FORT STEWART --- A soldier who fled to Canada for four years to avoid deploying to Iraq tearfully apologized Tuesday after pleading guilty to desertion and was sentenced to a year in prison.
Army Spc. Cliff Cornell, 28, of Mountain Home, Ark., wept as he told the military judge at Fort Stewart that he was sorry. He said he went to Canada in January 2005, a month before his 3rd Infantry Division unit was set to deploy to Iraq, because he feared for his life and couldn't stomach the thought of killing.
"It was wrong for me to leave my unit and go to Canada," Spc. Cornell said. "I was very anxious about whether I might be asked to do things that might violate my conscience. I felt trapped. I didn't know what to do."
Prosecutors had sought at least 15 months in a military prison and a dishonorable discharge, saying Spc. Cornell's decision to run jeopardized other members of his unit. Besides prison, Spc. Cornell was reduced in rank to private and given a bad conduct discharge.
In Canada, Spc. Cornell worked at a grocery store in British Columbia until the government denied him asylum as a war objector. He crossed the U.S.-Canada border in February under threat of deportation, and turned himself in to authorities at Fort Stewart after crossing the country by bus.
Truck owner hangs on as police chase thief
FORSYTH --- The owner of a trailerless semi clung to the back of the truck Tuesday as a suspected carjacker led police on a 50-mile chase along an interstate in Georgia. The semi eventually slowed enough for the owner to jump off near the end of the chase.
When Milo Banks, 27, stopped the semi, armed officers surrounded it, breaking through the windows before wrestling him to the ground.
A state trooper was treated at a hospital for a superficial gunshot wound in the shoulder, Georgia State Patrol spokesman Gordy Wright said.
White supremacist to be executed today
ATHENS --- A white supremacist is set to be put to death today after a Georgia judge corrected a legal glitch that delayed his execution just hours before it was to happen.
William Mark Mize was convicted of killing one of his own followers. He was set to die at 7 p.m. Tuesday for the 1994 murder of Eddie Tucker, who was shot to death after trying to burn what Mr. Mize considered to be a crack house in Athens.
The Georgia Supreme Court issued a stay Tuesday afternoon, saying Chief Judge Lawton Stephens of the Western Judicial Circuit had denied Mr. Mize's request for a hearing, but justices didn't rule on the motion itself. The court said it couldn't hear the appeal until Judge Stephens rules on the motion.
Judge Stephens denied the motion late Tuesday afternoon. The top court's stay expires 24 hours after the new ruling.
In other news
SAYING HEALTHY CHILDREN perform better in school, Gov. Sonny Perdue on Tuesday signed legislation requiring Georgia students to complete an annual fitness test.