Across the region

Hometown gives Copeland $19,000


SNELLVILLE, GA. — The Georgia woman recovering from a rare flesh-eating disease is getting a big gift from her hometown of Snellville.

Aimee Copeland’s family has received an estimated $19,000 that was donated by Snellville residents during a fundraiser last month.

Her father, Andy Copeland, said the support from the community is fantastic.

Aimee Copeland was released from Doctors Hospital in Augusta earlier this month after doctors were forced to amputate her leg, foot and both hands because of the infection.

She suffered a deep cut May 1 when she fell from a broken zip-line along the Little Tallapoosa River. Doctors closed the wound but within a few days she contracted the rare infection, called necrotizing fasciitis.

The 24-year-old graduate student is now at a rehabilitation facility.

‘Stocking Strangler’ seeking new trial

COLUMBUS, GA. — The man convicted in one of Georgia’s most infamous cases of murder and sexual assault is seeking another trial 26 years after he was condemned to death.

Carlton M. Gary filed a motion Monday asking for another trial in what’s known as the “Stocking Strangler” slayings in Columbus.

Gary’s 34-page motion contends DNA testing proves his innocence. Gary says DNA found on victim Martha Thurmond wasn’t his.

Defense attorneys previously said a partial DNA profile excluded Gary from the rape of the only person to survive an attack and identify him in court.

A prosecutor declined comment on the motion.

Gary was convicted in 1986 in three of the seven brutal rapes and stranglings that terrorized Columbus in 1977 and 1978.

Pressure washer used on inmate

WARNER ROBINS, GA. — Seven deputies or jail workers have been disciplined after a pressure washer was allegedly used on a prisoner inside a central Georgia lockup.

Houston County Sheriff Cullen Talton said three deputies have been suspended without pay and are being fired. Four jailers were given unpaid suspensions of two or five days.

Talton says jailers used the pressure washer on a prisoner who was wiping human waste on himself and the walls of a padded cell.

Talton says the incident happened June 9, but he didn’t learn about it for a few weeks because the workers kept it quiet.

The sheriff says the inmate wasn’t injured, but deputies and jailers violated rules at the jail in Warner Robins.

Killers’ sentence, conviction upheld

ATLANTA — The Georgia Supreme Court has upheld the convictions and sentence of a man found guilty of slaughtering his family with a bush ax in Columbus in 1985.

Michael Curry had appealed his conviction, saying the case was built on circumstantial evidence that failed to prove his guilt.

The court said in a unanimous decision released Monday that the evidence was enough for the jury to find Curry guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

The decision upholds Curry’s three consecutive life prison sentences.

Curry was convicted in 2011 after cold-case investigators took a fresh look at the killings.

Prosecutors say Curry hacked his pregnant wife Ann to death, and used the bush ax to slay his 4-year-old daughter Erika and 1-year-old son Ryan in Columbus.

Robberies concern Georgia Tech police

ATLANTA — Police at Georgia Tech say they’re adding officers and extending a night-time campus shuttle service after a student reported being robbed by gunmen inside his dorm room.

WSB Radio reports that students at the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta have also received emails advising them to keep their dorm rooms locked.

The student told police he was awakened by two unknown men going through his belongings around 1 a.m. on July 1. They took the student’s laptop and cell phone with them. No injuries were reported.

WSB-TV reports that the robbery, the latest in a string of such crimes on and near the campus, has renewed calls by some students for legislation that would allow students to carry concealed weapons on campus.

Woman dies when ATV runs into train

EFFINGHAM, S.C. — A 32-year-old passenger on an all-terrain vehicle was killed after it crashed into a train.

According to investigators, the ATV’s driver said he was driving on a road near Effingham around 3:45 p.m. Sunday when he approached a crossing with no warning signals and didn’t see the train until it was too late.

The coroner’s office says the ATV driver tried to swerve to miss the train, but the vehicle flipped, ejecting the driver, but putting his wife, Tanya Clemons, in the train’s path. She died at the scene.

Florence County deputies are investigating the incident.

Guard unit about to go to Afghanistan

ROCK HILL, S.C. — A Rock Hill-based National Guard unit is preparing to head to Afghanistan this week.

More than 160 members of the 178th Combat Engineer Battalion leave today to prepare for their overseas deployment.

A departure ceremony was held Sunday at Winthrop Coliseum.

The unit will perform a variety of engineering, construction and road clearing jobs. The battalion commander, Lt. Col. Corol Dobson, said many of the soldiers on this deployment were hand-picked for training and deployment.

Nonprofit gives air conditioners

CHARLESTON, S.C. — Some people battling this summer’s high temperatures are getting free air conditioners, thanks to a South Carolina nonprofit group.

Project Cool Breeze was to hand out 100 free air conditioners Monday at the Lowe’s home improvement store in the West Ashley part of Charleston.

Rep. Wendell Gilliard of Charleston said the group was also planning to distribute another 125 air conditioners on July 21 at Charleston’s Brittle Bank Park.

Project Cool Breeze gives fans or air conditioners to older people who meet certain requirements. Gilliard founded the group.

In other news

A FORMER DOUGLAS County commissioner who’s trying to rejoin the commission is blaming his arrest on politics. But authorities say Freddie Ashmon convinced two county employees to alter his most recent pay stub to make it look like he was earning $10,000 less than his actual salary. They say he was trying to lower his child support payments.