Local Update - January 24, 2008

January 24, 2008; News 12 This Morning

DEPUTY CORONER CHARGED WITH STEALING FROM THE DEAD

43-year-old Charlena Graham, a Richmond County deputy coroner, is off the job this morning after investigators say she stole gift cards from a body she was trusted to protect.
They also tell News 12 surveillance video actually shows Graham using the cards that are worth around $400.
Even though the dollar amount is low enough to be a misdemeanor, Graham could face felony charges.
If convicted, she violated her oath of office by committing a crime while on duty.

ACCUSED MURDERER TO PLEAD GUILTY TODAY

A suspected killer could learn his fate in court today.
News 12 has learned 29-year-old Oscar Beecher McDowell plans to plead guilty today in the shooting death of 31-year-old Ruby Thompson last year.
She was shot a dozen times.
Her body was then mutilated and set on fire.
Her family is seeking the death penalty.

SUSPECTED MURDERER IN JAIL

A Monetta teen is waking up in jail, charged with the death of a 20-year-old man.
17-year-old Frankie Gantt is also accused of kidnapping the victim, Jeremy Leaphart.
Aiken County deputies say Gantt drove Leaphart to an abandoned building on Hutto Pond Road, then shot the victim in the head, back, and hip with a shotgun.

TUBMAN TROUBLES

School will get a visit from the state this morning in hopes of helping to turn things around there.
Georgia's State School Superintendent Kathy Cox will be meeting with teachers and the principal at Tubman Middle School this morning.
There have been lots of problems at Tubman, including the school not making Adequate Yearly Progress for the last eight years.
If things don't improve soon, the state could end up taking over Tubman Middle.

AIKEN SUPER TOUR

In her quest to visit all the schools in Aiken County, today and tomorrow, new Superintendent Dr. Beth Everitt will visit area 4 schools.
That includes North Augusta Middle, North Augusta High, and Paul Knox Middle.
Dr. Everitt plans to finish her visit to all 40 schools in the county by February 8th.

IT PAYS TO STUDY?

Some Georgia students will be getting paid to hit the books.
The privately funded "Learn and Earn" program will pay 40 kids around $8.00 an hour to study.
The group picked students in the 8th and 11th grades to be in the trial.
The criteria was based on attendance, grades, and financial need.

FREE TAX HELP

Free tax help for our military families begins today.
The Fort Gordon Tax Center at the Courtyard NCO Club on Brainard Avenue is offering the assistance.


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