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SC woman pleads guilty in NC kidnapping plot

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) - A South Carolina woman has admitted lying to federal agents during their investigation of the gang-related kidnapping of North Carolina prosecutor's father.

Chason Renee Chase pleaded guilty Thursday in U.S. District Court in Columbia. The 24-year-old woman prosecutors say goes by the alias "Lady Jamaica" was questioned by FBI agents following the April 5 kidnapping of Frank Janssen of Raleigh.

Prosecutors say Janssen's kidnapping was directed by Kenneth Melton, a high-ranking Bloods street gang member serving a life sentence in a North Carolina prison.

Authorities say Chase lied about knowing and communicating with Melton on a cellphone hidden in his jail cell. Janssen was later rescued by the FBI from an Atlanta apartment.

Chase faces a maximum sentence of five years. Nine others still face charges in the case.


Family sues Georgia police after death in custody

ATLANTA (AP) - The family of a man who died after Atlanta-area police used stun guns on him has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the former officers and the city.

The lawsuit, which was filed in Fulton County Superior Court, says East Point police officers used their stun guns as many as 13 times on Gregory Towns Jr. while he was handcuffed. The lawsuit claims former police sergeant Marcus Eberhart and former corporal Howard Weems used excessive force in the April 11 incident.

Calls to a number listed for Eberhart seeking comment went unanswered. Weems referred questions to his lawyer, Dale Preiser, who declined to comment. East Point acting city attorney Brad Bowman said the city doesn't comment on pending litigation.


Columbus State posts fundraising record

COLUMBUS, Ga. (AP) - Officials say Columbus State University has raised a record $12.7 million in private donations.

The Columbus Ledger-Enquirer reports officials said this week that is the most money the school has raised from private donations in its 56-year history and marks a significant increase from the $8.6 million that was raised the previous year.

Columbus State President Tim Mescon calls the level of support "phenomenal" and says the funds will be used to support key initiatives.

The newspaper reports the university is in the middle of a campaign aimed at raising approximately $125 million by 2019.


Portland jetport security finds gun in luggage

PORTLAND, Maine (AP) - Transportation Security Administration officials say they found a handgun in a passenger's carry-on luggage at Portland International Jetport.

WCHS6 reports the gun - a .32-caliber Beretta - was detected at the security checkpoint.

Officials say they found the gun in the luggage of a man who was flying from Portland to Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport on Thursday.

TSA notified local law enforcement. It was not immediately known whether the man was detained.

TSA officials told the television station it was the fourth weapon they have found in carry-on luggage this year.


Ga. man gets life sentence in death of girlfriend

MACON, Ga. (AP) - A Macon man has been sentenced to life in prison in the killing of his former girlfriend.

The Telegraph reports that 31-year-old Bobby Lee Fordham on Thursday was convicted of using a steak knife to stab 29-year-old Candace Rice in her Macon home on May 27, 2012.

Fordham was arrested days later in the parking lot of a strip club in Birmingham, Alabama.

Superior Court jurors deliberated for a little less than an hour Thursday before finding Fordham guilty of murder and theft.

Following his conviction, Fordham was sentenced later Thursday to life in prison without the possibility of parole, followed by an additional 10 years.


Police: Man kills himself after 2 women stabbed

LAWRENCEVILLE, Ga. (AP) - Gwinnett County police say they believe a man stabbed his former wife to death and cut her mother before he used a gun to take his own life.

Gwinnett County police spokeswoman Cpl. Michele Pihera said the two women were found stabbed around 2:15 p.m. Thursday, when officers were sent to Lawrenceville.

Police said the dispute began in a house on Chris Lake Drive and spilled out into the street. They said a neighbor saw the commotion and fired at least one gunshot at the suspect, who fled the scene.

Police said the suspect, whose name wasn't immediately released, was found dead of a self-inflicted gunshot wound shortly before 7 p.m. Thursday in Norcross.

The dead woman's mother was taken to a hospital.


Stewart says Ward's death will affect him forever

ATLANTA (AP) - Tony Stewart says the death of Kevin Ward Jr. will "affect my life forever" as he returned to the track for the first time since his car struck and killed the fellow driver during a sprint-car race in New York.

Stewart spoke Friday for the first time Ward died at an Aug. 9 dirt-track event in upstate New York.

The three-time NASCAR champion has not raced since Ward's death. Stewart will race in Atlanta on Sunday night for the first time in three weeks. He says he took time out of respect for Ward's family - and so he could cope with the tragedy.

Speaking quietly, Stewart says he could not answer questions about the incident and he left after reading a short statement.


Georgia Tech set to host Wofford in season opener

ATLANTA (AP) - Coach Paul Johnson says he has no problem defending his six-year record at Georgia Tech.

Entering Saturday's opener against Wofford, the Yellow Jackets are 47-32 under Johnson, 14-13 over the last two seasons. They've finished either first or second every year but 2010, when they finished third, in the Atlantic Coast Conference Coastal Division.

Johnson says "the program has been pretty stable," pointing out that his team has the fourth-most wins in the league since he took over in 2008.

It's unlikely Johnson will know much about the Jackets by playing an FCS opponent from the Southern Conference. Georgia Tech has beaten Elon, Western Carolina, South Carolina State and Jacksonville State twice by a combined 252-62 score in the last six openers.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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