Crane buckles as it moves Macy’s tree
ATLANTA — The Macy’s Great Tree, which ushers in the Christmas season atop the Lenox Square mall in Atlanta, was hanging precariously from its perch after a huge crane broke while removing the tree.
The crane apparently buckled, leaving the tree dangling over the three-story glass facade along the north side of the Macy’s store Wednesday.
Authorities said pieces of the tree and at least one of the large ornaments fell onto an awning below.
No injuries were reported.
It wasn’t the first mishap involving Macy’s trees in Atlanta. In 2011, the trunk of a 60-foot pine tree cracked before it could be hoisted to the top of the store and a backup tree had to be cut down and delivered.
3 Florida siblings appeal convictions
ATLANTA — Three Florida siblings involved in a cross-country crime spree are appealing their convictions in the robbery of a south Georgia bank.
Ryan Dougherty, Lee Grace Dougherty and Dylan Dougherty Stanley last month pleaded guilty before a federal judge in Valdosta. Each was sentenced to 35 years, 8 months. Their spree began in Florida and ended in a shootout in Colorado.
All three have filed notice to appeal their convictions to the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
A lawyer for Stanley declined to comment Wednesday. Lawyers for the other two didn’t immediately return messages.
The three have pleaded guilty to Colorado charges stemming from their capture in August 2011. They still face charges in Florida, where they are accused of shooting at an officer during a high-speed chase.
Suicide considered in official’s death
SAVANNAH, GA. — Police records show that a holster and unfired bullets belonging to a Glynn County commission member were found in his car near a boat dock where the 52-year-old official was found dead.
The report released by Glynn County police also says two empty prescription bottles were found in Tom Sublett’s car. His body was found Dec. 11 on St. Simons Island. Police Chief Matt Doering said Wednesday police are still investigating Sublett’s death as a homicide, but says suicide has not been ruled out.
An autopsy determined Sublett was shot in the head, but drowned. His body was found floating beside a docked boat.
The police report also says police found five zip-tie straps at the scene. Their possible significance was not revealed.
Celebratory shot hits police cruiser
ALBANY, GA. — Police in Albany say an unoccupied cruiser was struck by a falling bullet that was likely fired by a New Year’s reveler.
WALB-TV reports the first of 21 calls for shots fired during the New Year’s celebration involved a falling bullet that landed on the windshield of a police car at 12:07 a.m. Tuesday.
Authorities say the falling bullet damaged the windshield, but the officer was not injured.
Police say they urged residents to refrain from taking part in celebratory gunfire – which is the act of pointing a gun skyward and firing shots into the air.
Zoo Atlanta giraffe dies unexpectedly
ATLANTA — An adult female giraffe died unexpectedly at Atlanta’s zoo.
Zoo Atlanta says 7-year-old Mona died Wednesday and the cause of her death is unclear.
The giraffes weren’t on exhibit Wednesday because of wet conditions in their yard after heavy rains. Mona was in an outdoor corral behind the scenes when she collapsed.
A necropsy has been scheduled for today.
Father kills son, 8, while cleaning gun
BENNETTSVILLE, S.C. — The father of an 8-year-old boy shot and killed while he visited a home in Bennettsville is facing charges in connection with his son’s death.
State Law Enforcement Division agents arrested 30-year-old Justin Brueger on Wednesday and charged him with unlawful conduct toward a child.
Investigators say Brueger was cleaning a rifle Sunday night when it fired, hitting his son Easton in the stomach. The boy died a short time later in the hospital. On Monday, a 64-year-old man shot himself while cleaning his guns in his Ravenel home.
Authorities say Robert Horning was found face down in his room on Monday with a gunshot to his forehead. He died Tuesday.
Georgia archives’ transfer in works
ATLANTA — A group of academics, historians and librarians soon will put together plans for transferring the Georgia State Archives from the secretary of state’s office to the state’s public university system.
University System Chancellor Hank Huckaby on Wednesday announced that Clayton State University President Tim Hynes will serve as the panel’s chairman. The group is expected to meet this month.
The transfer is part of a long-term agreement reached by Gov. Nathan Deal and Secretary of State Brian Kemp to keep the research and records facilities open.
Kemp this fall announced layoffs and plans to limit access to appointments, rather than offer constant business hours. He blamed the move on budget cuts ordered by the governor.
The transfer to the university system still requires approval by the General Assembly. Lawmakers convene Jan. 14.
1 dies after brawl at ex-wife’s house
DARLINGTON, S.C. — Darl-ington County deputies are investigating the death of a man after he and several other people got in a fight with his ex-wife and a half-dozen of her relatives.
Authorities said 41-year-old David Tidwell died at a Columbia hospital after Saturday’s brawl.
Sheriff Wayne Byrd says Tidwell took a half-dozen people with him and as many as six men might have joined Tidwell’s ex-wife in the fight.
The sheriff says his deputies are trying to figure out why Tidwell came to his ex-wife’s house with so many other people and what started the brawl. No charges have been filed.
Tidwell’s body has been sent for an autopsy to determine how he died.
Man leads police to girlfriend’s body
COLUMBIA — Investigators say a man called Richland County deputies after stabbing his girlfriend to death, putting her body into a plastic container and taking her to the parking lot of a McDonald’s restaurant in Columbia.
Authorities said 25-year-old Faafiu Toese called police around 3 a.m. Wednesday and told officers to look in the back seat of his 2000 Mitsubishi Montero sport utility vehicle, where the body was in the plastic container.
Deputies say the stabbing took place during an argument at the couple’s apartment.
Authorities say Toese is charged with murder. He is being held at the Richland County jail.
Haley’s husband’s deployment is set
COLUMBIA — Gov. Nikki Haley’s husband, Michael, is deploying to Afghanistan with a South Carolina Army National Guard unit.
Guard spokeswoman Maj. Cindi King said Wednesday that Michael Haley departs Jan. 10 for a year.
Haley’s unit is the third South Carolina Army National Guard group to work with Afghan farmers to improve their farming practices.
Haley joined the guard as an officer in 2006, and has never been deployed overseas.
He has served as a medical service corps officer and as a planning officer in the Guard’s Columbia headquarters.
Haley’s plans to deploy were announced in July, but it wasn’t stated then exactly when the deployment would occur. At the time, a guard spokesman said Haley’s background as a businessman would be a help to the team.