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Ga. man convicted of sex trafficking

ATLANTA — A federal jury has convicted a Stone Mountain man for operating a sex trafficking ring in the metro Atlanta area.

The 38-year-old Soloman Manasseh Mustafa was found guilty Thursday on sex trafficking, kidnapping and enticement of a minor charges.

Prosecutors say Mustafa and 25-year-old Kalandra Annette Wallace of Jonesboro used Web sites like Craigslist and Backpage to recruit young women to force them into prostitution. They were indicted by a grand jury in May 2011.

Wallace pleaded guilty last year and testified against Mustafa.

Prosecutors say Mustafa and Wallace operated a sex trafficking ring in metro Atlanta and sometimes transported young women to Alabama or North Carolina to engage in sex acts.

The sentencing for Mustafa has been set for Sept. 19 at 10 a.m.

Defendant admits he killed officers

ATHENS, GA. — A man has admitted to gunning down a police officer in Athens last year.

Jamie Hood said Wednesday in Clarke County Superior Court that he killed senior police officer Elmer “Buddy” Christian III.

Hood is charged with the March 2011 shootings of officers Christian and Tony Howard. Christian was killed and Howard was seriously wounded.

Hood faces the death penalty on charges he murdered Christian, attempted to murder Howard and killed another man in December 2010.

During the hearing, Hood was removed from the courtroom by Superior Court Judge David Sweat after the defendant had a few outbursts. Hood complained about his legal representation.

Hood was taken to another room in the courthouse where he listened to the hearing over an audio monitor.

SCLC affiliates sue national leaders

ATLANTA — A group of leaders of local affiliates of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference is suing the national organization and says Isaac Newton Farris Jr. is its current and lawful president of the organization.

The group filed a civil complaint seeking an emergency hearing on the matter on Tuesday and is calling for a judge to stop the civil rights group’s annual meeting scheduled for Thursday.

C.T. Vivian, a longtime civil rights activist who worked alongside the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., is the group’s interim president. Farris says he was unfairly forced out earlier this year.

A spokesman for the SCLC says the organization has no comment on the lawsuit, but added that none of the plaintiffs are “bona fide members” of the group.

The SCLC was co-founded by King in 1957 to fight racial injustice. The organization has been plagued for decades by infighting.

GOP disqualifies primary winner

COLUMBIA — South Carolina Republican Party officials are supporting their chairman’s decision to disqualify a primary winner who couldn’t produce his filing paperwork.

Their backing leaves Rep. B.R. Skelton on November’s ballot for the Pickens County seat.

The incumbent lost to challenger Ed Harris by 73 votes in the June 12 primary. Skelton then challenged Harris’ candidacy to the state GOP executive committee, saying he didn’t properly file the necessary forms. The committee rejected the complaint June 21.

But after Skelton appealed to the state Supreme Court, GOP Chairman Chad Connelly disqualified Harris as the party nominee, saying they couldn’t go before the justices without the paperwork.

SC Senate votes to override veotes

COLUMBIA — The South Carolina Senate has voted to override several of Gov. Nikki Haley’s vetoes, following similar action by the state House on Tuesday.

Senators restored money supporting 15 rape crisis centers, to help school districts pay for mandated teacher salary increases and to fund the state Arts Commission and Sea Grant Consortium.

The Senate also voted to use $10 million from a national mortgage settlement to close economic development deals. The House has not taken up that issue.

Businesses support veterans’ trip

COLUMBIA — Two South Carolina insurance firms pledged up to $50,000 on Wednesday to support a November flight taking 100 World War II veterans to view the memorial built in their honor in Washington, D.C., officials said.

The firms known as PGBA and InStil Health said they are jointly backing the Nov. 7 flight from Columbia.

The flight comes four days before Veterans Day and will include about 60 volunteer assistants to help the elderly military veterans visit the World War II memorial on the National Mall, backers said.

PGBA and InStil work with military veterans through TRICARE, the U.S. military’s health care program for active-duty and retired service members and their families.

In other news

POACHERS RAIDED endangered loggerhead sea turtle nests on Folly Beach, taking hundreds of eggs. The Department of Natural Resources says the thefts happened last month on the island southwest of Charleston. Shannon Teders, a biologist and co-leader of the Folly Turtle Watch Program, said more than 100 eggs were taken from a nest on the island early in June. Then a second nest was poached and 105 eggs were taken. The maximum federal fine for interfering with endangered species is $25,000. Folly Beach has 58 turtle nests remaining.


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