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General news and features

County out third planning and development director in under a year

Pickens County Seal    While he would not release details at this time, Pickens Commission Chair Rob Jones confirmed Monday, July 6 that Alberto Torres is no longer employed by the county as planning and development director.  

     See this week's online or print edition for full story.


Georgia high court upholds hit man murder conviction


Published Monday, July 6, 2015


Please note: Opinion summaries are prepared by the Public Information Office for the general public and news media. Summaries are not prepared for every opinion released by the Court, but only for those cases considered of great public interest. Opinion summaries are not to be considered as official opinions of the Court. The full opinions are available on the Supreme Court website at .



            The Supreme Court of Georgia has upheld the murder conviction and life prison sentence of Chiman Rai, a native of India, who was convicted in Fulton County of hiring a hit man to murder his daughter-in-law, Michelle “Sparkle” Reid Rai.

            In today’s unanimous opinion in this high-profile case, Justice Carol Hunstein writes for the Court that the evidence at trial “was sufficient to enable a rational trier of fact to conclude beyond a reasonable doubt that Rai was guilty of the crimes of which he was convicted.”

Two sheriff investigations have Russian connections

    It goes without saying that Pickens sheriff investigators don’t see many Russian connections to their work. Detective April Killian said it was bizarre to see two unrelated cases this month, both with ties back to Russian financial criminals.
    In the first case, a 65-year-old Pickens woman unwittingly became involved in a Russian credit card fraud/stolen merchandise scam.

   To read the rest of this story, see our e-edition.

Hwy. 53 plans threaten homes in Marble Hill


    Six Pickens homeowners and one business would be displaced and several more homeowners affected by a Ga. DOT passing lane project in Marble Hill if work proceeds as presented Thursday during an open house.
    Maps presented at the public hearing June 18th at Foothills Community Church had big red dots marking homes that are in the way of the proposed passing lanes or that lie so close to the work they would not be inhabitable.

See full story in the print and online editions.

UPDATED: Fatal wreck on Highway 515

fatal on 515

Ricky Maddron, an “outstanding young man” was killed on his way to work Monday on Highway 515.

[Click here to read our editorial on the need for Highway 515 dangers to be addressed.]
    Hwy. 515 was shut down for five hours Monday morning following an early morning wreck that killed Ricky Lee Maddron, 34, of Ellijay. This marks the second fatal wreck along the Pickens County stretch of the highway this month. 
    Maddron was killed when his 2010 Chevy Impala crashed into a concrete truck on Hwy. 515 around 5:24 a.m. Maddron was driving south along the highway. Georgia State Patrol authorities say speed was likely a factor in the accident.