Originally created 11/20/02

Across Georgia



Judge stays killer's execution for 48 hours

ATLANTA -A judge put the execution of a man convicted of raping and strangling an Atlanta go-go dancer on hold for two days.

Butts County Superior Court Judge Kevin A. Wangerin stopped the execution by injection of James Willie Brown on Tuesday - the day he was scheduled to die at 7 p.m. Mr. Brown's execution was rescheduled for 7:01 p.m. Thursday.

Judge Wangerin stayed the execution so he could consider Mr. Brown's motion for habeas corpus, a legal concept that allows defendants to challenge the government's right to hold them or the legitimacy of a court to try them. Mr. Brown's attorneys have argued that he is insane and unfit to stand trial for the May 12, 1975, killing of Brenda Sue Watson.

Military school march brought in revenue

COLUMBUS -The protest last weekend at Fort Benning against a U.S. military program that trains Latin American soldiers cost about $180,000, but generated at least $5 million for the region.

The city spent about $130,000 to provide police and other services during the two-day protest, but the 5,000 demonstrators were expected to generate $5 million in local revenue.

Public safety chief will quit in January

ATLANTA -Georgia's top cop and homeland security coordinator, Robert Hightower, is resigning in early January. The step clears the way for Gov.-elect Sonny Perdue to name his own appointee to the post.

Mr. Hightower was Cobb County's public safety director when he was tapped in 1999 by Gov. Roy Barnes to become the commissioner of the Department of Public Safety. The homeland security position was given to him after the attacks on Washington and New York.

State proposes fining maggoty nursing home

JONESBORO -The state is proposing an $800 a day fine for a Jonesboro nursing home after a state inspector confirmed a 93-year-old woman's ear was infested with maggots.

The state Office of Regulatory Services initially decided that there would be no fine because the inspector found no underlying failures by the home, said David Dunbar, who directs nursing home inspections for the agency.

That decision was reversed after a state ombudsman insisted the home was at fault for failing to control flies.