Originally created 05/06/04

Across Georgia



Sheriff faces questions over her investments

ATLANTA - Fulton County Sheriff Jackie Barrett has appeared before a federal grand jury investigating questionable investments made with $7.2 million in funds controlled by her department.

The grand jury is looking into a $5.2 million investment the sheriff made with MetLife in April 2003 and a $2 million investment with Provident Capital, a small mortgage company, in March 2003.

She used funds collected from property sales to satisfy back taxes. The county auditor has said both investments violated state law.

Marijuana, moonshine stills found after tip

STATENVILLE - Two moonshine stills and 12 marijuana plants on a hunting preserve were destroyed after a tip led officers to them.

Echols County Sheriff Randy Courson estimated that a tank at the first still, which was hidden under a canopy of pines, held 135 5-gallon containers of moonshine.

The second still was about five miles away. The marijuana plants were growing nearby in an old freezer turned on its side.

Man is accused of taping girl at hotel

PUNXSUTAWNEY, PA. - An Atlanta man traveled more than 500 miles to take dirty pictures and videotape a Pennsylvania girl at a hotel, police said.

David Cruz, 33, of Atlanta, was being held Tuesday in the Jefferson County Jail on charges of sexual abuse of children and corruption of minors. Mr. Cruz was arrested Monday, shortly after he allegedly took pictures and videotaped the girl at the Pantall Hotel in Punxsutawney, northeast of Pittsburgh, police said.

Perdue signs foster parents bill of rights

ATLANTA - Gov. Sonny Perdue on Wednesday signed a bill of rights for foster parents in Georgia, declaring that the measure gives foster parents "the opportunity to be parents in their homes."

The measure requires the state to treat foster parents with dignity and respect, to reimburse them promptly for their expenses, and to make them aware of safety issues involving a child placed with them.

It also gives them the first opportunity to adopt the child permanently, when the state deems that appropriate.