just one day away from electing a new mayor, and the candidates in the hotly contested race are rallying voters to cast ballots in Tuesday's runoff election.

City councilwoman Mary Norwood and former state Sen. Kasim Reed have spent a month battling each other in debates and on television ads in hopes of mobilizing their supporters to return to the polls. While Norwood has been focused on her grassroots strategy, Reed took a more flashy approach, with a blitz of endorsements that included the Rev. Joseph Lowery and former mayoral candidate and city council President Lisa Borders.

Early voting showed whites outpacing blacks in a contest expected to focus heavily on race. If elected, Norwood would become the city's first white mayor in a generation.

Memorial service planned for Ga. soldier

FORT BENNING, Ga. - Officials at Fort Benning say a memorial service will be held on Friday at 10 a.m. at the post's Kelley Hill Chapel for Staff Sgt. Briand T. Williams, who was killed last week in Iraq.

The Pentagon reported that the 25-year-old Williams died Nov. 22 in Numaniyah of wounds sustained when insurgents attacked his unit with small arms fire.

He was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 10th Field Artillery Regiment, 3rd Brigade Heavy Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division.

Georgia man faces up to 30 years in prison

WASHINGTON - A 67-year-old Georgia man faces up to 30 years in prison for having sex with his 16-year-old lover at a Virginia hotel as the couple drove through the state.

Mack Gordon Harris Sr. of Social Circle, Ga., pleaded guilty Monday to transporting a minor for illegal sexual activity.

Federal prosecutors say Harris met the Maryland girl in 2005 through an online Christian chat room when she was 15. After she turned 16 - the age of consent in Maryland - he began traveling to visit her and they would have sex.

In December 2005, Harris picked up the girl and was bringing her to live with him in Georgia. They stopped overnight at a Skippers, Va., hotel, where they had sex. In Virginia, the age of consent is 18.

Harris is scheduled to be sentenced Feb. 24.

Family donates $1 million to Atlanta hospital

ATLANTA - The family of developer Herman J. Russell has donated $1 million to Children's Healthcare of Atlanta at Hughes Spalding for hospital expansion.

Russell is the founder of the Atlanta development and construction firm H.J. Russell & Co.

He calls the donation his family's chance to give a lasting gift that will ensure that children are cared for in a proper facility that has a pediatric focus.

Russell's son, Michael, was born at what was then called Hughes Spalding Pavilion. The gift is part of a $4.8 million critical-needs drive by the hospital.