Across Georgia

Elderly woman killed in apartment blaze


VALDOSTA - An elderly woman has died in an apartment fire on the sixth floor of her apartment building.

Valdosta fire officials say the fire started in the 77-year-old woman's room at Ashley House apartments and was extinguished soon after firefighters arrived.

Authorities say no other residents were injured.

Smoke damage has caused other residents on that floor to be temporarily moved to apartments elsewhere in the building. The cause of the fire is under investigation.

Plea deal's property sale could be tough

ROME - As part of his plea deal, former Rome businessman and real estate investor Mario Armas gave up all rights to dozens of properties to pay a $1.1 million fine, but selling those properties might prove to be a lengthy and difficult process, federal officials say.

U.S. Marshal Raymond Kitson told the Rome News-Tribune that multiple claimants on some properties could delay sales, possibly until the end of 2008.

Mr. Armas had been on trial for a week in federal court when he pleaded guilty Wednesday to drug trafficking and money laundering charges. He was accused of conspiring with two men to bring more than a ton of marijuana into the Rome area in 2003 and 2004. He was allegedly the financier.

Minister is named bishop in Nevada

MACON - A Macon minister has been elected bishop of the Episcopalian diocese of Nevada.

Dan Edwards, the rector of St. Francis Episcopalian Church, said he was selected Friday for the church's top job in that state.

"I am overjoyed at the opportunity to join the people in Nevada," he said.

He credited the St. Francis congregation for an energetic community outreach and ministry that he said caught the eye of Episcopal leaders in Nevada.

Man won't be charged for killing intruder

ATHENS - A Comer man who lay in wait for a burglar in an unoccupied house was justified in killing the intruder with a shotgun blast to the chest after the burglar broke in, Northern Circuit District Attorney Bob Lavender has ruled.

Property owner Jerry Hendricks will not face criminal charges in the Sept. 9 shooting death of William Keith Parks, 41, of Colbert, Mr. Lavender said.

"I have determined the shooting was a justifiable homicide," Mr. Lavender said Friday after meeting in Athens with Georgia Bureau of Investigation agents.

Mr. Parks apparently was unarmed when he broke into the house Mr. Hendricks was guarding.