Bainbridge man sentenced for deadly shooting

DECATUR CO., GA (WALB) –

A Bainbridge man charged in a deadly shooting is headed to prison.

Judge Heather Lanier sentenced Caliah Burns to 25 years in prison.

He pleaded guilty Tuesday to voluntary manslaughter and possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony.

Burns shot and killed Recardo James during a fight in Bainbridge in March of 2015.

Glenda James, mother of the victim, testified in allocution.  She asked the Court to sentence the defendant to the maximum sentence, which would be 25 years.  The Court, after hearing from James, did exactly that. 

The case was prosecuted by District Attorney Joe Mulholland. 

Mulholland stated “This was a senseless and tragic incident that left two young children without a father.  I would like to thank Investigator Robert Humphrey for his hard work and diligence to bringing this killer to justice.” 

“I also thank Superior Court Judge Heather Lanier for seeing how important it was for Burns to receive the maximum sentence so that the James family can have some semblance of closure in this matter. Our office will continue to aggressively prosecute those that commit violent crimes in our circuit in an effort to keep our community safe,” said Mullholland.

Copyright 2017 WALB. All rights reserved.

No Powerball winner raises jackpot over half-billion-dollar mark

(Source: WTOC)(Source: WTOC)
SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) –

No winning tickets were sold for Wednesday night’s $432.5 million Powerball drawing.

Now, the jackpot has climbed over the half-billion-dollar mark, currently estimated at $510 million for Saturday’s drawing. 

The Powerball jackpot has rolled over 19 times, with no winner since the June 14 drawing.

Wednesday’s jackpot was the ninth largest lottery prize in U.S. history. The winning numbers were 9, 15, 43, 60, 64 and the Powerball number 4.

The next drawing will be Saturday, so you still have time to go get your hands on a ticket.

For additional Powerball information, click here.

Copyright 2017 WTOC. All rights reserved.

5 things to know for Thursday, August 17

ALBANY, GA (WALB) –

Good morning. Here are five things you need to know to start your day.

1. ARREST MADE IN ALBANY TRIPLE HOMICIDE
Albany police have charged Ticorey Frazier with three counts of murder in connection with the June 27th homicides on East Alberson Drive. APD said Frazier was already in jail on a separate charge. The victims, Demarquis Williams, Tyquis Smith, and Adrionna Holmes were found dead inside the home, from multiple gunshot wounds.

2. THOMASVILLE DEPUTY INVOLVED SHOOTING
The second day of protests ended with a prayer vigil Wednesday night after Thomas County Sheriff’s deputy Josh Smith shot and killed Herbert Gilbert, 37, while serving a search warrant on Tuesday.  A number of different faith and community leaders spoke to a large crowd, right near the spot Gilbert was shot the day before. Thomasville Police Chief Troy Rich announced at a prayer vigil that the driver of a golf cart who drove toward protesters, Johnathan Cleveland, had been arrested. Cleveland was charged with reckless conduct and bonded out a $550 bond.

3. VICTIM IDENTIFIED IN EARLY MORNING CRASH
Dougherty County Coroner Michael Fowler identified the victim in a Wednesday morning crash as Ralph Thomas Hudgins III, 21, of Leary. Fowler said Hudgins died of blunt force trauma. Dougherty County Police responded to the scene in the 900 block of Eight Mile Road. Police said Hudgins ran off the road, over corrected, and then crashed into a ditch about 100 yards away. Captain Jason Hager said Hudgins was not wearing a seatbelt.

4. DOUGHERTY CO. COMMISSION OPPOSES PROPOSED LEE CO. HOSPITAL
The Dougherty County Commission voted 5 to 2 to send a letter to the state Department of Community Health, opposing the granting of a certificate of need for the proposed Lee County hospital. But the commission also wants the Lee County Commission to join in gathering more information about the proposed medical center’s impact. The decision was made in a special called meeting Wednesday. All the commissioners voted to send the letter to the state, except District 2 Commissioner John Hayes, and District 1 Commissioner Lamar Hudgens, who both voted against.

5. COFFEE CO. MURDER CONSPIRACY SENTENCE
The wife of a former Coffee County deputy pleaded guilty Wednesday to conspiring to commit murder. Cindy Youngblood, 49, was arrested on August 16, 2016, after police said she and Reggie Lockhart, 24, conspired to kill her husband Anthony Youngblood, 51. She was sentenced to 25 years will 15 to serve. Lockhart was also sentenced to 25 years. He’ll serve the first 12 in prison and the remainder on probation.

Watch Today in Georgia at 5 and 6 a.m. for these stories and more. 

You can also stream Today in Georgia in the app or by clicking here.

Copyright 2017 WALB.  All rights reserved.

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Army on search for 5 aboard downed chopper: ‘We are here to bring our soldiers home’

NORTH SHORE, OAHU (HawaiiNewsNow) –

A massive air and sea search is underway for five missing soldiers who were on board an Army chopper that crashed late Tuesday off Oahu.

Rescuers are focusing their efforts on a debris field that’s three to five miles offshore.

“This is still a search and rescue mission. We are here to bring our soldiers home,” said Lt Col. Curtis Kellogg, public affairs officer with the 25th Infantry Division, in a news conference on Wednesday afternoon. “As we do this work, the soldiers and their families are on the forefront of our minds.”

The military has confirmed that the five who were on board the helicopter when it went down about two miles west of Kaena Point are active duty soldiers out of Wheeler Army Airfield’s 25th Combat Aviation Brigade. Their identities have not yet been released.

Some debris from the downed plane has been recovered, and officials stressed that residents should call the authorities if they see any debris that’s washed ashore. 

About 7 a.m. Wednesday, a portion of the chopper’s fuselage was spotted in the water. 

Army personnel lost contact with the UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter about 9:30 p.m., half an hour after it left Wheeler airfield on a routine nighttime training mission. Coast Guard, Army, U.S. Marine and Honolulu Fire Department rescue crews were deployed to help in the search.

Among the resources being used for the search: A Coast Guard HC-130 Hercules airplane and MH-65 Dolphin helicopter from Air Station Barbers Point, an Army aircrew, and boats from the Coast Guard and Honolulu Fire Department. Ocean Safety crews are also assisting.

“We stand with our U.S. Army ‘ohana during this difficult time,” Gov. David Ige said, in a statement. “The state of Hawaii has offered its support as rescue and recovery efforts continue. Our thoughts are with the families and unit members of the soldiers on board.”

At sunset, most of the air support in the search will be suspended until first light Thursday. But the Navy will be searching by air through midnight, and boats from multiple agencies will continue their efforts through the night.

Honolulu Fire Battalion Chief Paul Fukuda said some debris was recovered early Wednesday, including a helmet.

“It’s so spread out and with the darkness, it’s hard to say how big the debris field was,” he said.

Coast Guard Petty Officer 2nd Class Tara Molle said there are still high hopes that the five will be found safe.

“Right now we’re currently focused on the search for the missing crew members,” Molle said. “These are trained aircrew, and we’re working with our partners to saturate that area.”

In addition to the search by air and sea, HFD said firefighters walked the shoreline along Kaena Point, looking for any signs of wreckage.

The state Department of Land and Natural Resources has closed Kaena Point to the public until further notice, meaning no vehicle, foot or bicycle traffic is allowed on roads and trails through the Mokuleia or Keawaula entrances.

Kellogg said that nighttime chopper training offshore — like what the Black Hawk air crew was participating in — is routine.

The helicopter was flying with a second chopper.

The search for the downed craft began immediately after the aircrew lost visual and video contact with the other helicopter, he said.

Earlier Wednesday, the winds offshore were about 11 mph with 2-foot seas. But by mid-day winds were at about 17 mph, and the Coast Guard was reporting 6-foot seas.

The Black Hawk is used by the 25th Combat Aviation Brigade.

Officials said the UH-60 Black Hawk is a four-bladed, twin-engine utility helicopter manufactured for the Army by Sikorsky Aircraft starting in the 1970s.

The Army has 2,300 Black Hawk helicopters; the choppers are the branch’s primary medium lift utility transport and air assault aircraft. The Army also uses Black Hawks for medical airlifting and to deliver emergency supplies during natural disasters.

The Black Hawk is used by 26 other countries besides the U.S., including Japan, Korea, China and the Philippines. Newer versions of the helicopter are designed to fly higher and can carry more than older versions. 

The last military helicopter crash in Hawaii happened in January 2016, when 12 Marines were killed after two Super Stallion choppers went down off Haleiwa. 

This is a breaking news story. Please check back for updates.

Copyright 2017 Hawaii News Now. All rights reserved.

Day 2 of protests in Thomasville ends in prayer

THOMASVILLE, GA (WALB) –

The second day of protests and a night of prayer has come to an end in Thomasville after the GBI said a deputy involved shooting left one man dead on Tuesday. 

TRYING TO HEAL AFTER TRAGEDY

The streets are quiet Wednesday night.  

On Wednesday, Herbert Gilbert’s neighbors and concerned Thomasville citizens marched downtown, saying they wanted answers, as the investigation into the fatal shooting continued.  

Wednesday night, many joined together for a prayer vigil to honor all grieving after the event. 

Those who live on Magnolia Street never expected they’d be singing in the middle of it.

“Everybody is trying to come together. A lot of times in the community we feel fractured. Sentiments were that we hate for it to take something like this to bring people together,” said a neighbor.  

But one look at the crowd and it’s clear it has. 

The second day of protests ended with a prayer vigil Wednesday night after Thomas County Sheriff’s deputy Josh Smith shot and killed Herbert Gilbert, 37, while serving a search warrant on Tuesday.  

A number of different faith and community leaders spoke to a large crowd, right near the spot Gilbert was shot the day before.

After hugging his family, the group prayed for them, children, law enforcement, and unity. 

The Thomasville Police Chief Troy Rich announced at a prayer vigil on Wednesday that the driver of a golf cart who drove toward protesters, Johnathan Cleveland, had been arrested.

Chief Rich told attendants at the prayer vigil that Jonathan Cleveland was arrested and charged with reckless conduct.

Captain Maurice Holmes with the police department said that he saw Cleveland try to run over protesters with a golf cart on Broad Street in downtown Thomasville Wednesday afternoon during a march. 

According to the Thomas County Jail, Cleveland was booked around 6 p.m. Wednesday night, but bonded out on a $550 bond around 6:30 p.m.

Chief Rich said he’s thankful that protests were for the most part peaceful today adding that the answers from the GBI and the process to get them should be trusted. 

Others stressed peaceful protest too, but noted that change is needed.

And as GBI investigators look into the shooting, those who live on Magnolia Street said they’ll continue to make their voices heard. 

“We never want to forget what happens when we don’t hold our officials accountable, we don’t hold ourselves accountable,” said Quinn Choice, a pastor. “As one friend of mine would say we all have a nickel in this time.”

A sentiment those on Magnolia Street reminded themselves of while hand in hand. 

Speakers said a march is organized for next Monday at 5 p.m. A Florida group with knowledge on march organizing will assist community leaders. They will meet on Magnolia Street.

COMMUNITY REACTION

On Wednesday, members of the community gathered together in protest at the building houses the Thomasville Police Department and Thomas County Sheriff’s Office.

For the most part, protests have been peaceful, officers were seen in large numbers downtown to keep everyone safe.  

Demonstrators have been chanting ‘No justice, no peace’ repeatedly.

Leaders in the City of Thomasville released statements:

“On behalf of the Thomasville City Council and the entire City family, we want to begin by expressing our sincere condolences to the family of the deceased. This was a tragic event for our community. We are sensitive to the community’s concerns and we understand that the community wants answers as to what happened. There is an active investigation currently underway by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation. We ask that the community allow the investigation to run its course.” – Thomasville Mayor Greg Hobbs.

“We also understand that the community wants to express its frustration. We ask that you do so peacefully and respectfully. The City and the Thomasville Police Department will provide a safe environment for those who wish to do so.” – Thomasville Police Chief Troy Rich.

After protesting outside of the sheriff’s office and police department, people marched through downtown Thomasville.

Tuesday night there was one break in the peace when someone threw a cinder block through a patrol car window. 

Michael Dismuke was arrested on scene. He’s been charged with interference with government. 

Protestors said they want to try to keep the peace. They said they just want justice. 

They also said what happened Tuesday was uncalled for. They said they believe the incidents did not have to play out the way they did.

Many of them are shocked to see that this happened right in their backyard. 

“I would never have thought in my lifetime that somebody would get shot in Thomasville. I thought we were better than this here. I really thought my community in a whole as police officers, was better than this,” said William Gibson.

Protestors said they just want answers. They said they want to know what is protocol in these situations, they want the deputy to be punished. 

“I’m at odds with all of it. I’m not going to make a judgment, but all I can say is it was wrong,” said Michelle Clarke.

THE OFFICER

Officials with the Georgia Bureau of Investigation have identified the deputy involved in Tuesday afternoon’s fatal shooting.

Agents confirmed that the deputy involved was Josh Smith.

He started with the Thomas County Sheriff’s Office in June 2012.

The investigation is ongoing, and agents are reviewing footage and interviewing witnesses.

Police confirmed Gilbert as the man who was shot.

According to the GBI, the shooting occurred when Thomas County Drug agents tried to execute a search warrant in the area of Magnolia and Fern Streets.

THE INVESTIGATION

“At 4:19 p.m. is when the officers called out for help, shots fired, need an ambulance,” said Thomas County Sheriff’s Office Captain Steve Jones.

At that time, Jones said he called the GBI for backup.

“Regardless, somebody was hurt and we all got here as quickly as we could and did everything we could,” said Jones.

The GBI said the subject’s vehicle and police vehicles were involved before the shooting happened. 

Immediately after the shooting, there were at least a dozen police cars at the scene and officials had the streets blocked off in the area.

Witnesses said it started as a car chase when a black police SUV chased a silver SUV through the neighborhood.

Markeshia Glenn, Gilbert’s girlfriend said police came to her house looking for him just minutes before the chase.

The GBI confirmed drug agents were executing a search warrant at the time.

“Three cops came in with their guns,” said Glenn.

Glenn said shortly after, she heard screaming and then the gunshots. 

“When I hear the boom boom boom that’s when I fell to the ground and said ‘man they are going to kill my baby,'” said Glenn.

Witnesses said it was a busy time in the neighborhood. They said dozens of kids had just gotten off the bus and were playing outside. 

“And then when they shot him, my neighbors’ children were on the porch, so really they didn’t care,” said Glenn.

We spoke with Gilbert’s 18-year-old sister,  Miracle McCoy,  who said she got off the school bus to see the terrifying scene play out right in front of her eyes.

“I thought I was going to get off the bus and go in the house and speak to everyone like I usually do and play with my brother but when I got off that’s when all of this happened. It’s like they were waiting for me to get out of school for all of it to happen,” said McCoy.

GBI Agent Marko Jones said Wednesday that it is standard for them to get called in to help with a deputy involved shooting.

Once they are called in, they completely take over the investigation. 

“It’s more in depth we have to make sure we talk to everyone that knows something about it. We don’t want to rush the investigation nor do we want to prolong it. So it’s a balance we have to work with,” said Jones.

Once the investigation into the use of force is completed, it will be turned over to the District Attorney’s Office for their review.

GBI agents said an autopsy is being scheduled.

Copyright 2017 WALB. All rights reserved.

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