Across Georgia

Officers arrest suspect in Peach Drop killing

ATLANTA --- A 36-year-old has been charged in the killing of a 14-year-old boy who went out for a New Year's celebration and was knifed to death at a downtown Atlanta train station.

MARTA Police Chief Wanda Dunham said Monday that Tommy Christopher Collins was arrested and charged with murder, two counts of aggravated assault and weapons charges in the killing of Rueben Hand.

Rueben was killed early Saturday as he was heading home with friends after attending the New Year's Eve Peach Drop at Underground Atlanta. The event attracted more than 100,000 people.

Rueben's mother, Deunya Taylor, said that her son was stabbed to death by a man who had accused the boy of stealing a cell phone.

Taylor said Collins' arrest "brings peace to me."

Judge defends court after trooper's death

ATLANTA --- Fulton County's top judge said Monday that a criminal court was just following the law when it released a repeat offender who weeks later was charged with gunning down a Georgia state trooper.

Superior Court Chief Judge Cynthia Wright wrote a letter, released Monday, firing back at Atlanta leaders who blamed a "crisis" in the courts for the suspect's release.

Wright argues that court officials were forced by law to release Gregory Favors on Dec. 13, three days after he was arrested on drug and auto theft charges, because there was no warrant or testimony from an arresting officer at his court hearing.

Favors' release "was not the result of judicial whim or an adherence to some arbitrary self-imposed rule," Wright wrote. "Rather, he was released because the judges and courts of this community have a duty to uphold the rule of law and comply with its requirements."

Favors was charged in the Dec. 27 death of Georgia State Patrol Trooper Chadwick LeCroy, who was fatally shot in the neck during a traffic stop.

The discovery that Favors had been arrested 19 times before enraged city leaders.

Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed and others blamed the court's Non-Complex Division for LeCroy's shooting death in a letter last week, calling for it to be immediately suspended so the Georgia Supreme Court can review the process.