McKinney murder, what happened that night? FYN Exclusive interview with survivor Anna Franklin

Featured, News, Police & Government

Blue Ridge, Ga. – Shortly after midnight, in the early morning hours of Dec. 4 gunshots rang out at a home on Elrod Lane in Morganton, Ga. The shots resulted in the murder of 33 year old Justin McKinney and a critically wounded second victim, Anna Franklin.

Not many facts have been released regarding the McKinney murder case, but 4 juveniles have been arrested and charged with the crime.

Surprise came to Fannin County as the arrests were announced. Fifteen year old Blake Dickey (AKA Blake Dye), 15 year old Hunter Hill, 15 year old Dalton Manuel and 16 year old Lakota Cloer were detained. Citizens were shocked to learn that such crime would come from a group of teens.

Franklin sat down with FetchYourNews to discuss the events that took place that night and to dispel rumors surrounding the possible motive of the boys.

Franklin and McKinney were about to go to bed when the couple heard loud banging coming from their front door. According to Franklin, McKinney answered the door to find Blake Dickey and Hunter Hill asking to come in.

According to Franklin, Dickey and Hill had told the couple that they “had to jump out of someone’s car and run but they didn’t say who or why”.

Fannin County, Georgia, Blue Ridge, Murder, 15 Year Old, 16 Year Old, Blake Dickey, Hunter Hill, Appalachian Judicial Circuit Superior Court, Judge, Brenda Weaver, Public Defender, Clint Hooker, Attorney, David Farnham, District Attorney, B. Alison Sosebee, Justin McKinney, Anna Franklin, GBI, Georgia Bureau of Investigation, Fannin County Sheriff's Office, Gainesville Regional Youth Detention Center, Elbert Shaw Regional Youth Detention Center, Fannin Regional Hospital, Drugs, Dalton Manuel, Lakota Cloer

Four teens charged in the murder of Justin McKinney (Left – Right): Hunter Hill, Blake Dickey, Lakota Cloer, and Dalton Manuel

“I would have never expected them two to do anything like that,” Franklin said about the boys. “Hunter and Blake always seemed like calm, good kids to me, and it does not make sense.”

Franklin acknowledged that the couple knew Dickey and Hill, and that McKinney had been friends with the boys’ fathers for years.

“All the Hill brothers used to come over and help Justin with his animals. He had a lot of animals and they would help him feed them and clean their cages and everything,” Franklin said recalling the relationship with the Hill family and added about Dickey, “Blake had always been real quiet.”

Once the boys entered the home, Franklin says that their demeanor became calm, not as it had been just moments prior when the boys where found banging on the door.

For the next fifteen minutes the two boys and McKinney spoke. Franklin says she sat on a nearby loveseat but didn’t hear what the three were talking about because she was distracted by her phone.

“There was no argument or nothing,” Franklin spoke of the interaction, “If somebody had raised their voice I would have looked up and payed attention.”

McKinney got up at some point to tend the fire, and that is when Franklin heard the first gun shot. She thought at first it was a loud crackle in the fire, but as the second shot came she quickly realized it was gunfire.

“After the second shot I looked over towards him (McKinney) and he wasn’t where he was,” Franklin continued, “I didn’t know if they were going to shoot at me or not. I just covered my face because I was scared.”

Two more shots were fired at this point, and one of those shots struck Franklin. The bullet went through Franklin’s arm and entered her face, shattering her jaw and lodging in her neck.

Franklin spoke of the bullet that is unable to be removed from her neck, “What they told me when I was at the hospital, it will cause more damage if they do it.” The wound has caused Franklin to lose feeling in the bottom half of her face.

After being shot Franklin said that she heard Hill yell Dickey’s name and the two boys fled.

“I didn’t see who pulled the trigger. I didn’t have time to look,” Franklin didn’t lower her arm until the boys were gone. “I don’t know if they thought I was ok or not, but they aimed at both of our heads.”

After Franklin uncovered her face she says she jumped up and shut the front door and locked it. She then turned her attention to McKinney.

“Then I ran to Justin. His eyes were open but I knew he didn’t see me. I tried to stop the blood with my clothes but couldn’t. It was pooling around my feet,” Franklin became emotional as she spoke of McKinney. “I had to leave him to go call them (911) on the house phone. My mind was not accepting that he was gone.”

Fannin County, Georgia, Blue Ridge, Murder, 15 Year Old, 16 Year Old, Blake Dickey, Hunter Hill, Appalachian Judicial Circuit Superior Court, Judge, Brenda Weaver, Public Defender, Clint Hooker, Attorney, David Farnham, District Attorney, B. Alison Sosebee, Justin McKinney, Anna Franklin, GBI, Georgia Bureau of Investigation, Fannin County Sheriff's Office, Gainesville Regional Youth Detention Center, Elbert Shaw Regional Youth Detention Center, Fannin Regional Hospital, Drugs, Dalton Manuel, Lakota Cloer

Anna Franklin with Justin McKinney. Photo via Facebook.

Franklin said that she never saw the other two boys (Cloer and Manuel) that have been charged in the case nor did she see a vehicle at her home.
Rumors have spread surrounding this case regarding a motive that would lead four teens to conspire to murder. Drugs have been a common theme among these rumors. Franklin wanted to set the record straight.

“It’s not what everybody keeps talking about,” Franklin said of the gossip about McKinney, “He smoked pot. He had nothing to do with meth or coke (cocaine) or anything like that. He was very against it. What they’re saying about those drugs aren’t true. He was very against anything that would hurt somebody like that.”

Hearsay has also come about that McKinney sold Hill’s older brother drugs that had an adverse effect on the young man and that the murder was revenge. Franklin said on this speculation, “That’s ridiculous. His brother might have had something, but it was not from Justin.”

Franklin acknowledged that it is possible that the boys had planned on robbing McKinney of his marijuana that night, but says that she didn’t feel like they were there long enough to have taken anything and said of her own speculation of a possible motive, “That’s something I can’t figure out.”

Franklin, who had been with McKinney for the last six years, wants people to know of the man who was murdered, “He was everything to me. He made sure that I was ok. He had a very good heart.”

“What happened will be forever burned in my mind,” Franklin spoke with tear filled eyes as she recounted the events that unfolded in the early morning hours of Dec. 4.

Related Articles:

Details emerge surrounding murder case in Fannin County

Fatal Shooting in Fannin County

Two more arrested in McKinney murder case

 

 

Fetch Your News is a hyper local news outlet that attracts more than 300,000 page views and 3.5 million impressions per month in Dawson, Lumpkin, White, Fannin, Gilmer, Pickens, Union, Towns and Murray counties as well as Cherokee County in N.C. FYNTV attracts approximately 15,000 viewers per week and reaches between 15,000 to 60,000 per week on our Facebook page. For the most effective, least expensive local advertising, call 706-276-6397 or email us at advertise@FetchYourNews.com

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Natalie Kissel

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Fannin County 4 percent under budget

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Blue Ridge, Ga. – With 83.33 percent of the budget complete, Fannin County Finance Director Robin Gazaway revealed that the county is in good shape and currently four percent under budget for the 2018 fiscal year.

Gazaway presented an overview of the county’s budget at the latest Board of Commissioners meeting. Showing the standing of the county budget through Oct. 31 of this year, most departments are reporting right at their projected spending or a little below.

The Parks and Recreation Department is reporting approximately $224,000 in revenue for the year, and the Hotel/Motel tax has produced record numbers for the county.

Special Purpose Local Options Sales Tax (SPOLST) revenues are also up in 2018. All of this added revenue points to a healthy economy in Fannin County.

A few departments showed overages with one being the Administration Department.

“The biggest difference is the health insurance cost,” Gazaway said explaining the slight overage in Administration.

The Administration Department recently took on the role of managing all healthcare costs and insurance, rather than having the cost divided among departments. This was due in large to protecting the anonymity of employees when it comes to healthcare.

Gazaway explained that this number will “level out” some as the county is reimbursed for monies spent and also pointed out that healthcare is an area of budgeting that is more difficult to predict.

The Public Safety Department also showed to be over their projected budget through October.

“Mostly that is due to the detention center,” Gazaway explained that Public Safety is another area that is difficult to plan ahead, “and that is something that just cannot be predicted. Most of the overages is due to the fact that there is more inmates.”

This point of interest regarding the Public Safety Department led to discussion about how spending is handled for inmates being held at the detention facility.

“Inmate medical is based on the number inmates,” Gazaway stated of the current system, “It’s not really based on if they are sick or not. They just have a set rate per inmate.”

Fannin County Chairman Stan Helton clarified, “I know that inmate medical and food, those two line items were quite a bit over for the year, and again it just gets back to having more inmates.”

Chief Deputy, Major Keith Bosen was present at the meeting and shed light onto the influx in Fannin County’s inmate population: “Numbers fluctuate. This time of the year they end up going a little bit higher over the colder part of the season. More crimes are being committed, as well as the holiday season is coming up. So you’re going to have some burglaries, people trying to steal things because people are buying them (gifts) getting ready for Christmas and the holidays.”

Bosen also added about inmate medical costs, “They either have this (illness) when they come in and they have no medical insurance and we’re stuck with it, or some do have medical insurance.”

“That’s just something out of our control,” Post 1 Commissioner Earl Johnson stated of the unpredictability of the matter.

Despite some departments showing slight increases in the budget for the year, Fannin County is still in good standing overall by being four percent under budget with less than 20 percent of the fiscal year remaining.

 

 

Fetch Your News is a hyper local news outlet that attracts more than 300,000 page views and 3.5 million impressions per month in Dawson, Lumpkin, White, Fannin, Gilmer, Pickens, Union, Towns and Murray counties as well as Cherokee County in N.C. FYNTV attracts approximately 15,000 viewers per week and reaches between 15,000 to 60,000 per week on our Facebook page. For the most effective, least expensive local advertising, call 706-276-6397 or email us at advertise@FetchYourNews.com

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Two more arrested in McKinney murder case

Featured, News, Police & Government

Blue Ridge, Ga. – Two more arrests were made in connection with the murder of Justin McKinney.

Fifteen year old Dalton Levi Manuel and 16 year old Lakota Ricky Cloer were detained last night. According to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI):

On Thursday, December 6, 2018, two additional arrests were made in this case. Dalton Levi Manuel, 15, of Morganton, GA was arrested and charged with murder and Lakota Ricky Cloer, 16, of Morganton, GA was charged with party to the crime of murder. Both will be housed in regional youth detention centers.

Still dressed in civilian clothing to pair made their way into a Fannin County courtroom for an initial appearance today.

Appalachian Judicial Circuit Superior Court Judge Brenda Weaver presided over the hearing and opened the court by questioning, “Have the families of the alleged victims been notified of today’s hearing?”

“They have not your honor,” District Attorney B. Alison Sosebee replied giving explanation: “We are waiting on information from the investigative agency, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, to get that final contact information.”

Weaver individually read the warrants against the boys charging each with the crime of murder and informed them of their rights.

Cloer, the older of the pair, told the court that his family would be hiring an attorney to represent his case, while Manuel expressed uncertainty and opted for a Public Defender.

Public Defender Clint Hooker was present in the courtroom again today to advise the defendants on their rights. However, there is an ongoing conflict of interest with Hooker’s team defending the boys due to having represented at least one of the alleged victims in the past.

“I have asked the public defenders office to sit and be with you today to make sure that none of your rights are violated,” Judge Weaver explained the presence of the defense team on hand in the courtroom.

Family members of the defendants were present in the courtroom, and the mother of Cloer spoke up about her son before dismissal.

Fannin County, Georgia, Blue Ridge, Murder, 15 Year Old, Blake Dickey, Hunter Hill, Appalachian Judicial Circuit Superior Court, Judge, Brenda Weaver, Public Defender, Clint Hooker, Attorney, David Farnham, District Attorney, B. Alison Sosebee, Justin McKinney, Anna Franklin, GBI, Georgia Bureau of Investigation, Fannin County Sheriff's Office, Gainesville Regional Youth Detention Center, Elbert Shaw Regional Youth Detention Center, Fannin Regional Hospital, Drugs, Dalton Manuel, Lakota Cloer

(Left to Right) Lakota Ricky Cloer, age 16 and Dalton Levi Manuel, age15, of Morganton, GA was arrested and charged with the murder of Justin McKinney.

“Lakota has had death threats against him, at the Marietta youth detention center, so if we could request him to be sent to a different location,” Cloer’s mother spoke on her son’s behalf and clarified, “From other inmates. They told him that if he came back they were going to kill him.”

Sosebee offered to inform the proper parties of the threats that have been made and allow the detention center to take any action needed.

“He did let them know at the detention center and I don’t know what actions were taken, if any,” Cloer’s mother replied and added, “I just want my son safe.”

Weaver agreed with informing the detention center of the threats, and told Cloer’s mother that the wardens at the facility would be told directly.

“Do you know with the ongoing investigation will there be others who may need a first appearance Monday or Tuesday of next week? Do you know if anyone else might be arrested in this matter?” Judge Weaver questioned Sosebee before adjournment.

District Attorney Sosebee replied that she would not be able to answer that question with the investigation still ongoing.

More charges are expected to come in the case, including those related to a second victim, Anna Franklin, that was also shot in the early morning hours of Dec. 4.

 

Related Articles:

Details emerge surrounding murder case in Fannin County

Fatal shooting in Fannin County

 

 

Fetch Your News is a hyper local news outlet that attracts more than 300,000 page views and 3.5 million impressions per month in Dawson, Lumpkin, White, Fannin, Gilmer, Pickens, Union, Towns and Murray counties as well as Cherokee County in N.C. FYNTV attracts approximately 15,000 viewers per week and reaches between 15,000 to 60,000 per week on our Facebook page. For the most effective, least expensive local advertising, call 706-276-6397 or email us at advertise@FetchYourNews.com

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Natalie Kissel

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Details emerge surrounding murder case in Fannin County

Featured, News, Police & Government

Blue Ridge, Ga. – The two defendants recently arrested for the murder of 33 year old Justin McKinney on Tuesday, Dec. 4 made their first appearance in a Fannin County courtroom today.

Appalachian Judicial Circuit Superior Court Judge Brenda Weaver presided over this initial hearing to establish representation for the defendants as well as grant permission for two motions being made by Defense Attorney David Farnham.

Arrest warrant for Blake Dickey

Both of the 15 year old defendants made their way into the courtroom shackled and displaying a calm demeanor. Blake Dickey (AKA Blake Dye) had already obtained legal representation through Farnham, but co-defendant Hunter Hill opted for a Public Defender.

Public Defender Clint Hooker was present to represent defendant Hunter Hill.

“I believe our office does have a conflict as we have represented at least one of the victims,” Hooker stated of the ability of his office to represent Hill. Due to this conflict of interest Hooker was only present to answer questions for Hill, but Hill’s Public Defender for future hearings will be assigned at a later date.

The boys sat quietly as Weaver read the charges, and replied with a “yes” only when asked if they understood the charges against them. Currently both juveniles have been charged with felony murder.

According to a press release from the Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI), a 911 call came into Fannin County dispatch at approximately 12:50 a.m. the morning of Dec. 4. The caller, 35 year old Anna Franklin, indicated that she and a male victim, McKinney, had been shot.

When Fannin County deputies arrived to a home off of Elrod Lane, McKinney was deceased. Franklin was taken to a hospital with trauma care for treatment.

Sources have told FetchYourNews that McKinney had received a fatal gunshot wound to the head, and that Franklin was also shot at point blank range. She, however, deflected the shot by throwing up her arm in a defensive stance.

According to these sources, the bullet entered and exited the arm before entering Franklin’s face and becoming lodged in the neck.

While both juvenilles have been charged with felony murder relating to the death of McKinney, neither have been charged with the attempted murder of Franklin.

Weaver addressed a consent order that she had received via Dickey’s attorney Farnham : “One of the things that was emailed to me was a consent order signed by you (Farnham) on behalf of your client and Ms. Sosebee on behalf of the state requesting a motion and order for blood test examination.”

Arrest warrant for Hunter Hill

Debate arose as to whether this testing had already been done with Dickey claiming that blood had already been drawn. Through further discussion it was determined that the blood drawn at the Elbert Shaw Regional Youth Detention Center was for the purpose of medical screening.

Parties agreed to have the blood testing done on Dickey. District Attorney Alison B. Sosebee explained, “At this point in time the current arrangements would be after the first appearance here there will be a transport of Mr. Dickey, also known as Mr. Dye, back to the Dalton facility. Prior to him being transported to the Dalton facility he will be taken to Fannin Regional Hospital for that blood draw to occur.”

Questions arose for the need of this test since the incident occured several days ago. This led some to speculate that the testing’s purpose is to check for drug use by the defendant.

Drugs have been a common rumor circulating via social media regarding the motive of the young men to commit murder. While there has been no confirmation of drugs directly relating to the crime, it is confirmed that family members of the defendants as well as the alleged victims themselves have a history of run-ins with local law enforcement over drug related charges.

Family members were not present at the hearing today which led to Weaver question counsel: “Were the parents not invited to the hearing this morning?”

Weaver also questioned if family of the alleged victims had been notified of the hearing. With short notice being given prior to this hearing, it was discovered that not all parties had been contacted.

“In the future we really need to notify the parents if we hear anything about hearings,” Weaver spoke to defense and prosecution.

“I just want to put on the record that I was informed that my client was taken from school, handcuffed, and was brought down for interrogation at the sheriff’s department without counsel and without his mother’s knowledge or any custodial parents,” Dickey’s attorney, Farnham, stated before dismissal at the hearing. “I do not want any further interrogation of my client unless counsel is present.”

Fannin County, Georgia, Blue Ridge, Murder, 15 Year Old, Blake Dickey, Hunter Hill, Appalachian Judicial Circuit Superior Court, Judge, Brenda Weaver, Public Defender, Clint Hooker, Attorney, David Farnham, District Attorney, Alison B. Sosebee, Justin McKinney, Anna Franklin, GBI, Georgia Bureau of Investigation, Fannin County Sheriff's Office, Gainesville Regional Youth Detention Center, Elbert Shaw Regional Youth Detention Center, Fannin Regional Hospital, Drugs

Dickey (Left) and Hill (Right) listen as prosecution and defense discuss future hearings.

This request brought the realization to many in the courtroom that after allegedly committing murder the two young defendants then went to school the next day, carrying on routine as though nothing had happened just hours previously.

Agreement was made that no further interrogation would conducted without counsel present. Weaver added of this decision, “Certainly that will go for both defendants because the court has now provided an attorney for Mr. Hill.”

Bond was not requested for either of the defendants at this initial hearing. Farnham stated that he would like more time to review all of the circumstances surrounding the case, and that due to threats being made on social media that there is a possibility that for, at least his client (Dickey), bond might not be sought at all.

After the hearing today the boys were transported to separate detention facilities. Hill will be transferred to Gainesville Regional Youth Detention Center and Dickey will return to Elbert Shaw Regional Youth Detention Center.

While both youths are being charged and tried as adults, Georgia state law mandates that they be held in juvenile detention centers until the age of 17.

If convicted of felony murder both Hill and Dickey face a sentence of life in prison. According to Georgia law since the crime has been committed while the defendants were only 15 years of age they are both ineligible for the death penalty.

More charges are expected as GBI continues their investigation, and there is rumor of a possible third suspect being involved in the case. FetchYourNews will bring you the latest as this story unfolds.

 

 

 

Fetch Your News is a hyper local news outlet that attracts more than 300,000 page views and 3.5 million impressions per month in Dawson, Lumpkin, White, Fannin, Gilmer, Pickens, Union, Towns and Murray counties as well as Cherokee County in N.C. FYNTV attracts approximately 15,000 viewers per week and reaches between 15,000 to 60,000 per week on our Facebook page. For the most effective, least expensive local advertising, call 706-276-6397 or email us at advertise@FetchYourNews.com

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Natalie Kissel

Natalie@FetchYourNews.com

Update – Fatal shooting in Fannin County

News, Police & Government

Blue Ridge, Ga – Update on Fannin County Murder Investigation.  GBI Press Release Dec. 5, 2018

 

Blue Ridge (December 4, 2018)- On Tuesday, December 4, 2018, the GBI and the Fannin County Sheriff’s Office arrested Blake Dickey AKA Blake Dye, 15, and Hunter Hill, 15, both of Blairsville, Georgia for the murder of Justin McKinney, 33 of Morganton, Georgia. They were each charged with one count of murder; however additional charges are pending.  Dye and Hill will be housed at the Elbert Shaw Regional Youth Detention Center.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

On Tuesday, December 4, 2018, at approximately 1:38 AM, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation was requested to assist the Fannin County Sheriff’s Office with a murder investigation.  At approximately 12:50 AM, the Fannin County Sheriff’s Office was dispatched to the area of Elrod Lane, Morganton, Fannin County, Georgia.  Deputies were dispatched to the area as a result of a 911 call in which the caller indicated she and a male subject were shot.  When deputies arrived on scene, the male subject, McKinney was deceased.  The female, Anna Franklin, 35 of Morganton, Georgia was taken to the hospital for treatment.

McKinney’s autopsy is scheduled for Wednesday, December 5, 2018.

Upon completion of the investigation, the case will be provided to the Appalachian Judicial Circuit District Attorney for prosecution                                                                                                                       Hill Booking Report

Dickey Booking Report

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Initial report below:

Blue Ridge, Ga. – The Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI) and the Fannin County Sheriff’s Office have confirmed that a fatal shooting took place in the early morning hours of Tuesday, Dec. 4.

According to a press release from GBI, a 911 call came into dispatch at approximately 12:50 a.m. The caller, a female victim, indicated that she and a male victim had been shot.

When deputies arrived to a home in the area of Elrod Lane, Morganton, Ga. the male subject was deceased. The female was taken to a hospital with trauma care for treatment.

Fannin County Sheriff’s Office did request additional assistance from GBI as is standard in cases of this nature.

Names are not being released of the victims at this time as it is an open and ongoing investigation. An autopsy of the male subject is scheduled to take place on Wednesday, Dec. 5.

More details will be released to the public upon completion of the investigation.

 

 

Fetch Your News is a hyper local news outlet that attracts more than 300,000 page views and 3.5 million impressions per month in Dawson, Lumpkin, White, Fannin, Gilmer, Pickens, Union, Towns and Murray counties as well as Cherokee County in N.C. FYNTV attracts approximately 15,000 viewers per week and reaches between 15,000 to 60,000 per week on our Facebook page. For the most effective, least expensive local advertising, call 706-276-6397 or email us at advertise@FetchYourNews.com

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Natalie Kissel

Natalie@FetchYourNews.com

Four life-flighted after car accident on Scenic Drive

Fannin County EMA/EMS, News

Blue Ridge, Ga. – A head on collision left four adults having to be emergency flighted to Erlanger Hospital in Chattanooga.

Fannin County, Blue Ridge, Georgia, Car Accident, Automobile Accident, Scenic Drive, Erlanger Hospital, Life Fore, Fannin County Emergency Management, Fannin County Fire Department, First Responders, Georgia State Patrol, Fannin County Sheriff's Office, James Dickey, Gary Patterson, Kimberly Patterson, Heather Seigler

Scene of head on collision on Scenic Drive.

James Dickey of Blue Ridge, Ga., was traveling southbound on Scenic Drive shortly after 9:00 a.m. on Thursday, June 7. Dickey had with him passengers, Gary Patterson (Blue Ridge) and Kimberly Patterson (Blue Ridge).

Dickey’s Ford F-150 crossed the center lane while navigating one of Scenic Drive’s many curves and struck a Ford Escape head on. The Escape was driven by Heather Seigler who is also a resident of Blue Ridge, Ga.

After the impact Dickey’s truck overturned onto it’s right side. Gary Patterson, who was not wearing a seat belt, was completely ejected from the vehicle.

The Escape, driven by Seigler, spun several times before coming to a stop.

Emergency crews were on the scene within 10 minutes of receiving dispatch and determined that the car accident victims would need to be taken to Erlanger Hospital, the area’s nearest trauma facility, for treatment.

Four Life Force helicopters arrived to airlift the victims who were all suspected of having serious injuries.

As of Monday, June 11, Kimberly Patterson and Heather Seigler are still admitted at Erlanger Hospital for continued treatment. Passenger Gary Patterson has been discharged from the facility. The condition of driver James Dickey was unable to be confirmed.

Charges involving the accident are pending.

 

Fetch Your News is a hyper local news outlet that attracts more than 300,000 page views and 3.5 million impressions per month in Dawson, Lumpkin, White, Fannin, Gilmer, Pickens, Union, Towns and Murray counties as well as Cherokee County in N.C. FYNTV attracts approximately 15,000 viewers per week and reaches between 15,000 to 60,000 per week on our Facebook page. For the most effective, least expensive local advertising, call 706-276-6397 or email us at advertise@FetchYourNews.com

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Natalie Kissel

Natalie@FetchYourNews.com

Domestic threat suspect apprehended in Fannin County

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BLUE RIDGE, Ga. – Law enforcement from Fannin County and Cherokee County, Georgia, worked together to apprehend a suspect with outstanding warrants in the city of Woodstock.

Fannin County, Cherokee County, Georgia, Recreation Department, City of Woodstock, Woodstock Police Department, Fannin County Sheriff's Office, Cherokee County Sheriff's Office, SWAT, Tactical Team, Kenneth Bethea, Satin Blakely, Domestic Threat, Day Camp, Warrants, Charges

The Fannin County Recreation Department kept the public updated as the situation unfolded.

The Fannin County Sheriff’s Office (FCSO) responded to a call early Tuesday morning of a domestic threat having been made at the Fannin County Recreation Department located on Tom Boyd Road.

According to witnesses, Satin Blakley dropped off her child for the Day Camp program at the Recreation Department, and informed staff members that her male passenger had made threats against her life. The passenger, Kenneth Bethea, was waiting in the car for her to return and, according to Blakley, had a gun.

Out of fear, Blakley refused to go back out to her vehicle, and staff members immediately notified the FCSO of the situation taking place.

Fannin County, Cherokee County, Georgia, Recreation Department, City of Woodstock, Woodstock Police Department, Fannin County Sheriff's Office, Cherokee County Sheriff's Office, SWAT, Tactical Team, Kenneth Bethea, Satin Blakely, Domestic Threat, Day Camp, Warrants, Charges

Kenneth Bethea after being taken into custody by Cherokee County Law Enforcement.

Fannin County Sheriff Dane Kirby stated when officers arrived on the scene, the suspect, Bethea, had already fled on foot. It is speculated that Bethea became nervous when Blakley did not return to the car.

Officers on the scene received a statement from Blakley and ran the suspect’s name. It was upon running Bethea’s name that it was revealed he was wanted by the city of Woodstock Police Department for outstanding warrants.

FCSO notified the Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office of the situation, and according to Kirby, “Cherokee County sent up a SWAT Tactical Team to help with the search.”

Kirby said that the two agencies then worked together “to flush the suspect out of the woods.”

The Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office took command in detaining Bethea once he was located and transported him to that county where he will be held for the outstanding warrants as well as a number of new charges.

Bethea is being held without bond and faces the following charges for his actions in Cherokee County:

  • Aggravated Assault by Strangulation;
  • Simple Battery;
  • Theft by Taking;
  • Unlawful to Possess any False Fraudulent document;
  • Cruelty to Children 3rd Degree;
  • False Imprisonment;
  • Obstructing person to make 911 call;
  • Criminal Trespass;
  • Kidnapping;
  • Aggravated Assault w/a deadly weapon;
  • Hijacking by motor vehicle (Car-jacking);
  • Possession of a firearm during commission of a crime;
  • Carrying weapon w/o license;
  • Possession of Firearms by convicted felon;
  • Criminal damage to property 2nd degree;
  • Criminal Trespass; and
  • Obstruction of an Officer.

 

Fetch Your News is a hyper local news outlet that attracts more than 300,000 page views and 3.5 million impressions per month in Dawson, Lumpkin, White, Fannin, Gilmer, Pickens, Union, Towns and Murray counties as well as Cherokee County in N.C. FYNTV attracts approximately 15,000 viewers per week and reaches between 15,000 to 60,000 per week on our Facebook page. For the most effective, least expensive local advertising, call 706-276-6397 or email us at advertise@FetchYourNews.com

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Natalie Kissel

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Lightning strike destroys home in Blue Ridge

Fannin County EMA/EMS, News

BLUE RIDGE, Ga. – A lightning strike is responsible for a fire that ended with the total loss of a family home in Blue Ridge.

The Fannin County Fire Department was dispatched to a call of a reported lightning strike shortly after 5 p.m. Thursday, May 31. After stepping out the door of Fire Station 1 in downtown Blue Ridge, Fire Chief Larry Thomas quickly realized that the reported lightning strike had resulted in a fire.

Smoke was seen from downtown Blue Ridge bellowing high into the air quickly turning from a light gray smoke to a deep black.

Fannin County, Georgia, Blue Ridge, House Fire, Lightning, Fannin County Fire Department, Fannin County Sheriff's Office, Community Emergency Response Team, Medic, Cohutta Wilderness, Wildfire, Fire Chief, Larry Thomas, Tankersley, Willow Creek Falls and Vineyard

Smoke was visible from the home fire in downtown Blue Ridge.

“Black smoke is what you get from house fires,” Thomas explained of the sight from downtown Blue Ridge. “The synthetic materials that make up a home and that are found in a home will account for this.”

Thomas described pulling up to the scene of the fire: “We arrived less than 10 minutes after dispatch and found the house 40 to 50 percent involved with flames that had already vented through the roof.”

When arriving on the scene, crews were able to move three vehicles near the structure. These vehicles are known as exposures.

Exposures are potentials for a fire resulting from another fire outside of the primary building, structure, or vehicle. In this case crews identified the vehicles as having a potential for resulting in a secondary hazard and were able to remove them safely.

Firefighters were also able to protect a nearby garage and two other vehicles from becoming part of the inferno.

The home located on Wild Iris Trail belongs to the Tankersley family, owners of Willow Creek Falls and Vineyard. While the family was not physically harmed during the fire, it has been confirmed that some of their beloved pets were unable to escape.

Despite time-saving tactics and added water supply, fire fighters were unable to save the home, and it was deemed a total loss.

While the weather of the evening aided in containing the fire to the structure, it also combated efforts to save the home itself.

Thomas stated the rains helped to keep the fire from spreading to the surrounding terrain, but the steady winds that accompanied the storms progressed the fire through the home.

“The wind would shift direction and that affected the high fire. It would actually force the fire back into and down through the attic space,” Thomas said, explaining how the fire spread, “and then the low fire was just eating its way in on the ground.”

Fannin County, Georgia, Blue Ridge, House Fire, Lightning, Fannin County Fire Department, Fannin County Sheriff's Office, Community Emergency Response Team, Medic, Cohutta Wilderness, Wildfire, Fire Chief, Larry Thomas, Tankersley, Willow Creek Falls and Vineyard

A tree near the home received a direct hit by lightning and is the cause of the resulting house fire.

The fire began as a result of a lightning strike to a nearby tree. The electricity from the strike moved through the roots of the tree where it made contact with underground utilities, and moved into the home.

Fires resulting from lightning strikes are seen annually in our area. Most notably seen in recent times, the Cohutta Wilderness Wildfire destroyed thousands of acres and lasted several months in late 2016.

“Lightning doesn’t have to hit your house to start the fire,” Thomas explained of the nature of fires caused by lightning. “It can strike anything nearby, a tree or utilities. It can then travel through the tree roots or underground lines, anything that conducts electricity, and reach the home.”

Firefighters responded to a second call of a lightning strike-induced fire on the evening of May 31. This strike had moved through a gas line connecting to a home. The homeowner in this case was able to shut off the gas supply and extinguish the fire before major damage was done.

“The best thing people can do, is just stay vigilant during these storms,” Thomas said as he acknowledged the unpredictability of storms and lightning in general.

Crews were on the scene of the house fire on Wild Iris Trail for approximately seven hours. A total of 22 firefighters helped to combat the blaze. Medics, as well as members of the Fannin County Community Emergency Response Team (CERT), were also present to provide emergency personnel with rehabilitation services such as oxygen and a dry area. Fannin County Sheriff’s Office responded to the scene to direct traffic.

 

[Featured image: The home located on Wild Iris Trail as fire fighters worked to battle the blaze.]

 

 

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