Originally created 04/13/02

Across Georgia



Judge agrees to hear Virgin Mary lawsuit

CONYERS -A judge has refused to dismiss a lawsuit by a woman seeking to gain control of $3 million in assets from donations by people who flocked to hear of her Virgin Mary visions in the 1990s.

Nancy Fowler filed the suit in 1999 against Our Loving Mother's Children, a nonprofit group she helped form to collect from the thousands who came to Ms. Fowler's Rockdale County farm to hear messages she said she received.

Superior Court Judge Sidney Nation agreed to consider the evidence and hear more arguments next month, but he indicated he is skeptical about the case.

"I wish I could have a vision so I wouldn't have this mess in my courtroom," Judge Nation said.

Man gets life term in toddler's slaying

CARTERSVILLE -A 39-year-old Cartersville man has been sentenced to life in prison after a Bartow County Superior Court jury convicted him in the slaying of his girlfriend's 2-year-old son.

Michael L. Foster was found guilty of beating to death Cameron Jacob Bryan, whom he was baby-sitting Sept. 11.

Mr. Foster told authorities the toddler had been jumping on a bed and fell off, but Bartow County Sheriff Clark Millsap said an examination of the child showed he had three skull fractures and likely was strangled.

Jury clears officer in November shooting

MACON -A Bibb County coroner's jury has ruled that Macon Police Officer Steven Wesson was justified when he shot and killed a gun-wielding man in November.

After more than five hours of testimony, the five-member jury took just 10 minutes to reach its decision in the shooting of Justin Strange, 21.

Mr. Strange was shot Nov. 16 after stealing a gun, firing it at random and pointing it at himself and police during a chase by officers.

Man given 10 years for speeding death

GAINESVILLE -A 41-year-old Gainesville man was sentenced to 10 years in prison for causing an accident that killed a 22-year-old woman in May 2000.

Patrick Putman was convicted of homicide by vehicle in the first degree.

Mr. Putman was driving about 80 mph when he lost control of his car while rounding a curve, striking another car that was waiting to pull out of a driveway May 23, 2000, according to trial testimony. The driver, Jody Bejin, was killed. Her fiance and 2-year-old son were in the car but were not seriously injured.