Originally created 10/04/04

Across Georgia



Officials seek help in stopping arsonist

ATLANTA - A serial arsonist has been setting fires in secluded stairwells of old apartment buildings in some of Atlanta's trendiest neighborhoods.

Eight apartment buildings have been damaged since Aug. 28 in the Midtown and Virginia-Highland neighborhoods. Atlanta fire officials say the fires were quickly put out because of smoke detectors or alert residents.

But a fire Saturday in the Virginia-Highland neighborhood destroyed four apartment units, seriously damaged another four and nearly caused a death, said Dennis Ware, the section chief of fire investigations for the Atlanta Fire Department.

Fire officials are asking residents to help them find the arsonist. There have been no injuries, but officials fear it is only a matter of time before a fire kills sleeping residents.

Police say men were shot over $250 debt

JONESBORO - A Clayton County man accused of fatally shooting two men and dumping their bodies behind a shopping center killed them over a $250 drug-related debt, authorities said.

Mitchell Lavern Ludy, 37, has been charged with two counts of murder.

He was arrested in a Jonesboro motel Friday - five days after police found the bodies of Otis James Williams, 57, and Charles W. Ammons, 37, behind a shopping center, Clayton County police Capt. Tim Robinson said.

Authorities said Mr. Ludy took the two men to an ATM on Sept. 26 to get the money he owed them, even though he didn't have an ATM card. Mr. Ludy argued with the two and shot them, police said.

Husband is arrested in attack on woman

ATHENS - A man trapped his wife in the bathroom of their home by nailing the door shut after an argument and hit and choked her when she finally broke free, according to police reports.

Athens-Clarke police arrested Tyrone Cox, 34, and charged him with battery, false imprisonment and cruelty to children. Mr. Cox had heard rumors his wife was cheating on him and threatened to kill her; when she went to take a shower, he nailed the bathroom door shut, Athens-Clarke police said.

When his wife broke through the door, Mr. Cox slapped her and started choking her in front of their 10-month-old daughter, according to reports.