Across Georgia

Ga. execution delayed after suicide attempt
Brandon Joseph Rhode, 31, attempted suicide hours before he was to be put to death for three 1998 slayings.

Death penalty delayed for suicidal inmate

ATLANTA --- The Georgia Supreme Court delayed the execution Tuesday of a man convicted of three 1998 slayings who attempted suicide hours before he was to be put to death.

The court's order postponed the execution of Brandon Joseph Rhode, 31, so his attorneys have a chance to consult with their client and file a new mental competency challenge. Georgia corrections officials have rescheduled the execution for 9 a.m. Friday.

Rhode's attorney Brian Kammer filed an emergency motion arguing that the attempted suicide proves Rhode was "incompetent" and that executing him violates the Constitution's ban on cruel and unusual punishment.

"He's utterly terrified and just hopeless," said Kammer, who said his client tried to slit his wrists and his throat.

Rhode was convicted in 2000 of the killings of Steven Moss, 37, his 11-year-old son Bryan and 15-year-old daughter Kristin during a burglary of their Jones County home. His co-conspirator, Daniel Lucas, was also sentenced to death in a separate trial and is on death row.

Men accuse bishop of bribing them for sex

ATLANTA --- Two men have filed a lawsuit accusing Bishop Eddie Long of exploiting his role as pastor of an Atlanta-area megachurch to coerce them into sexual relationships when they were members of his congregation.

Lawyers for the men, now 20 and 21, say they filed the lawsuit Tuesday in DeKalb County Court.

Craig Gillen, Long's attorney, says the pastor "categorically denies the allegations."

The men, 17 and 18 at them time of the allegations, were members of Long's New Birth Missionary Baptist Church in Lithonia. They say Long abused his spiritual authority to seduce them with cars, money, clothes, jewelry, international trips and access to celebrities.

In other news

A 16-YEAR-OLD who officials said continued to proselytize outside a library after officials warned him to stop has been banned from the Chattahoochee Valley Regional Library System for six months.