Originally created 06/02/06

Across Georgia



Fatal fire no longer considered accident

HOSCHTON - A fire that killed two adults and two children in rural Jackson County has turned into a murder-arson investigation, state Insurance and Safety Fire Commissioner John Oxendine said Thursday.

Authorities are offering a reward of up to $10,000 for information that leads to an arrest and conviction in the case.

The victims were Marcelette Strickland, 29, and her two children, Lasia Stringer, 2, and Manjuan Stringer, 4.

Mr. Oxendine said the fourth victim is an adult believed to be a woman, but authorities are still awaiting a positive identification.

The fire was reported Tuesday morning. The bodies were found inside the three-bedroom house. Mr. Oxendine's office had said Wednesday that the fire appeared to be accidental.

Atlanta seeking to annex south Fulton

ATLANTA - Atlanta Mayor Shirley Franklin is asking residents who live in unincorporated parts of south Fulton County to consider being annexed into the city.

With the offer, Atlanta joins other cities in the area trying to annex unincorporated parts of the county.

The land grab comes after the creation of the city of Sandy Springs north of Atlanta.

The last major annexation for Atlanta was in 1952, when it pulled the community of Buckhead into city limits.

Woman who married teen gets jail term

DOUGLASVILLE - Lisa Clark, the 37-year-old woman accused of molesting her 15-year-old husband, pleaded guilty Wednesday to helping him escape from state custody.

She was sentenced to two years in jail and three years on probation after pleading guilty in Douglas County Superior Court to two counts of hindering the apprehension of a child.

Ms. Clark had denied having anything to do with the boy's escape in February after she had given birth to their child, who is now in the custody of a friend of Ms. Clark's.

In March, Ms. Clark pleaded guilty to charges of statutory rape and was sentenced to nine months in jail.

She also was forbidden to have any contact with her teenage husband until at least his 17th birthday.

Men charged with assault using ants

SAVANNAH - A Chatham County grand jury indicted three men Wednesday accused of kidnapping another man, beating him with a baseball bat, kicking out his teeth, breaking his wrist, burning his hand and placing red ants on his body.

The indictment claims Lemuel "Boo" Rouse did the beating, and James D. Wilkinson and Willie Lloyd Connor were party to the crimes, which took place March 4-5.

According to the indictment, the three repeatedly placed red ants on the victim, Lawrence Kevin White. The ants bit him a number of times.

Garden City police arrested an armed Mr. Rouse at his Smith Avenue apartment March 8 after a three-hour standoff with the Savannah-Chatham Metropolitan Police SWAT team.

All three men face charges of aggravated assault, aggravated battery and kidnapping with bodily injury.

- Edited from wire reports