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Friday, Feb. 21, 2014

Across the region

Associated Press

2 more plead guilty in cheating scandal

ATLANTA — Two more educators pleaded guilty Friday in Atlanta’s school cheating scandal.

Christopher Waller, the former principal of Parks Mid­dle School, told the court he felt extreme pressure to falsify scores on standardized tests. A former administrator at the school, San­dra Ward, also pleaded guilty.

Both avoided prison time. However, Waller must pay $50,000 in fines and restitution, spend five years on probation and perform 1,000 hours of community service. Ward must repay $5,000 in bonus money and perform 250 hours of community service.

Both Waller and Ward could become prosecution witnesses.

Twenty-one people have now pleaded guilty, and 13 defendants remain. They include former Atlanta School Su­perintendent Beverly Hall, who denies wrongdoing.

Man gets 10 years in HIV exposure case

JONESBORO, GA. — A man was sentenced to 10 years in prison Friday for knowingly exposing a woman to HIV.

Craig Lamar Davis, 42, of Stone Mountain, was sentenced by a Clayton County judge. He was convicted on two counts of reckless conduct last month.

Davis is a former pastor who had unprotected sex with church members despite being married and having the virus that causes AIDS.

During a hearing, the woman who brought the case told the judge that she’s serving a life sentence because of what Davis did.

Though a prosecutor described Davis as being unrepentant, the man took the stand in a last-minute plea for mercy. Davis said he believes his actions were wrong.

Husband kills wife then shoots himself

COLUMBUS, GA. — Author­ities say a woman who was shot to death outside a Georgia state welfare office in Columbus was killed by her estranged husband, who later killed himself.

Muscogee County Coro­ner Buddy Bryan said Tonya Moses-Charles, 44, of Phenix City, Ala., was fatally shot in a parking lot of the county Division of Family and Children Services office early Friday.

Bryan said authorities later found Lyle Charles, 50, dead of a self-inflicted gunshot inside his car.

After the shooting, officials placed two Phenix City schools on alert because the suspect’s stepchild attends one and the man had privileges to check out the child. Officials say there’s no indication the gunman got near the schools.

Mistaken retaliation leaves teen girl dead

ST. MATTHEWS, S.C. — Calhoun County sheriff’s deputies say a 17-year-old girl was killed by two brothers who thought she set them up to be robbed.

Sheriff Thomas Summers said Kymmara Randolph had nothing to do with the robbery.

Summers said Randolph was killed shortly after she was last seen leaving an Orangeburg home with a man Feb. 13. Authorities found her body Friday in a swamp after several days of searching.

Deputies say the men lured Randolph from her home by saying they were taking her to a party.

Jerry McKnight, 45, and Bryant McKnight, 32, are charged with murder.

Guard charged over throwing bleach

COLUMBIA — A former Rich­land County jail guard was charged Friday with assault after authorities say he threw a mixture of bleach and water on two inmates.

Authorities said Phillip Young, 25, was captured on video throwing the bleach and water at the inmates after an argument at the jail Jan. 31. Both prisoners were taken to the hospital and treated.

Other jail employees reported the incident immediately. Young was fired before his arrest. He worked as a guard for three years.

Owner drops charge over very late video

PICKENS, S.C. — The owner of a now-closed video store in Pickens is withdrawing a larceny charge against a woman accused of not returning a movie she rented in 2005.

Pickens County sheriff’s deputies said the owner decided to not pursue the charge because of the media attention that Kayla Michelle Finley’s arrest received.

Finley, 27, rented the movie Monster-in-Law from Dalton Videos nearly a decade ago. The owner took out a warrant against Finley, and she was arrested last week when she was at the sheriff’s office for something else and the warrant was found. Finley spent the night in jail before she was released.

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