Men given 5 years in conspiracy case
GAINESVILLE, GA. — A federal judge in Gainesville has sentenced two men who pleaded guilty in a plot targeting government officials and U.S. cities to five years each in prison.
U.S. District Judge Richard Story announced the sentence Wednesday after a hearing in which 73-year-old Frederick Thomas and 67-year-old Dan Roberts addressed the court and apologized. It was the maximum sentence allowed under the plea deal.
The two pleaded guilty in April to conspiring to get an unregistered explosive and an illegal gun silencer.
They were among four men arrested in November after surveillance by an undercover informant who infiltrated their meetings at homes, during car rides and a Waffle House restaurant.
Co-defendants Ray Adams and Samuel Crump are charged with conspiring and attempting to make ricin and are moving toward trial.
Paper at UGA loses 2nd board member
ATHENS, GA. — Another member of the board that oversees The Red & Black, the student newspaper at the University of Georgia, has stepped down and is calling for a third board member to resign.
Charles Russell of Atlanta resigned and said in a statement that he can’t be part of what the board is about to do, though he didn’t say what that is.
The top two editors at the paper have been reinstated after walking out along with other student journalists amid a dispute over editorial control. Board member Ed Stamper resigned Friday.
Russell also called for Kent Middleton, chair of the UGA’s journalism department, to resign from the newspaper’s board because of a conflict of interest. The paper operates independently from the university.
Middleton could not immediately be reached Wednesday.
Dealer who killed child seeks release
COLUMBIA — A convicted drug dealer accused of answering a Halloween door knock by spraying bullets, killing a 12-year-old trick-or-treater, has asked a federal judge to reduce his prison sentence.
In federal court documents filed earlier this month, Quentin Lamar Patrick, 26, said that his attorneys should have challenged his classification as an armed career criminal, which he received because of convictions on three crack-cocaine distribution charges.
But because none of those drug charges carry sentences of 10 years or more, and because merely having a weapon itself isn’t a violent offense, Patrick said he shouldn’t have been classified as an armed career criminal.
Patrick prepared the documents, which are dated Aug. 14.
With the three prior crack cocaine distribution convictions, Patrick was not allowed to have the AK-47 or 9 mm handgun that were found in his home. Patrick pleaded guilty to a federal weapons charge in 2009 and was sentenced to more than 16 years. A state murder charge is still pending while Patrick serves his federal sentence in a medium-security prison in Florida.
SC still can’t track deadbeats online
COLUMBIA — South Carolina still lacks a system for tracking deadbeat dads and moms online, nearly a quarter-century after federal law required it.
South Carolina has long been the only state that has not complied with a 1988 law requiring a centralized computer system to enforce child support payments. The state has been paying fines since missing the government’s 1997 deadline.
The system is expected to cost state taxpayers $116 million by the time it’s in place next summer. But lawmakers say they’ve heard promised start dates before.
The latest contract dispute, with Hewlett Packard, was resolved this year. The Department of Social Services says the state’s total bill for penalties will be $66 million. The state’s share of the project’s $151 million cost is $50 million.
In other news
A MOTHER ACCUSED of abandoning her newborn infant in a toilet has been indicted on charges of unlawful conduct toward a child and infliction of great bodily injury to a child. Jessica Blackham, 25, was arrested in February 2011 after two workers at the Bi-Lo Center in Greenville found a newborn baby boy up to his neck in toilet water and called 911.