First trial opens in Atlanta school cheating case
ATLANTA (AP) — The first trial is underway for an educator charged in a massive cheating scandal in Atlanta's public school system.
Testimony began Friday in the trial of former area director Tamara Cotman, the first of about three dozen former administrators and teachers to stand trial.
Witnesses could include former Gov. Sonny Perdue, who ordered a state investigation of the claims.
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports Cotman's trial could be a preview of a larger conspiracy and racketeering trial of all the defendants, which is set for May 2014.
Prosecutors will try to outline how cheating happened on such a broad scale, although Cotman has pleaded not guilty to influencing a witness.
The 2011 state investigation concluded cheating occurred at 44 schools so educators could avoid losing their jobs and earn bonuses.
$20K in hair extensions taken from Ga store
AUGUSTA, Ga. (AP) — Some valuable hair is reported missing from a beauty supply business in Augusta.
A police report says three men stole $20,000 worth of hair extensions from the Hair Depot after prying open a door.
The Augusta Chronicle reports that surveillance video captured images of the incident, but the men covered their faces with T-shirts.
The theft occurred early Thursday. No one has been arrested.
The store has reported two previous cases of people stealing hair.
8 sickened by synthetic marijuana on Ga coast
BRUNSWICK, Ga. (AP) — Police in Brunswick say eight people had to be hospitalized after smoking a form of synthetic marijuana.
Glynn County Police Chief Matt Doering says three people had to be treated in intensive care, and the five others were released.
All the smokers were between 16 and 25 years of age.
Doering says the eight became ill after smoking a substance called "Crazy Clown" that was made in Colorado and purchased at a store in Brunswick.
The substance is called synthetic marijuana or spice. It's a form of incense.
No one has been arrested, and Doering says lab tests are needed to determine if the substance had chemical compounds that are illegal under Georgia law.
Ga softball coach gets probation in sexting case
MILTON, Ga. (AP) — A youth softball coach will avoid prison after pleading guilty to claims that he sent lewd text messages to a 15-year-old girl.
A judge sentenced 36-year-old Robert Keith Payne of Cumming to five years of probation after he pleaded guilty to enticing a child for indecent purposes.
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports Payne also must register as a sex offender, and he can't have unsupervised visits with juveniles.
Milton police began investigating after a teen's father reported the coach has been sending text messages to his daughter.
The girl was a player for Stealth Softball, a travel league team based in Cumming.
Payne was arrested in April 2012.
Sheriff seeks GBI aid in probe of Ga legislator
MACON, Ga. (AP) — A central Georgia sheriff is seeking state assistance as he investigates claims that a Georgia legislator choked a teenager during a public event.
The Macon Telegraph reports Bibb County Sheriff David Davis asked the Georgia Bureau of Investigation for help with allegations concerning state Sen. David Lucas of Macon.
A woman accused Lucas of putting his hands around the neck of her 14-year-old son during a Wednesday campaign event for Lucas' wife, Macon Councilwoman Elaine Lucas.
The alleged confrontation occurred during a dispute involving the Lucases' teenage son.
Sen. Lucas denies choking the youth. He says he began to lose his temper and was restrained by others at the event.
The sheriff says it's best to bring in outside investigators given the political nature of the incident.
Created: Sat, 24 Aug 2013 03:14:47 EST
Updated: Sat, 24 Aug 2013 03:14:47 EST