Originally created 01/22/05

Across the region



Abducted Florida boy is found in Georgia

ATLANTA - The 11-year-old boy believed to have been taken from Florida by a convicted child molester has been recovered in northwest Georgia.

"He is safe, and he is OK," FBI spokesman Steven Lazarus said Friday evening. "The adult subject is still at large."

Frederick Fretz, 42, picked up 11-year-old Adam Kirkirt at Dunnellon, Fla., Elementary School on Tuesday, police said. Mr. Fretz's car was found at the end of an Interstate 75 northbound exit ramp in Emerson, Ga., 40 miles northwest of Atlanta, earlier Friday.

Authorities think Mr. Fretz might have intended to set up a campsite at the Red Top Mountain park near the area where the car was abandoned.

Family on guard after losing all its goats

CHARLESTON, S.C. - A Lowcountry family says it is taking extra measures to protect its animals after all 17 of its goats have been stolen or killed in the past month.

"Around Christmastime, the first goats went missing," said Matthew Blackburn, whose grandfather Howard owns the ranch on Johns Island. "One by one, they'd be gone. We thought it was an animal eating them."

So they set out chickens to bait the animal. But on Jan. 2, they found one of the chickens shot dead, said Alex Murray, Mr. Blackburn's brother-in-law.

The next day, five of their adult goats were found dead with single bullet wounds to their heads, the family said.

Less than two weeks later the remaining three juvenile goats were found dead. A necropsy performed revealed that they had been strangled and stabbed, said Ashley Smith, Mr. Blackburn's girlfriend.

Men found with stash of cold pills, GBI says

CANTON, GA. - Three South Carolina men were arrested Friday by GBI agents with about six times the Georgia limit of cold pills containing ephedrine, the key ingredient used to make methamphetamine, authorities say.

In May 2003, Gov. Sonny Perdue signed into law tougher punishments for people who make and sell meth. The law makes it a felony to possess more than 300 of the over-the-counter cold pills needed to make the drug.

Agents with the Georgia Bureau of Investigation's drug enforcement office in Canton arrested Tony Cauthon, 24, of Greenville, S.C.; Michael Ray Hannah, 37, of Greenville; and Stephen Mathew Martin, of Williamston, S.C.

Lawyer argues killer was girlfriend's puppet

ATLANTA - A man who stabbed and beat a teenager to death for his wallet and car should not be executed partly because he was under the "diabolical" influence of his girlfriend, his lawyer argued in a clemency petition Friday.

Timothy Don Carr, 34, is scheduled to die Tuesday by lethal injection for the Oct. 8, 1992, murder of 17-year-old Keith Patrick Young in Monroe County. A clemency hearing is set for Monday.

Retirees might not get cost-of-living increase

COLUMBIA - State retirees might not see a cost-of-living increase in the coming year, the retirement systems executive director said Friday.

Peggy Boykin also told reporters at a briefing that a $420 million error was discovered in a report by an outside actuary. That error, found in a review of the retirement program known as the Teacher and Employee Retention Incentive, will be explained to the Budget and Control Board on Tuesday, she said.

Although cost-of-living increases are not guaranteed, Ms. Boykin has said retirees have come to expect them.

Solicitor won't enforce fine on country club

ATLANTA - Atlanta's city solicitor will not enforce an order by the mayor to fine a country club for refusing to extend spousal benefits to partners of its gay members.

City Solicitor Raines Carter said he decided not to fulfill Mayor Shirley Franklin's request to fine Druid Hills Golf Club up to $90,000 unless the club changed its policy. Mr. Carter said he cannot proceed with the fine because he's named as a defendant in a lawsuit the club filed earlier this month that challenges the $500-a-day fine.



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