Across Georgia

Judge dismisses last libel claim by Jewell


ATLANTA --- A judge has dismissed the final claim in a libel suit against The Atlanta Journal-Constitution filed by Richard Jewell, a former security guard who was wrongly linked to the 1996 Olympic bombing.

State Court Judge John R. Mather dismissed the final claim Tuesday, said Peter Canfield, an attorney for the newspaper. The judge had dismissed all but one of 22 claims last year.

"We are pleased by the judge's ruling," publisher John Mellott said, "which affirms what we always knew -- that our reporting of the Centennial Olympic bombing investigation was fair, responsible and accurate."

Mr. Jewell, 44, died of heart disease in August at his home in west Georgia.

Firefighter's drug use kept quiet, paper says

COLUMBUS --- A firefighter who is the son of a city council member tested positive for cocaine after wrecking an emergency truck in 2006 but faced no criminal charges and was allowed to resign, The Columbus Ledger-Enquirer reported.

In a series of stories beginning Sunday, the Columbus newspaper revealed that Zachary Allen, a son of Columbus council member Gary Allen and grandson of former Mayor J.R. Allen, tested positive for cocaine in a mandatory post-accident drug test.

Deputy Chief David Starling told the newspaper that he made the decision to keep the information off an internal investigative report.

Five Georgians get president's pardon

WASHINGTON --- Five Georgians are among the people granted pardons by President Bush.

In all, Mr. Bush pardoned 29 convicts Tuesday.

The Georgia list includes:

Charles Wayne Bryant of Sautee, convicted in 1962 of theft of U.S. mail matter by employee; Daniel Ray Freeman of Douglas, convicted in 1963 of violation of Internal Revenue liquor laws; Melton Harrell of Cairo, convicted in 1976 of theft of government property and receiving stolen government property; Glanus Terrell Osborne of Dallas, convicted in 1990 of possession of a stolen motor vehicle; and Nancy Lynn Thompson of Bainbridge, convicted in 1997 of embezzlement by a bank employee.

Man is killed in fire in Gwinnett County

DORAVILLE --- A man was killed in a fire at a two-story building in Gwinnett County.

The fire, which was burning at a structure behind a house, had fully engulfed the building when firefighters arrived and were told someone was trapped inside.

The man's name was not immediately released.

Investigators said the fire did not appear to be suspicious.

-- Edited from wire reports