Georgia primaries postponed due to virus fears; cases jump
ATLANTA (AP) — Georgia election officials are postponing the state’s March 24 presidential primaries until May because of fears over the coronavirus. Georgia's secretary of state said that in-person early voting will be halted and the election will be moved to May 19, when Georgia’s other 2020 primary elections are being held. The action followed Republican Gov. Brian Kemp’s signature of an emergency declaration that unlocked sweeping powers to fight COVID-19. Kemp says the number of cases caused by the new coronavirus rose to 66 Saturday from 42 on Friday. He also authorized the deployment of as many as 2,000 Georgia National Guard troops to help address the crisis.
After floods, soggy south Georgia fears spread of mosquitoes
ALBANY, Ga. (AP) — Soggy areas of south Georgia recovering from heavy rains and flooding are bracing for a new threat _ swarms of mosquitoes. WALB-TV reports mosquito control officers in Dougherty County are doing what they can to fight the blood-sucking bugs. Donell Mathis, the county environmental control manager, said his team is dropping briquettes into standing water that keep mosquito eggs from hatching. But they can only do that on public property. Mathis said homeowners need to take charge around their own houses and dump any standing water in buckets, birdbaths, old tires and other places that can serve as mosquito nurseries. Georgia's mosquito season typically starts in March and can stretch into the summer.
GEORGIA TECH STUDENT KILLED
Georgia Tech officer who killed student won't face charges
ATLANTA (AP) — A district attorney announced that a Georgia Tech police officer who fatally shot a student struggling with depression won't face criminal charges. Officer Tyler Beck killed fourth-year student Scout Schultz in Sept. 2017 after Schultz refused to drop his weapon. Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard on Friday said Beck won't be charged in Schultz's death. Schultz called police and said an armed man was walking around the dorms. When police arrived, they found Schultz with a weapon. He heckled officers and didn't comply with their requests. Beck later shot Schultz. Investigators found several suicide notes. Schultz's parents filed a wrongful death lawsuit stating Beck used excessive force.
Attorney: Georgia followed law in canceling court election
ATLANTA (AP) — An attorney says Georgia’s top elections official followed state law when he canceled a May election to the state Supreme Court in order to allow the governor to appoint a replacement for a sitting justice who won't leave office until November. Attorney Russ Willard said in court Friday that Georgia law says a vacancy is created as soon as the governor accepts a resignation. Two former lawmakers filed lawsuits after they tried to qualify to run for the seat of Justice Keith Blackwell on the Georgia Supreme Court last week but were told the election was canceled.
Georgia 2nd state to postpone pres. primaries over virus
ATLANTA (AP) — Georgia election officials are postponing the state’s March 24 presidential primaries until May because of fears over the coronavirus. Georgia's secretary of state said that in-person early voting will be halted and the election will be moved to May 19, when Georgia’s other 2020 primary elections are being held. The action followed Republican Gov. Brian Kemp’s signature of an emergency declaration that unlocked sweeping powers to fight COVID-19. On Friday, Louisiana became the first state to push back its presidential primaries. Kemp said the number of cases in Georgia caused by the new coronavirus rose to 66 Saturday from 42 on Friday.
DNA EVIDENCE-NEW TRIAL
Georgia's high court rules DNA evidence warrants new trial
SAVANNAH, Ga. (AP) — Georgia's highest court says a man serving a life sentence for a 1976 slaying deserves a new trial after recent DNA tests cast doubt on his guilt. The Georgia Supreme Court sided with a lower court Friday in ordering a new trial for 64-year-old Johnny Lee Gates. He was convicted of murder in the 1976 shooting of 19-year-old Katharina Wright in Columbus. Last year, a judge ordered Gates a new trial after DNA tests showed a belt and neckties used to bind the victim didn't show traces of Gates' DNA. State attorneys appealed, arguing the trial court judge abused his discretion. But the state Supreme Court agreed the DNA evidence likely would have produced a different verdict.
Georgia gov plans emergency declaration; Masters postponed
ATLANTA (AP) — Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp says he will declare a public health emergency for the state on Saturday morning. The move came as one of the state's marquee events joins the growing list of canceled events over fears of coronavirus infections. The Augusta National golf club on Friday said it would postpone the Masters tournament. Kemp said in a statement that the declaration would allow resources to be marshaled for treatment and mitigation of the virus. More than 1.2 million schoolchildren have been told to stay home next week. One person has died in the state and 42 cases have been confirmed.
FATAL MALL SHOOTING
Atlanta police search for man after fatal mall shooting