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Apparent murder-suicide under investigation

sherifflogoOn Tuesday, March 21st, deputies responded to an address on Burgess Road West in Jasper Georgia. The caller had advised that he had found his tenant in his home and he was not conscious. After arriving, deputies found 2 individuals in the home that were deceased.

During the initial investigation, it appears that a Mr. Perry Wayne Hightower killed Ms. Brenda Castleberry and then committed suicide. Hightower, 59 years old, was in a relationship with Ms. Castleberry, 62 years old. 

The caller revealed that he had went to the home with a family member of Ms. Castleberry after they had not heard from her for a short period of time, which was rare. 

At this time, the case is still being actively investigated by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation and detectives with the Pickens Sheriff's Office. No additional details are available regarding the case at this time.

Now is the time for real county planning, says Magistrate


Magistrate Judge Allen Wigington is leading an effort for more serious long-term planning for county government. Here, he addresses the board of commissioners on the subject at a recent meeting.


What is Pickens County going to look like in five years? Ten?  

A group of the county’s elected officials say without a clear long-term vision the future could be ruled by reactionary government instead of foresight and thoughtful planning.   

Speaking at the most recent commissioners’ meeting, Pickens County’s Chief Magistrate Judge Allen Wigington said the time is now for leaders and the public to begin work on a plan that will include internal governmental operations such as budgeting,  as well as a larger vision for the community and also economic development. 

See what else this group has planned in our print and e-editions.

Power could be out through tomorrow for some areas

roof work

     Damage to buildings and downed trees was widespread after a storm Tuesday night. Here, people assess damage to the rooftop of a building just off North Main Street in Jasper.     


     A violent storm blew through Pickens County last night,  March 21st, downing numerous trees and powerlines. Thousands of residents were still without power at lunch time Wednesday, and it could be tomorrow before power can be restored in some areas.

County EMA Director John Nicholson said no injuries related to the storm had been reported. He said they are aware of some roof damage to homes around the county and to commercial buildings, including the county's own public works headquarters on Camp Road. 

Latest Details: Deputy shoots man charging him with pipe after imploring him to stop and drop it

 "Don't make me shoot you," deputy implores before shots fired


A still-frame from dashboard video of encounter where a deputy shot Gary Lee Castle after he continued charging with a pipe despite numerous warnings.


Pickens Deputy Sgt. Travis Curran shot a man charging him brandishing a metal pipe around 1 a.m. Tuesday following a traffic stop on Lincoln Street. [Original report.]

Gary Lee Castle, 54, who lived on Lincoln Street where the shooting took place, was hit twice in the abdomen and  once in the arm by the 17-year-veteran deputy firing the sheriff’s office standard .40 caliber Glock pistol. Curran hit Castle with all three shots fired. 

Castle, who did not lose consciousness, was taken by helicopter to an Atlanta trauma center where he was listed in critical but stable condition Tuesday about noon.

A dashboard video from Curran’s patrol car clearly shows the events leading up to the shooting but not the shooting itself. 

See all the latest details in this week's print or e-edition.



Schools closed today due to downed trees

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Burnt Mountain Road, below the Pickens County Library, is one of many roads in the county blocked by downed trees. School is closed tomorrow due to many impassable roads in the county.


Press Release from the Pickens County School System


     Pickens County School District Closed Tomorrow, Wednesday, March 22, 2017.

     Due to downed trees and power outages caused by heavy storms Tuesday evening, the       Pickens County School District will be closed tomorrow, Wednesday, March 22, 2017.

     All school activities, including athletic events and after-school programs, will be canceled.

     All Pickens County School District Buildings will be closed.

     Additional information will be posted on the Pickens County School District website at, the Infinite Campus parent portal, district social media sites, and sent to local media.