Originally created 07/24/02

Suspect will stay in Georgia



Aaron LeBlanc has changed his mind about fighting extradition to North Carolina, but now he can't leave Georgia until authorities say it's time to go.

Hours after arriving in Columbia County on July 16, Mr. LeBlanc told a judge he did not want to be returned to Gaston County, N.C., prompting officials in North Carolina and Georgia to begin drawing up the warrants needed for an extradition hearing.

A day later, Mr. LeBlanc changed his mind, District Attorney Danny Craig said Tuesday. The extradition hearing will take place regardless of Mr. LeBlanc's change of heart, Mr. Craig said.

"We'd look rather foolish if we would have relied on the word of an (accused) rapist," Mr. Craig said. "Credibility is the issue, and he has none."

Mr. LeBlanc faces rape charges in Gaston County, where he was arrested in March - a month after being acquitted in three Richmond County rape cases.

Mr. Craig is waiting for both states to draw up and deliver their warrants. The North Carolina warrant was sent by overnight mail Monday, he said.

"I expect it arrived this morning," Mr. Craig said Tuesday. "But I don't know when the governor's office in Atlanta is going to give me the order I need to proceed."

Mr. LeBlanc was taken to Columbia County after a Gaston County Judge ruled that Mr. LeBlanc was not allowed the proper extradition process when he was previously sent to North Carolina.

Reach Louie Villalobos at (706) 868-1222, Ext. 109, or ccchron@augustachronicle.com.