Originally created 04/09/04

Across Georgia



Board of Regents tries to keep chancellor

ATHENS - Making good on $180,000 it owed Chancellor Thomas Meredith, the University System of Georgia's Board of Regents hopes it will convince Mr. Meredith to withdraw his candidacy for a similar job in Tennessee.

Regent Timothy Shelnut said Mr. Meredith is being paid this week the money he had been owed since December. He said individual board members, whom he would not identify, contributed the money.

"With all the budget stuff going on, we really don't need to be looking for another chancellor," Mr. Shelnut said.

Mr. Meredith is one of 12 semifinalists for the University of Tennessee system presidency.

He notified regents by e-mail Friday evening that he was a candidate for the Tennessee job, and indicated that one reason he was pursuing the job was because of the regents' inability to meet their financial obligations to him.

6 got West Nile from blood transfusions

ATLANTA - At least six people became infected with the West Nile virus through blood transfusions last year despite the screening of donations, the government said Thursday.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said a small risk of infection still exists despite the screenings.

Last year was the first full year in which donor blood was screened for West Nile, and as a result, 818 donations were removed from the blood supply, the CDC said.

Two of the six people infected through transfusions have died, but West Nile was not the cause of death, CDC spokeswoman Jennifer Morcone said.

Man who tried to have agent killed sentenced

COVINGTON - A Porterdale man has been sentenced to a year in prison for trying to hire someone to kill an East Metro Drug Enforcement Team agent.

Authorities say Barry Craig Holland, 50, was trying to get revenge for his son's arrest on drug charges last May.

Mr. Holland was arrested in July after police received two separate tips that he was trying to hire someone to kill the drug enforcement agent.

Commissioner repays state for his vehicle

ATLANTA - Insurance Commissioner John Oxendine has reimbursed the state for a car he bought with public money after former Gov. Roy Barnes issued a moratorium on state vehicle purchases.

Oxendine spokesman Glenn Allen said the commissioner wrote a check last week for $25,001, nearly $700 less than the previously quoted price for the car because of a state discount.

The announcement came six weeks after state Inspector General James Sehorn recommended the insurance commissioner repay the state.

A report from Mr. Sehorn's office was critical of Mr. Oxendine for buying the car after the head of the Department of Administrative Services turned down his request.

Jury sentences jail inmate to death

SAVANNAH - A Chatham County jail inmate has been sentenced to death for killing a fellow inmate who had found out about a planned escape attempt.

Joseph Williams, 30, was sentenced to death Wednesday for killing Michael Deal in the jail in 2001.

The jury's death sentence came after three days of testimony in the sentencing phase of Mr. Williams' case.

Mr. Williams had pleaded guilty to murdering Mr. Deal on Monday.

Mr. Williams, who was already serving three life sentences for two other murders, showed no emotion upon hearing the sentence.

Prosecutors say Mr. Williams and another inmate killed Mr. Deal, 54, because they were worried the one-time law enforcer would tell authorities about their plan to escape.

Mr. Williams and Leon McKinney allegedly strangled Mr. Deal with a bandage, dragged him to his cell and strung him from the ceiling with a bedsheet to make the death look like a suicide.



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