Originally created 04/09/03

Across Georgia



Church arsonist is indicted in slaying

HOMER - A man serving a life sentence for a string of church fires was indicted for felony murder Monday in the death of a volunteer firefighter more than four years ago.

Jay Scott Ballinger, of Terre Haute, Ind., is charged with causing the death of 27-year-old Loy Williams at New Salem United Methodist Church in Banks County on New Year's Eve 1998.

Mr. Ballinger, 40, pleaded guilty to setting 26 church fires in eight states. He admitted setting five fires in Georgia.

Officials plan to bury unidentified remains

LAFAYETTE - More than 100 unidentified bodies found at the Tri-State Crematory will be turned over to Walker County officials for burial after investigators were unable to determine their identities.

County Coroner Dewayne Wilson said Monday that officials now will make final plans to bury the remains at Tennessee-Georgia Memorial Park in Rossville.

Crematory operator Ray Brent Marsh is charged with 334 counts of theft for accepting money for cremations not performed.

Soldier killed in Iraq to get U.S. citizenship

WASHINGTON -Immigration officials agreed Tuesday to grant the citizenship request of a Colombia-born soldier killed fighting for the United States in the war with Iraq.

U.S. Sens. Zell Miller and Saxby Chambliss, of Georgia, had asked the Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services to speed up the procedure on behalf of Diego Rincon, of Conyers, whose burial is scheduled for Thursday.

"He's a brave young man, and it's only appropriate he be recognized as an American because he died as an American," Mr. Chambliss said.

The soldier's parents said his greatest wish was to be made a citizen of his adopted country.

Wrong district ballots lead to third election

LaFAYETTE -Vote-counting problems in northwest Georgia have forced a judge to order a rare third election for the 1st District state House seat currently held by Mike Snow, a Chickamauga Democrat.

Another election between Mr. Snow and Republican challenger Jay Neal, of LaFayette, will be June 17.

In the Nov. 5 general election, Mr. Neal defeated Mr. Snow by 195 votes. Mr. Snow won the second election Jan. 7 by 73 votes.

But a judge found that hundreds of voters were given the wrong district's ballots, prompting the court to order a new election both times.