Across Georgia

Pilot killed, 3 injured in small plane crash


LAWRENCEVILLE, GA. --- Investigators say one is dead and three suffered burns after a small plane crashed in Gwinnett County on Monday.

Gwinnett County Fire Captain Tommy Rutledge confirmed that the pilot of the Beech 65 twin-engine died in the wreck, which happened around Simmons Circle and Spring Circle in Lawrenceville.

Rutledge said three more passengers suffered non life-threatening burn injuries and were transported to Gwinnett Medical Center.

Federal Aviation Administration records show the plane was manufactured in 1960 and was registered to a Robert Peter Watson Sr., of Dawsonville, Ga.

Firefighters responded to the crash shortly after 5 p.m. to find the plane engulfed in flames with the pilot still inside, Rutledge said.

The passengers had managed to get out, he said.

Rutledge did not immediately identify the deceased, pending notification of family members.

"We believe the plane may have impacted a tree," Rutledge said, adding officials are still investigating the cause of the wreck.

2 shot, suspect killed in domestic dispute

STONE MOUNTAIN, Ga. - One woman is in critical condition and a DeKalb County police officer is recovering from a gunshot wound to the leg Monday after a domestic dispute that ended when police killed a suspect.

DeKalb police spokesman Officer Jason Gagnon could not identify the female victim late Monday but he says she was taken to Grady Memorial Hospital in critical condition.

An unidentified police sergeant was taken to Grady in serious but stable condition.

Gagnon says police responded to an apartment complex off North Hairston Road at around 7:15 p.m. for a domestic dispute call. Upon arrival, he says officers heard gunshots and moments later, a man came out firing at officers.

Police shot the man, who died. Gagnon says a male infant also in the apartment was uninjured.

$2.4 million goes to humanities at Emory

ATLANTA --- Emory University has received $2.4 million to support the reassessment, reconfiguration and strengthening of the humanities across the university.

The money comes from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Claire Sterk, the senior vice provost for academic affairs, says the effort will focus on the recruitment of junior and mid-career faculty across the humanities.

These new faculty will form the core of a "Society of Fellows" who will work to help guide how humanities departments and faculty can export principles of humanistic inquiry across the university.

Officials say they will focus on strengthening school focus on topics such as digital scholarship, mind/brain neuroscience and humanities in the age of the human genome.

Execution date set for Newton County murderer

ATLANTA - A Georgia death row inmate who was convicted of killing his former girlfriend and another woman in a 1986 robbery at the Newton County grocery store where they worked is set to be executed this month.

Corrections official will execute Melbert Ray Ford on Feb. 23. The execution is scheduled to take place at 7 p.m. at Georgia Diagnostic and Classification Prison, in Jackson.

Ford was convicted for the deaths of Martha Matich and Lisa Chapman. A three-judge panel of the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals denied an appeal in October 2008.

If executed, Ford will be the 24th inmate put to death by lethal injection in Georgia.

Case against escapee pending 2 years later

ATHENS, Ga. - The case against an Augusta correctional facility escapee who was charged with attacking a female jogger on a popular park has not gone to trial two years after the attack.

Gary Gaylord Ford hasn't been to Clarke County Superior Court since he pleaded not guilty to an eight-county indictment in April 2008.

Athens Police Lt. David Leedahl says it's not uncommon for a case to go a few years before trial and that prosecutors may be waiting on more lab results.

Authorities say the 39-year-old escaped from the Augusta Transitional Center in February 2008 and fled to Athens, where he attacked the 21-year-old jogger. They say he also robbed a convenience store owner of $500.

He is being held without bond as prosecutors build their case.