Agency loses suit in document fight
ATLANTA — The state Department of Corrections has agreed to give the Southern Center for Human Rights 1,000 pages of documents after the group sued during its probe into a northwest Georgia prison.
The Department of Corrections initially told the organization it would have to pay more than $250,000 in advance for records on inmate deaths, security audits and broken locks at Hays State Prison in Trion.
The lawsuit has been dismissed. Along with providing the documents, the Georgia Department of Corrections has agreed to pay the organization’s legal fees.
Sara Geraghty, an attorney for the organization, says the cost of the documents was deducted from the group’s legal expenses and the state sent the organization a check for $9,000.
Grandson, girlfriend kill man, then shop
MARIETTA, GA. — Authorities say the grandson of a 78-year-old man helped to kill him, stole his wallet and then used his truck – with the body still inside – to drive around metro Atlanta on a shopping spree with his girlfriend.
Edward Smith of Lilburn was reported missing Sunday. His body was found Tuesday night on a road in Mableton.
Smith’s grandson, Casey Ryan Collins, 30, and Sarah Elizabeth Cook, 23, both face charges of felony murder.
“Cook stabbed Smith twice in the chest with a knife while Collins used a belt to choke Smith,” according to arrest warrants. “After Smith was dead, Collins removed Smith’s wallet from Smith’s pocket.”
“This is a nightmare. It’s a complete nightmare,” said Smith’s daughter, Lisa Stitley. “I can’t even begin to imagine. I keep thinking I’m going to wake up.”
Atlanta leader is facing DUI charge
ATLANTA — An Atlanta city councilwoman is facing charges including drunken driving after a traffic stop Tuesday.
A police officer stopped Winslow in southwest Atlanta about 11:15 p.m. Tuesday. In a police report, an officer says he saw a Honda Accord run a stop sign and a red light, and that it was weaving and traveling on the wrong side of the road.
After being pulled over, Winslow could not figure out how to open the car door, the officer wrote in his report. Winslow told the officer she had two dirty martinis at a bar before getting behind the wheel, according to the police report.
Winslow refused a field sobriety test, police said. She was charged with DUI Alcohol Less Safe, driving on the wrong side of the road, failure to stop for a stop sign, reckless driving and a red light violation.
“It’s not illegal to drink and drive in Georgia,” said Jackie Patterson, one of Winslow’s lawyers. “It is only illegal to drive impaired. We are asserting she was not an impaired driver.”
Barnwell man gets life for drugs, guns
COLUMBIA — A Barnwell man found with cocaine, guns and hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash at his home has been sentenced to life in prison.
U.S. Attorney Bill Nettles said Thursday that 32-year-old Terrance Lamar Wiggins was sentenced after a jury found him guilty of conspiracy to distribute cocaine, possession of a firearm in furtherance of drug trafficking, and being a felon in possession of a firearm.
Wiggins was arrested last year after several years of investigation. Officers said he had distributed hundreds of kilograms of cocaine in and around Barnwell since 2005.
Haley signs bill on movie tax breaks
COLUMBIA — Gov. Nikki Haley has signed a bill that supporters say could expand the film industry in South Carolina.
The new law would allow film companies to be reimbursed up to 25 percent for payroll taxes on in-state wages and up to 30 percent for what they spend at local businesses. Productions would qualify for the breaks by spending at least $1 million in the state.
Similar breaks had been approved yearly as part of the budget, but the new law makes the incentives permanent.
Haley says she signed the bill reluctantly. She says she would prefer film incentives compete with other breaks each year and the money be specifically set aside for each program.
Supporters of the bill say the incentives help keep South Carolina competitive with other states.