Update : Fannin County Tax Commissioner Arrested

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 Blue Ridge, Ga. – The Fannin County Sheriff’s Office (FCSO) has confirmed the arrest of Fannin County Tax Commissioner Shirley Sosebee.

The arrest was made shortly after 4:00 p.m. on March 5, 2020. Warrants were issued for Sosebee on charges of Forgery in the First Degree and Violation of Oath of Office by a Public Officer.

Sosebee has since been released on a $10,000 bond.

In a press release, FCSO stated:

“A complaint was filed by the victim to the Fannin County Sheriff’s Office that the signature on a deed to transfer title on a parcel of real estate had been forged. After a brief inquiry by the Fannin County Sheriff’s Office, GBI was requested to conduct the formal investigation.”

The Georgia Bureau of Investigation was requested for assistance on Feb. 27, 2020.

Fannin County Sheriff Dane Kirby did clarify, “The initial inquiry by the Fannin County Sheriff’s Office determined the complaint against the tax commissioner did not involve the operations of the tax commissioner’s office, but involved personal, family business.” 

The charges come after a portion of land inherited by Sosebee and other family was deeded over to Sosebee’s daughter. 

Quitclaim Deeds filed on Nov. 6 and Nov. 8, 2019 show signatures from Shirley Sosebee, Jeanette Holloway, and Raymond White Jr. signing the parcel over. All Quitclaim Deeds in the case are notarized by Kelly M. Hughes.

White signed an affidavit on Jan. 6, 2020  in Gilmer County claiming that his signature had been forged.  

White claims in the affidavit : 

“I did not sign or authorize the signature on the Quitclaim Deed recorded in Book 1319, Page 37 of the Fannin County Clerk of Superior Court on November 8, 2019. I have reviewed the Quitclaim Deed and confirmed that it is not my signature and I have never appeared before any notary regarding this matter.

Furthermore, the property described in Deed Book 1319, Page 37 was owned by my mother Kathleen White. I have maintained the land since the passing of my father John Raymond White in April, 2003. I have mowed and weeded on a weekly basis, bush-hogged at least once a year and cleared a garage that was in wreckage. After the passing of my mother in October 2015, I continued to maintain the property by mowing, weeding and bush-hogging.”

Sosebee, who had recently qualified to run in Fannin County’s 2020 Election as incumbent for the seat of Fannin County Tax Commissioner, withdrew her name on March 6 following these events.

Likewise, Sosebee’s husband, Larry Joe Sosebee, who had qualified to run for Fannin County Chairman, also withdrew.

“I would like to thank everyone for their support of me running for Chairman  and their continued support,” Larry Joe told FYN speaking of his decision not to run.

Shirely, taking the advice of legal counsel, was unable to give comment.

FYN reached out to GBI for comment regarding the investigation, but GBI also could not comment due to the investigation being ongoing.

Affidavit filed by Raymond White, Jr.

Quitclaim Deed signed by Shirley Sosebee.

Quitclaim Deed signed by Jeanette Holloway.

Quitclaim Deed with signature in question of Raymond White.

Warrant for Forgery in the First Degree

Warrant for Violation of Oath by Public Officer

 

 

 

Author

Natalie Kissel

Natalie@FetchYourNews.com

Update: Details about early morning lumberyard fire

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Blue Ridge, Ga. – The Fannin County Fire Department (FCFD) responded to a blaze on Tuesday, Sept. 10 that had early morning commuters concerned and commenting via social media on the size of the fire.

Lumberyard Fire

Fire visible to commuters on Hwy. 515.

Dispatch came out at 5:23 a.m. that there was a commercial fire in the vicinity of 27 Patterson Lane, just short of the Gilmer/Fannin county line.

Emergency personnel were on the scene within 7 minutes, and found that the source of the fire was a structure housing multiple loads of stacked lumber. Also on the property, owned by Charles Sisson, were other structures similarly housing stored lumber.

“They were reporting that it was a structure that was fully involved,” FCFD Fire Chief Larry Thomas said explaining what those who were first to arrive witnessed as the fire was already raging and growing by the minute.

The FCFD was able to set up quickly and began to contain and extinguish the flames. Fannin County Sheriff’s Office parked along Highway 515 to provide the fire department with a visible barrier for commuters to see. This allowed fire engines to shuttle water from a main hydrant to the scene of the fire.

Among those to respond were Engine 1, Engine 11, Engine 12, Engine 16, Medic 1, Medic 11, and Brush 1. Brush 1 is a brush truck which is a smaller 4 wheel drive vehicle equipped with its own pump and capable of getting into areas where the larger engines can not go.

For a brief time the woods directly behind the structure also became involved with the fire.

“It wasn’t traveling at a high rate of speed in the woods,” Thomas said of the fire’s path and added, “We did call Georgia Forestry in.”

Georgia Forestry Commission is equipped to handle brush fires. A team of two arrived from the department with a bulldozer and helped to put out the small amount of spread left in the woods. They also established a fire break to help prevent any more spread to the wooded area from the large structure fire.

fannin county fire department

The structure at the time of being fully involved.

The Georgia Forestry Commission then used the bulldozer to move extinguished lumber away from the woods to prevent any spread through hot-spots left in the lumber.

The fire was contained to the single structure without spreading to neighboring structures and was extinguished. Crews left the scene at 12:48 pm.

In total 14 firefighters from the FCFD responded to the early morning emergency and all left the scene without any reported injuries. No workers from Sisson lumberyard were present at the time of the fire.

Tri-State Electric Membership Corporation (EMC) responded to the property and reported that there was no electricity running to the building at the time of the incident. The cause of the fire is still under investigation. 

“The team did a great job,” Thomas said of the efforts of all involved. He expressed thanks to the Georgia Forestry Commission and the Fannin County Sheriff’s Office.

Thomas added, expressing his gratitude for those on the roadway, “Traffic got a little heavy because of the morning commute, but everyone on the road yielded to our vehicles as we went to the scene, and while we were shuttling water.” He would like to give a special thanks to those citizens traveling Hwy. 515 that morning for using caution while passing through the area.

 

 

Fetch Your News is a hyper local news outlet that covers Dawson, Lumpkin, White, Fannin, Gilmer, Pickens, Union, Towns and Murray counties as well as Cherokee County in N.C. FYN attracts 300,000+ page views per month, 3.5 million impressions per month and approximately 15,000 viewers per week on FYNTV.com and up to 60,000 Facebook page reach. If you would like to follow up-to-date local events in any of those counties, please visit us at FetchYourNews.com

 

Details emerge surrounding officer involved shooting in McCaysville

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Officer involved shooting McCaysville

McCaysville, Ga. – James Larry Parris, Jr., age 51, is facing multiple felony charges after an incident that occurred in the early morning hours of Aug. 30. The incident, a hostage situation, led to police using lethal force to bring the situation to an end.

Details are emerging of the events that happened shortly after midnight in the City of McCaysville. 

The McCaysville Police Department responded to a housing authority apartment complex after Fannin County dispatch received a 911 call. According to dispatch, Parris stated during the 911 call that no one was leaving the apartment alive.

Patrolman Bill Higdon was first on the scene and upon arriving at the apartment was immediately faced with an armed and belligerent Parris.

Parris had allegedly forced entry into the apartment, which is occupied by his ex-wife. A male friend of the female victim and a minor were also present at the time.

While Parris and his ex-wife have been divorced for many years, sources tell FetchYourNews that Parris had become enraged upon hearing that the male friend was present in the home. According to sources Parris and the unnamed male victim are blood related.

Patrolman Higdon established that Parris was armed with a 20 gauge shotgun and that there were three hostages present at scene. 

Parris told Higdon “not to come in the apartement” and verbally threatened the officer and hostages with bodily harm. At this point Higdon requested further assistance, to which McCaysville Chief of Police Michael Earley, Detective Captain Billy Brackett, Patrolman Cory Collogan, as well as members of the Fannin County Sheriff’s Office and Polk County Sheriff’s Office responded.

Earley, Brackett, and Higdon attempted to negotiate with Parris. Earley told FetchYourNews that negotiations with Parris “went on for quite some time and initially seemed to be successful”.  Through these negotiations Parris had agreed to put down his weapon and let the officers enter the apartment.

Once officers began to enter, however, Parris rearmed himself, picking up the shotgun and pointing it at officers while shouting, “Get out! Get out of this house!”.

With the immediate threat that Parris posed to the officers, Chief Earley took measures to end the situation and fired upon Parris, disarming the gunman and allowing time for officers to move in and make an arrest.

Parris was airlifted to a Metro Atlanta hospital where he was treated for non-life threatening injuries. 

Parris was released from the hospital on Thursday, Sep. 5. 

McCaysville Police Chief Earley, Capt. Brackett, and Officer Mark Chastain, were present at the hospital to escort Parris back to Fannin County.

Paris is currently being held at the Fannin County Detention Facility where he faces the following charges:

  • Firearm/Knife possession while committing or attempting to commit a crime
  • Criminal Attempt (A person commits the offense of criminal attempt when, with intent to commit a specific crime, they perform any act which constitutes a substantial step toward the commission of that crime)
  • Cruelty to ChildrenBurglaryDamage to and intrusion upon property
  • 3 Counts False Imprisonment
  • 6 Counts Aggravated Assualt

Fetch Your News is a hyper local news outlet that covers Dawson, Lumpkin, White, Fannin, Gilmer, Pickens, Union, Towns and Murray counties as well as Cherokee County in N.C. FYN attracts 300,000+ page views per month, 3.5 million impressions per month and approximately 15,000 viewers per week on FYNTV.com and up to 60,000 Facebook page reach. If you would like to follow up-to-date local events in any of those counties, please visit us at FetchYourNews.com

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Natalie Kissel

Natalie@FetchYourNews.com

No Bond For Child Molestation Suspect

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Child molestation

McCaysville, GA  – Kevin Joseph Warbington of McCaysville, GA, 32, arrested and charged with aggravated sexual battery and two counts of aggravated child molestation on August 21.

GBI assisted McCaysville Police Department with the investigation of Warbington after McCaysville believed Warbington had left the area and potentially the state. GBI reached out to Spartanburg County South Carolina’s Sheriff’s Office to locate Warbington at Jordan Road in Lyman, South Carolina.

On August 21, deputies located and arrested him on the outstanding charges in Fannin County.

Fannin County Sergeant Marc White and Deputy Eric Wood picked up Warbington from Spartanburg County Detention Center on August 22. He’s currently awaiting a bond hearing for his two counts of aggravated child molestation and one count of aggravated sexual battery.

Warbington’s suspected of explicit and disturbing molestation of a minor in two different instances in 2017 and 2018.

Magistrate Judge Brian Jones denied Warbington bond on the grounds of being a flight risk, posing a significant threat to others, risk of intimidating the witness, and potential to commit a felony.

The Braselton Police Department and the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office have also been instrumental in assisting the GBI and McCaysville Police Department with trying to locate Warbington.

 

4 Arrested in Drug Bust near Downtown Blue Ridge

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drug bust

Blue Ridge, Ga – Suspended license stop turned into a drug bust at a local Blue Ridge residence late Wednesday evening.

Four individuals charged with possession of amphetamines after the driver stops at passenger’s residence, and passenger enters the home.

Corporal Dustin Carder on patrol around 1:15 p.m. on Wednesday, July 31, noticed Nicholas Hill driving along Windy Ridge. Carder knew Hill to have suspended license from previous encounters and began a pursuit of the vehicle a Chevrolet pick-up. It contained two other passengers with prior offenses, Rex Harris and Christel Champion.

After attempting to head off the car on East Second Street at Hill Street, Hill noticed the car coming toward him and then turned onto a driveway on Hill Street. Once stopped, passenger Harris exited the pick-up and went inside.

drug bust

Hill’s suspended license led to the larger drug bust.

Carder instructed Hill to step behind the back of the truck and began empty his pockets, then a bag of pills fell onto the ground. As of now, GBI Lab has the pills for testing.

Hill was arrested for driving with a suspended license and schedule IV possession which carries a bond of $6,000.

Harris returned from inside the building and asked, “What’s going on?” Deputy Ethan Martin and Captain Rob Stuart arrived on scene to assist Carder with suspects, witnesses, and eventually search of the residence.

The property owner also arrived and told Stuart that he rents out several rooms in the house to different tenants. He gave Stuart verbal permission to enter the common area of the residence.

Once inside, Stuart met Margie Owens and followed her to Owen’s and Harris’ room. He found a glass pipe in plain view on the bed and something under the sheet. Stuart called for Carder to come inside and asked Owens to move the sheet. While moving the sheet, she attempted to grab the items but missed. She tried again, but deputies instructed her to leave it. They found a baggy full of crystal meth, another pipe, and on the dresser, a set of digital scale. Carder and Stuart secured the paraphernalia and stored it in the back of the patrol car.

Drug bust

Owens shares a room with Harris and claimed ownership of one glass pipe.

Owens arrested on charges of possession of amphetamine and possession of drug paraphernalia. She claimed ownership of the first pipe but denied knowing about the other drugs or paraphernalia.

At the time, Carder asked Harris for permission to search Harris’s truck, which he denied. Carder returned with a warrant for the Chevy truck and the residence. Harris told Hill to drive because he wanted to sit in the backseat and drink his beer without anyone seeing him.

The drug bust uncovered a number of methamphetamines and paraphernalia in Harris’ possession.

After a further search of the bedroom, deputies uncovered multiple medical syringes. Harris’ truck contained two plastic baggies: one torn and one with an estimated three grams of methamphetamines. It also had another set of digital scales and an open case of Corona.

Investigator Scott Galloway searched Champion’s side of the truck, including her purse. In Champion’s purse, Galloway found another plastic baggy with crystal residence and medical syringes.

Harris arrested for charges of possession of methamphetamine, drug paraphernalia, and open container violation.

Champion had syringes and meth residue in her purse.

Carder also detained Champion at this time for her outstanding warrants, possession of amphetamine, and drug paraphernalia.

A witness also in the vehicle said Champion knew nothing about the pills or drugs in the house. They hitched a ride from Bill Jones Wrecker. The witness also stated that Hill and Harris became scared and “extremely nervous” after seeing Carder at the red light.

Previous standoff foreshadows double murder in Morganton

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Blue Ridge, Ga. – A community was shocked to hear the news of a double murder in the small town of Morganton, Ga. The victims Amber Jackson, a young mother, and her child, 3 year old Ethan Jackson were found deceased from gunshot wounds on the front steps of an apartment residence located off of Underwood Road.

Also at the scene was accused murderer Joshua Fults, ex boyfriend of Amber Jackson. Fults was found suffering from what the Georgia Bureau of Investigation deemed an “apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound”.

Fults was arrested at the scene by deputies with the Fannin County Sheriff’s Office and transported via flight to a medical facility where for days he remained in critical condition.

Little is known of the events that transpired on March 4, and with the news that accused killer Fults had succumbed to his injuries and passed away on March 12, it is likely that not many details of that evening will ever be revealed.

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Amber Jackson and son, Ethan Jackson, were the victims of a double murder that took place in Morganton, Ga.

Police reports obtained from the Fannin County Sheriff’s Office and the McCaysville Police Department shed light into the psyche of Fults and the pattern of events that led up to that fatal evening in March.

A call was placed to 911 in the afternoon hours of June 30, 2018 and the subsequent events following that call may have been a foreshadowing of the tragedy that would later unfold.

According to 911 dispatch, Jackson placed a call fearing for her safety and that of her then 2 year old boy. Jackson told 911 operators that Fults had a violent past and had become violent with her on the Sunday prior to this event.

Fannin County Sheriff’s Office was dispatched to the scene and while in route Sgt. Bramlett was contacted by the McCaysville Police Department to see if assistance was needed.

Due to the McCaysville Police Department being in closer proximity to the incident, Bramlett told Patrolman Brackett and Sgt. Petty to proceed.
Brackett and Petty were first to arrive on the scene. The officers saw Fults sitting on the front porch of the residence, blocking the front door and holding a large hunting knife. As they approached, Fults looked at them and said, “Do not come any closer.”

Brackett and Petty chose at this point to stay back and Brackett began to speak with Fults in an attempt to deescalate the situation. While Brackett engaged Fults, Petty seeing the severity of the situation, radioed for additional law enforcement and an ambulance.

“I just want to die today,” Fults yelled to Brackett when questioned why he was doing this.

Brackett described Fults holding the knife to his wrist and his neck, threatening to kill himself: “Mr. Fults at times would calm down and then at times would become enraged and yell at me.”

Sgt. Bramlett and Lt. Stanley from the Fannin County Sheriff’s Office arrived next on the scene, and devised a plan with the McCaysville officers to get Jackson and her child out of the house.

“I continued to keep Mr. Fults’ attention,” Brackett described the actions taken while fellow officer Stanley was able to make his way to the back of the house and escort the two victims out of the residence and to safety.

The officers noted that Fults remained unaware during this time that his ex girlfriend and her child were no longer in the home.
Additional law enforcement arrived on the scene, including Fannin County Sheriff’s Office Investigator Arp.

With Fults becoming more agitated by the presence of the officers, a decision was made for the use of non-lethal weapons in hopes of bringing the standoff to an end.

“Upon Inv. Arp’s arrival, a plan was made to have Inv. Arp go around through the woods and get behind Josh,” Bramlett explained the decision and the plan that officers laid out, “Lt. Stanley was going to drive Amber’s mom’s vehicle to the residence and when Josh went to the vehicle, Inv. Arp would use the bean bag to distract Josh to get close enough to use a taser.”

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Mugshot of Joshua Fults from previous encounters with Fannin County Sheriff’s Office.

Arp was able to gain the tactical position he had hoped for, and Brackett convinced Fults to put the knife down and begin to approach the officers. As Fults approached, Arp shot 3 rounds of bean bags.

When seeing that the bean bag rounds had no effect on Fults, officers then employed the use of 4 tasers. The tasers also had no effect and despite being rushed by law enforcement Fults was able to make it back to his previous position and regain control of the large knife he had laid down.

Deputy Peardon with the Fannin County Sheriff’s Office recalled that “the male subject stated that he drank a 12 pack of alcohol prior to this incident” and this could partially account for why the non-lethal weapons had no effect.

“Mr. Fults would scrape the knife across his neck and did superficially scrape his skin causing it to bleed,” Brackett said explaining Fults actions once the knife was back in his possession.

Officers spoke with Amber Jackson at this point to see if she would be willing to have a conversation with Fults “in an attempt to bring a peaceful end to the situation”. Jackson agreed.

Surrounded by law enforcement and a distance away from Fults, Jackson waited while Fults agreed to put down the knife and kick it toward the officers. Once the knife was secured, Fults approached Jackson and spoke with her.

According to multiple statements from law enforcement on the scene, Jackson agreed to let Fults hug her and urged him to go to the hospital to get help. Fults agreed to Jackson’s pleas and told law enforcement that he would cause no further chaos and would cooperate allowing them to transport him.

Fults voluntarily got in the back of a patrol car and law enforcement proceeded to take him to Fannin Regional Hospital for evaluation, but the ride became riddled with numerous stops as Fults once again became combative.

The first stop, while en-route, came about when Fults complained of getting sick. Officers pulled over and accommodated him by giving him a paper bag for his nausea.

Getting back on track, officers had to pull over a second time when Fults removed his belt in the back seat of the patrol car and attempted to hang himself.

“Mr. Fults was extremely strong and fought,” Brackett recalls having to forcibly remove the belt from Fults possession. It was at this time that Fults was handcuffed and put in leg restraints.

Law enforcement continued on from the second stop and made their way to Fannin Regional, but by the time they arrived Fults had become more agitated and had managed to remove himself from the “leg hobble” and was choking himself with the handcuffs.

“He was still resisting inside the ER,” Peardon said of Fults arrival to the hospital.

Once at the hospital, Fults laid on the ground and refused to stand up. A bed was wheeled outside and officers were able to get Fults restrained. Fults was then sedated and released to the hospital.

While this incident was the most detailed and involved, it was not isolated. Fannin County Sheriff’s Office has responded multiple times to complaints involving Fults, including another 911 call made by Jackson in Sep. 2018 where again Fults was threatening suicide.

According to the North Georgia Mountain Crisis Network (NGMCN), a local charitable organization for survivors of domestic and sexual assault, “domestic violence is a pattern of abusive behavior or coercive control in any relationship that is used by one person to gain or maintain power and control over another”.

​NGMCN states on their website : ***If you are currently in a domestic violence or sexual assault situation and require immediate attention, please call 911 for assistance. When the immediate crisis is over we will be here to support you in safety planning, counseling referrals, temporary shelter, and other individualized services.***​

You can reach North Georgia Mountain Crisis Network by calling 706-632-8400.

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline website states, “We can all help prevent suicide. The Lifeline provides 24/7, free and confidential support for people in distress, prevention and crisis resources for you or your loved ones, and best practices for professionals”.

You can call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.

 

 

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

Bizarre trial ends with 55 year sentence for armed robber

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Blue Ridge, Ga. – In what might be remembered as one of the most bizarre trials to be held in Fannin County in 2019, a jury has found 22 year old Hamond Mormon guilty and Appalachian Judicial Circuit Superior Court Judge Brenda Weaver handed down a 55 year sentence in the case.

Mormon, along with his mother Melisse Mormon (aka Melisse Marmon) and cousin Rashad Morman, were accused in the Labor Day 2017 armed robbery of the AT&T store located off of Scenic Drive.

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Hamond Mormon was found guilty on 14 counts and sentenced to 55 years.

According to law enforcement statements, as well as surveillance footage from the store, Rashad and Hamond entered the store, both armed, and forced employees to hand over cash, personal belongings, and cell phones.

Melisse waited outside for the two to return and drove the getaway vehicle. The resulting chase between the trio and law enforcement involved speeds over 100 mph and only ended when Fannin County Sheriff’s Office Sgt. Jacob Pless disabled the suspects’ vehicle through use of a PIT (Pursuit Intervention Technique) maneuver.

A jury made up of 6 men and 6 women, with a female alternate, listened the state’s argument presented by Appalachian Judicial Circuit District Attorney, B. Alison Sosebee and watched the antics of Defendant Hamond Mormon unfold for several days.

Mormon made his intentions known to the court that he would be defending himself and opted out of representation by a public defender.

Mormon also exercised his right to declare Sovereign Citizenship, a move that has repeatedly been struck down by higher courts and considered an invalid claim.

According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Sovereign Citizens “believe that even though they physically reside in this country, they are separate or “sovereign” from the United States. As a result, they believe they don’t have to answer to any government authority, including courts, taxing entities, motor vehicle departments, or law enforcement”.

One of papers filed by Mormon to Judge Weaver and District Attorney Sosebee states: “As a true flesh and blood American and sovereign citizen, I refuse to participate in any colorable law schemes or practices”.

The first several days of the trial were anything but normal for members of the jury to witness and court staff to accommodate. Mormon, representing himself, would often refuse to acknowledge Judge Weaver as she gave explanations of court proceedings to ensure that he was aware everything that was going on.

Mormon also refused to wear clothes to court and instead sat in the courtroom cloaked in a blanket. Despite his seemingly odd behavior, an extensive mental evaluation was performed by the Georgia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities and found Mormon to be of sound mind and competent to stand trial.

On the day of closing arguments, Mormon refused to come to the courtroom all together, and Judge Weaver was putting her foot down as well stating that if Mormon did show he would be required to wear clothing.

Sosebee presented her closing argument to the jury and reminded everyone: “The State of Georgia is not required to prove the guilt of the accused beyond all doubt or to a mathematical certainty. It has to be a reasonable doubt.” Sosebee added to this, “We have in fact carried that burden.”

With Judge Weaver reminding the jury that Mormon’s behavior in the courtroom is not indicative of guilt and that the jury should only consider the evidence presented in the case, the 12 member (plus an alternate) was dismissed for deliberations.

Deliberation only took 21 minutes before the jury informed the court that they had reached a verdict in the case. The foreman stood and read a verdict of guilty on all counts. Weaver polled each jury member individually to ensure that each member had in fact reached this unanimous decision.

“This has been a little bit of an unusual trial,” Judge Weaver spoke directly to the jury before their dismissal, “I appreciate your patience with us.”

After the jury left the courtroom, Fannin County Sheriff’s Office Lt. Todd Pack was once again tasked with inquiring as to whether Mormon would like to enter the courtroom. Mormon had previously declined Pack’s offer for closing arguments and then again for the reading of the verdict.

Declining for a third time to enter the courtroom for sentencing, according to Pack, Mormon stated, “You are sentencing an artificial being. My name is not Hamond Dontel Mormon. I am not who they say that I am.”

Before handing down the sentence Weaver addressed her feelings on the case involving Mormon, “I guess of the three defendants I have a little more sympathy for him because of his background…than I have for the others.”

Weaver went on to explain that after having read Mormon’s evaluation by the state and given the details of his past that she felt “he never really had a chance”.

Mormon received a total of 55 years to serve 50 of those years in prison. A breakdown of the sentencing is as follows:

  • Count 1 – Armed Robbery – 20 years to serve
  • Count 2 – Armed Robbery – 20 years to serve consecutive to Count 1
  • Count 3 – Aggravated Assault – Merge w/ count 1
  • Count 4 – Aggravated Assault – Merge w/ count 1
  • Count 5 – Aggravated Assault – Merge w/ count 1
  • Count 6 – Aggravated Assault – Merge w/ count 1
  • Count 7 – Kidnapping – 20 years to run concurrent with Count 1
  • Count 8 – Kidnapping – 20 years to run concurrent with Count 1
  • Count 9 – False Imprisonment – 10 years concurrent with Count 1
  • Count 10 – False Imprisonment – 10 years concurrent with Count 1
  • Count 11 – Possession of a Firearm during the Commission of a Felony – 5 years to serve consecutive to Count 2
  • Count 12 – Possession of a Firearm during the Commission of a Felony – 5 years to serve consecutive to Count 11
  • Count 13 – Possession of Tools for the Commission of a Crime – 5 years probation to run consecutive to Count 12
  • Count 14 – Theft by Taking – Merge with Count 1

 

 

 

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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Double murder in Morganton. Suspect in custody.

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Blue Ridge, Ga. – The Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI) is now releasing the names of the victims of a double murder that took place on Monday, March 4 in Morganton, Ga.

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(Left) Victims Amber Jackson and son Ethan Jackson (Right) Alleged shooter Joshua Fults

The Fannin County Sheriff’s Office requested assistance from the GBI upon responding to a 911 call of shots fired on Underwood Road.

According to the press release, 31 year old Amber Jackson and her son, three year old Ethan Jackson, were found on the front steps of Underwood Apartments deceased from gun shot wounds.

Jackson’s boyfriend, Joshua Lee Fults, age 35 was also at the residence “suffering from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound”.

Fults was arrested on the scene and transported via life flight to a medical facility where he remains in critical condition.

Fults is facing an arrest warrant for the murder of Amber Jackson which has already been taken to the Fannin County Sheriff’s Office. More charges are expected to follow.

FetchYourNews will bring you the latest updates in this developing case.

 

GBI and Fannin County Sheriff’s Office Investigate Double Murder Press Release

Morganton, GA (March 5, 2019) – On Monday, March 4, 2019, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation was requested by the Fannin County Sheriff to assist in the investigation of a double murder occurring at 300 Underwood Road, Apartment 3A, Morganton, Fannin County, GA. The initial investigation revealed that Fannin County Sheriff’s deputies responded to a 911 call of shots fired at the Underwood Road address. Upon arrival, deputies discovered Amber Jackson, 31, and her son, Ethan Jackson, 3, deceased on the front steps of the residence from apparent gunshot wounds. Jackson’s boyfriend, Joshua Lee Fults, age 35, was located on the porch of the residence suffering from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound. Deputies arrested Fults at the scene and he was transported to a medical facility where he remains in critical condition. At this time, an arrest warrant charging Fults with the murder of Amber Jackson has been taken by the Fannin County Sheriff’s Office. Additional charges are expected.

 

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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Grand Jury indicts those accused in McKinney murder

Featured Stories, News

Blue Ridge, Ga. – A Grand Jury made up of 20 members convened on Feb. 20 and officially indicted those accused in the conspiracy to murder Justin McKinney.

Testimony regarding the findings of the investigation was presented to the Grand Jury. Among those to testify were special agents with the Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI), law enforcement with the Fannin County Sheriff’s Department, members of Fannin County’s Emergency Services, and staff from the GBI Crime Lab.

The witness list also included personal testimony from victim Anna Franklin, roommate Donald Majors and co-defendant Lakota Cloer.
After hearing testimony, the Grand Jury found that enough evidence was presented to indict each individual that had previously been detained in connection with the murder with a number of charges.

Trials for the accused are expected to move forward with the following charges for each individual:

***In the case of all charges the accused are being charged “individually and as parties concerned in the commission of a crime”***

Stephan Blake Dickey a.k.a. Dye

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, Special Agent, Jamie Abercrombie, Dustin Hamby, Captain, Justin Turner, Investigator, John Arp, Chief Deputy, Major Keith Bosen, Elrod Lane, Maple Grove Road, Chase Havard, Kevin Chamaty, Lakota Cloer, Levi Manuel, 20 year old, bond, Grand Jury, Brian Steel, Indictment, Malice Murder, Criminal Attempt to Commit a Felony, Felony Murder, Criminal Attempt to Commit a Felony, Aggravated Assault, Aggravated Battery, Home Invasion in the First Degree, Burglary in the First Degree, Possession of a Firearm During Commission of a Felony, Violation of Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, Tampering with Evidence

1 count Malice Murder
1 count Criminal Attempt to Commit a Felony
1 count Felony Murder
1 count Criminal Attempt to Commit a Felony
5 counts Aggravated Assault
1 count Aggravated Battery
2 counts Home Invasion in the First Degree
1 count Burglary in the First Degree
1 count Possession of a Firearm During Commission of a Felony
1 count Violation of Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act

 

Hunter Nicholas Hill

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, Special Agent, Jamie Abercrombie, Dustin Hamby, Captain, Justin Turner, Investigator, John Arp, Chief Deputy, Major Keith Bosen, Elrod Lane, Maple Grove Road, Chase Havard, Kevin Chamaty, Lakota Cloer, Levi Manuel, 20 year old, bond, Grand Jury, Brian Steel, Indictment, Malice Murder, Criminal Attempt to Commit a Felony, Felony Murder, Criminal Attempt to Commit a Felony, Aggravated Assault, Aggravated Battery, Home Invasion in the First Degree, Burglary in the First Degree, Possession of a Firearm During Commission of a Felony, Violation of Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, Tampering with Evidence

1 count Malice Murder
1 count Criminal Attempt to Commit a Felony
1 count Felony Murder
1 count Criminal Attempt to Commit a Felony
5 counts Aggravated Assault
1 count Aggravated Battery
2 counts Home Invasion in the First Degree
1 count Burglary in the First Degree
1 count Possession of a Firearm During Commission of a Felony
1 count Violation of Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act

 

Dalton Levi Manuel

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, Special Agent, Jamie Abercrombie, Dustin Hamby, Captain, Justin Turner, Investigator, John Arp, Chief Deputy, Major Keith Bosen, Elrod Lane, Maple Grove Road, Chase Havard, Kevin Chamaty, Lakota Cloer, Levi Manuel, 20 year old, bond, Grand Jury, Brian Steel, Indictment, Malice Murder, Criminal Attempt to Commit a Felony, Felony Murder, Criminal Attempt to Commit a Felony, Aggravated Assault, Aggravated Battery, Home Invasion in the First Degree, Burglary in the First Degree, Possession of a Firearm During Commission of a Felony, Violation of Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, Tampering with Evidence

1 count Malice Murder
1 count Criminal Attempt to Commit a Felony
1 count Felony Murder
1 count Criminal Attempt to Commit a Felony
5 counts Aggravated Assault
1 count Aggravated Battery
2 counts Home Invasion in the First Degree
1 count Burglary in the First Degree
1 count Possession of a Firearm During Commission of a Felony
1 count Violation of Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act

 

Kevin Jack Chamaty

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, Special Agent, Jamie Abercrombie, Dustin Hamby, Captain, Justin Turner, Investigator, John Arp, Chief Deputy, Major Keith Bosen, Elrod Lane, Maple Grove Road, Chase Havard, Kevin Chamaty, Lakota Cloer, Levi Manuel, 20 year old, bond, Grand Jury, Brian Steel, Indictment, Malice Murder, Criminal Attempt to Commit a Felony, Felony Murder, Criminal Attempt to Commit a Felony, Aggravated Assault, Aggravated Battery, Home Invasion in the First Degree, Burglary in the First Degree, Possession of a Firearm During Commission of a Felony, Violation of Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, Tampering with Evidence

1 count Malice Murder
1 count Criminal Attempt to Commit a Felony
1 count Felony Murder
1 count Criminal Attempt to Commit a Felony
5 counts Aggravated Assault
1 count Aggravated Battery
2 counts Home Invasion in the First Degree
1 count Burglary in the First Degree
1 count Tampering with Evidence
1 count Violation of Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act

 

Michael Chase Havard

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, Special Agent, Jamie Abercrombie, Dustin Hamby, Captain, Justin Turner, Investigator, John Arp, Chief Deputy, Major Keith Bosen, Elrod Lane, Maple Grove Road, Chase Havard, Kevin Chamaty, Lakota Cloer, Levi Manuel, 20 year old, bond, Grand Jury, Brian Steel, Indictment, Malice Murder, Criminal Attempt to Commit a Felony, Felony Murder, Criminal Attempt to Commit a Felony, Aggravated Assault, Aggravated Battery, Home Invasion in the First Degree, Burglary in the First Degree, Possession of a Firearm During Commission of a Felony, Violation of Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, Tampering with Evidence

1 count Malice Murder
1 count Criminal Attempt to Commit a Felony
1 count Felony Murder
1 count Criminal Attempt to Commit a Felony
5 counts Aggravated Assault
1 count Aggravated Battery
2 counts Home Invasion in the First Degree
1 count Burglary in the First Degree
1 count Tampering with Evidence
1 count Violation of Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act

 

Lakota Ricky Cloer

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, Special Agent, Jamie Abercrombie, Dustin Hamby, Captain, Justin Turner, Investigator, John Arp, Chief Deputy, Major Keith Bosen, Elrod Lane, Maple Grove Road, Chase Havard, Kevin Chamaty, Lakota Cloer, Levi Manuel, 20 year old, bond, Grand Jury, Brian Steel, Indictment, Malice Murder, Criminal Attempt to Commit a Felony, Felony Murder, Criminal Attempt to Commit a Felony, Aggravated Assault, Aggravated Battery, Home Invasion in the First Degree, Burglary in the First Degree, Possession of a Firearm During Commission of a Felony, Violation of Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, Tampering with Evidence

Cloer has already pled guilty to the lesser charges of two counts Aggravated Assault and one count Robbery by Intimidation. As part of the plea deal Cloer faces a 40 year sentence, 15 of those years to be served in prison with the remaining 25 years to be served on probation.

Cloer recently turned 17 years old and according to Georgia law is no longer considered a minor. Sources tell FetchYourNews that Cloer was moved from the juvenile facility housing him to a state prison on his birthday.

 

 

 

The Charges Explained:

The charge of Malice Murder is in direct relation with the shooting death of Justin McKinney. In the state of Georgia malice murder means the intent to take a life without legal justification or mitigation. In this case the State does not need to prove a motive in order to obtain a conviction but instead will attempt to show that the person accused deliberately intended to take another person’s life.

Criminal Attempt to Commit a Felony is in relation to the shooting of victim Anna Franklin. By discharging a firearm in her direction and ultimately wounding her, the accused are being charged with the intent to commit a specific crime. In this case the intent was to commit malice murder.

Felony Murder of Justin McKinney. Felony murder charges are brought about when the accused commit the offense of murder while in the process of engaging in other felony related offences. The State alleges in this case of felony murder that the following felony offences were taking place: Home Invasion, Burglary in the First Degree, Aggravated Assault, and Criminal Attempt to Commit Armed Robbery.

The State also brought charges of Criminal Attempt to Commit a Felony. This charge is in relation to the intent of the accused specifically planning and attempting to carry out Armed Robbery. This charge is further laid out in the accused’s premeditation of the event and the steps taken to carry out the crime.

Each defendant has been charged with five counts of Aggravated Assault. Each count is in direct relation with the crimes committed against both Justin McKinney and Anna Franklin and focuses on the use of firearms.

The Aggravated Battery count pertains to Anna Franklin and how essentially her body was rendered “useless” due to the gun shot she received that went through her arm and lodged in her neck.

The two counts of Home Invasion in the First Degree charges the defendants with entering the Franklin home without authority and with intent of forcible felony. This count explains that the accused entered the home with deadly weapons with intent to commit Armed Robbery.

Burglary in the First Degree is a similar charge to the Home Invasion in the First Degree in that it claims the accused entered the dwelling with intent of Armed Robbery and in possession of deadly weapons.

By conspiring to commit Armed Robbery with the intent to also commit murder, all five defendants face a count of Violation of Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act. The state shows that through the accused’s actions there was a pattern of conspiracy and criminal activity.

According to the federal law, The Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, commonly referred to as the RICO Act or simply RICO, provides for extended criminal penalties and a civil cause of action for acts performed as part of an ongoing criminal organization.

The three defendants charged with Possession of Firearm During Commission of a Felony are Dye, Hill, and Manuel. The counts claim Dye possessed a Rossi 410 shotgun, Hill was in possession of Grendel Inc. p-12 .380 handgun, and Manuel carried an Excam .25 caliber handgun.

Lastly Chamaty and Havard face charges of Tampering with Evidence by abetting Dye, Hill, and Manuel in the removal and concealing of the weapons used in the crime.

Follow FetchYourNews for the latest information involving the case. You can read more about the McKinney Murder Case by clicking the links below.

Fatal Shooting in Fannin County
Details Emerge Surrounding Murder Case in Fannin County
Two More Arrested in McKinney Murder Case
McKinney Murder. What Happened That Night. FYN Exclusive Interview With Survivor Anna Franklin
“Pop and Rob”: McKinney Murder Motive Revealed By Prosecution
Bond Denied for Accused McKinney Killer
40 Years To Serve 15: Cloer Accepts Plea Deal in McKinney Murder Case
Two Adults Arrested in McKinney Murder Case
$50,000 Bond Set for Chamaty and Havard in Connection with the Murder of Justin McKinney

 

 

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

Fannin County awarded excellence in school safety

Community, News, Rebel's Corner
Exemplary Board

Blue Ridge, Ga. – When it comes to school safety, Fannin County continues to excel and was recently acknowledged by local law enforcement and emergency response for their efforts.

“One of the things that I am very very proud with Fannin County, our school system, is the relationships we that have between our government agencies, especially the sheriff’s department and the emergency management services,” Director of Transportation and Safety Benny Long said explaining that all agencies play a vital role in protecting the youth of the community.

Fannin County, Blue Ridge, Georgia, Board of Education, Fannin County Sheriff's Office, Dane Kirby, Superintendent, Dr. Michael Gwatney, Possession of Weapons by Employees, GAMB, Policy, Firearms, School, School Resource Officer, SRO, Lieutenant, Darvin Couch, Safety, Emergency, Plan, GEMA, Georgia Emergency Management Agency, Comprehensive Plan, Mock Drills, Certification

Fannin County School System not only met but exceeded state requirements in the area of emergency preparedness.

Faculty of the school system often train alongside these agencies preparing for a number of scenarios and Long acknowledged that there is a comfort in knowing that Fannin County’s emergency personnel is “just a phone call away”.

Looking back on the past year, the Fannin County School System took a number of proactive steps in the process of making its campuses as safe as possible for all who attend.

At the April 12, 2018 Board Of Education (BOE) meeting the board introduced the GAMB policy. This policy was adopted and essentially gave Fannin County schools the option of arming personnel.

While the new policy definitely grabbed the attention of parents and residents alike, administration and staff had also been working in other ways to help secure campuses and ensure the safety of Fannin County children.

“We work diligently everyday to ensure the safety of our students,” Long said of the ongoing efforts, “If a child doesn’t feel safe at school, they can’t learn. Those are one of the basic needs that have to met.”

One element of safety that Fannin County is proud to offer is that a School Resource Officer (SRO) is assigned to each of the school campuses.

“This is a community effort by the Fannin County School System, the Sheriff’s Department, and Blue Ridge City Police,” Long explained of groups working together for the betterment of the schools.

Long spoke specifically of the resource officers in Fannin County stating that “it takes a special person to be a resource officer. It takes someone who loves the students, who wants to be involved, and who wants to make a difference in that young child’s life.”

“That’s the best set of eyes that we have,” Long continued to explain the importance of SROs in our schools, “when a student feels comfortable reaching out to our resource officers and confiding in them and giving them information.”

Fannin County, Blue Ridge, Georgia, Board of Education, Fannin County Sheriff's Office, Dane Kirby, Superintendent, Dr. Michael Gwatney, Possession of Weapons by Employees, GAMB, Policy, Firearms, School, School Resource Officer, SRO, Lieutenant, Darvin Couch, Safety, Emergency, Plan, GEMA, Georgia Emergency Management Agency, Comprehensive Plan, Mock Drills, Certification

Fannin County’s School Resource Officers credited with going above and beyond for the students.

Fannin County also has an emergency operation plan for the schools. This emergency operation plan has been in effect and constantly evolving since 2003.

The comprehensive safety plan covers a number of scenarios from weather and gas leaks to active shooters and bomb threats.

The plan in the past was vetted or checked by GEMA (Georgia Emergency Management Agency), but recently under new guidelines has been handed over to local agencies for approval.

Though local agencies are now in charge of reviewing the district’s comprehensive safety plan, it still must meet all requirements laid out by the state of Georgia as stated in O.C.G.A.20-2-1185.

“I’m going to brag on ours. Ours exceeds the minimum requirements by the state,” Fannin County School Resource Officer Lieutenant Darvin Couch said of the district’s most recent plan.

Active shooter drills were performed at the schools during the summer of 2018, but none of these drills have taken place while students were present.
Fannin County Emergency Management Agency (EMA) also performed a mock disaster drill over spring break of 2018.

Fannin County Transportation Department participated in this drill and school bus drivers got to experience the scenario of moving people during a disaster. This drill also included the setting up of shelter at Morganton Baptist Church.

Long informed the public that all schools have top of the line cameras in place, and that SRO’s as well as the Sheriff’s Office have the ability to remote access the cameras. These cameras are capable of producing clear images of not only people but also vehicles and vehicle tags.

Through the use of these high tech devices, security is able to pinpoint the “location of whatever the threat could be” and know “what they are getting ready to go into”.

Fannin County High School added 52 of these cameras in the months of March and April in 2018.

“We are working with all three of our elementary schools to work on a plan to control access at our elementary schools,” Long said of the ongoing effort to continue safety improvements.

“None of us wants to limit anyone to come to school with their child,” Long added. The school system wants parents and guardians to always feel welcome, but would like to know who and when someone enters a school building or campus.

The high school will experience a similar point of entry security measure with a “storefront” door being placed before the office at the main entrance. This door will require either a key card entry or for a person to be buzzed in.

Fannin County, Blue Ridge, Georgia, Board of Education, Fannin County Sheriff's Office, Dane Kirby, Superintendent, Dr. Michael Gwatney, Possession of Weapons by Employees, GAMB, Policy, Firearms, School, School Resource Officer, SRO, Lieutenant, Darvin Couch, Safety, Emergency, Plan, GEMA, Georgia Emergency Management Agency, Comprehensive Plan, Mock Drills, Certification

Members of the Board of Education along with faculty of the school system receive certification for emergency operations plan.

Beyond local networking with various emergency providers to our county, the school system was also in contact with the Georgia Secret Service Agency.

“We have actually reached out and have a contact with an agent out of Atlanta,” Long said, “and they are going to be working with us on some different measures that we can use to keep our schools safe.”

“Safety also takes on many aspects. It’s not only the school’s safety of the buildings, the campus, and the faculty, but also involves our faculty members and our employees,” Long stated.

SRO Couch presented the BOE with a certificate recognizing the work the school system has done through extensive planning in exceeding the requirements set forth in providing and updating a comprehensive safety plan.

Couch read from a letter written by Fannin County Sheriff Dane Kirby: “From tornadoes to terrorism, Fannin County faces a variety of ever-evolving threats, underscoring the importance of updating plans in cooperation with local public safety professionals.”

Kirby added in his letter,”I am pleased to inform you that your school emergency operations plans have once again successfully met the requirements of O.C.G.A. 20-2-1185.”

The BOE, administration, and staff continue to work within the community and access outside resources to provide the best safety solutions for the students of 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

Author

Natalie Kissel

Natalie@FetchYourNews.com

$50,000 bond set for Chamaty and Havard in connection with the murder of Justin McKinney

Featured Stories, News

Blue Ridge, Ga. – “What I am going to do here, is I am going to set bond at $50,000,” Appalachian Judicial Circuit Superior Court Judge Brenda Weaver made her ruling and granted bond for Michael Chase Havard age 20 and Kevin Jack Chamaty age 20, both of whom have been charged in connection with the murder and Justin McKinney and assault of Anna Franklin.

The terms of the bond are strict with both men being required constant supervision and a host of stipulations that if not followed will result in immediate arrest.

The courtroom was packed in Pickens County as the two young men each had lawyers present their case for being allowed bond.

Appalachian Judicial Circuit District Attorney B. Alison Sosebee recounted the events that led to the arrest of Havard and Chamaty in a written statement given by Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI) Special Agent Jamie Abercrombie.

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, Special Agent, Jamie Abercrombie, Dustin Hamby, Captain, Justin Turner, Investigator, John Arp, Chief Deputy, Major Keith Bosen, Elrod Lane, Maple Grove Road, Chase Havard, Kevin Chamaty, Lakota Cloer, Levi Manuel, 20 year old, bond, $50,000, Brian Steel

Defense Attorney Brian Steel presents the case for bond to be granted for his client Kevin Jack Chamaty.

According to Abercrombie both men knew of the conspiracy to murder and rob McKinney and aided in the act by providing gas and rides the night of the incident on Dec. 4, 2018 and also helped in disposing of one of the weapons used in the crime.

The GBI learned of the young men’s involvement after Havard voluntarily came forward and spoke with investigators about his knowledge and the roles that he and Chamaty played in the events surrounding the case.

Chris Hyde, Chamaty’s stepfather, was first to take the stand. Questioned by Defense Attorney Brian Steel, Hyde was firm in his belief that if granted bond Chamaty would return to court to face trial: “I believe 100 percent he would return, without hesitation.”

While Hyde is no longer married to Chamaty’s mother, Christy Hyde, Christy still resides in the home with Hyde and is currently serving 15 years probation for a methamphetamine and weapons charge in 2015. It was pointed out that Chamaty’s mother is serving under the First Time Offenders Act.

Gerald Patterson, who resides with Chamaty’s grandmother Rachel Newman, also took the stand to testify on behalf of Chamaty receiving bond.

Patterson who has resided with Newman for approximately 5 years, spoke of his belief that Chamaty does not pose a threat to the community, and like Hyde was willing to “put up his wealth” as a guarantee.

Sosebee took the court off guard as she questioned Patterson: “Is this the same Ms. Newman (Chamaty’s grandmother) that was convicted in 1990 of voluntary manslaughter for the shooting death of her ex husband?”

“Yes ma’am it is,” Patterson replied to Sosebee’s question.

Chamaty, himself, does have a prior record with law enforcement, but the nature of his charges were never fully disclosed in court. Despite Chamaty having a family with a history of run ins with the law, many supporters were present for the young man.

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, Special Agent, Jamie Abercrombie, Dustin Hamby, Captain, Justin Turner, Investigator, John Arp, Chief Deputy, Major Keith Bosen, Elrod Lane, Maple Grove Road, Chase Havard, Kevin Chamaty, Lakota Cloer, Levi Manuel, 20 year old, bond, $50,000, Brian Steel

The gallery stood to show their support of Chamaty and Havard.

After testimony from Hyde and Patterson, neither of whom have criminal backgrounds, Defense Attorney Steel turned to the courtroom gallery and asked those there to support Chamaty to please stand: “If you would do me a courtesy, if you would please stand in your place if you have come here today to support bond being granted for Mr. Chamaty.”

Approximately 30 people rose and remained standing as they testified their belief that Chamaty would in fact return to court and does not pose a threat to the community. Chamaty became visibly emotional during this phase.

“Nobody is in any way diminishing the loss of life for any person or living creature, but here we stand before the court in a position where Mr. Chamaty is cloaked with the presumption of innocence,” Steel concluded his case and pointed to the fact that Chamaty had followed a legal process in dealing with this case thus far and had voluntarily turned himself in.

Sosebee argued for the court to deny bond questioning why a 20 year old would be living with a 16 year old (Lakota Cloer : co-defendant in the case) and pointing to lack of accountability by the family prior to the incident.

“There are several juveniles in this court right now,” Sosebee said explaining that Chamaty’s pattern of behavior was likely not to change. “As a matter of fact we have the sister of Lakota Cloer who present in the gallery now, here in support of Mr. Chamaty. The connections, the continuation that Mr. Chamaty has with the witnesses in this case have not ceased.”

Sosebee added that while Chamaty had voluntarily turned himself, he had also “voluntarily facilitated the commission of those acts” in the crimes he is alleged to have participated in on Dec. 4.

Ultimately, Weaver granted bond set at $50,000. Along with this bond, Chamaty must be under constant supervision from Mr. Hyde including going to work.

“Mr. Hyde now has a shadow on him,” Weaver said of her ruling, “I am putting the burden on Mr. Hyde.”

Chamaty will be under house arrest and only allowed to leave with Mr. Hyde for work, church, medical or legal appointments. Chamaty will also be subjected to random drug testing in which he must call every morning to find out if he will be tested that day.

No contact with victims or co-defendants including co-defendant’s families will be allowed, and a curfew of 8 p.m. is set in place. Both Hyde and Patterson put up their personal property to insure the bond.

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, Special Agent, Jamie Abercrombie, Dustin Hamby, Captain, Justin Turner, Investigator, John Arp, Chief Deputy, Major Keith Bosen, Elrod Lane, Maple Grove Road, Chase Havard, Kevin Chamaty, Lakota Cloer, Levi Manuel, 20 year old, bond, $50,000, Brian Steel

Havard and Chamaty sit with their attorneys awaiting Weaver’s decision to grant bond.

Havard’s terms of bond were very similar to the parameters set in place by Weaver for Chamaty’s bond.

Havard’s father, Chris Havard, spoke on his son’s behalf. He explained that his son had contacted him regarding the events that took place on Dec. 4 and that he had advised his son to go to the police in which Havard did almost immediately.

Havard, after speaking with investigators, then went to stay with his father who resides in Raleigh, Nc. According to Chris Havard, “I decided to pick him up and bring him to Raleigh.”

When the young man was informed of a warrant out for his arrest, Chris Havard made arrangements for his son to voluntarily turn himself in: “I personally drove him there (back to Fannin County).”

Havard’s father explained that while he would like for his son to return with him to North Carolina if granted bond, he understood that that might not be possible and had made arrangements for his son to live with his grandmother in Ellijay, Ga.

Diane Conway, Havard’s grandmother took the stand to confirm that she would take responsibility upon Havard’s release.

Conway admitted to being very upset by the events that have taken place but still would do anything to help her grandson: “I believe in him.”

Despite her belief in her grandson, she also has a firm belief in the law and when questioned whether she understood that if Havard violated any of the terms of the bond that he would be placed under custody she nodded and replied, “I would report him,” and added “He’s just going to have to go with me wherever I go. I have no problem with it.”

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, Special Agent, Jamie Abercrombie, Dustin Hamby, Captain, Justin Turner, Investigator, John Arp, Chief Deputy, Major Keith Bosen, Elrod Lane, Maple Grove Road, Chase Havard, Kevin Chamaty, Lakota Cloer, Levi Manuel, 20 year old, bond, $50,000, Brian Steel

Judge Weaver expressed her thoughts on the responsibility of all involved in the case.

“If he’s to work, I don’t know how I would do that. I would just have to keep him at home with me,” Conway did express concern about being unable to supervise him on a job.

The court handed down the same stipulations of bond that were set forth for Chamaty with the exception that the bond could be amended if Havard gained employment and at a minimum would be required to where an electronic monitoring device while at work.

Both Conway and Chris Havard put up personal property to insure Havard’s bond. All insurances by both families will need to be approved by the Fannin County Sheriff’s Office prior to release.

The bond issued will also cover any further charges that might be handed down by a Grand Jury.

Judge Weaver shared her thoughts on the circumstances surrounding the McKinney murder case: “Frankly, I’m just not real happy with the parents or grandparents of any of these children. In every one of these defendants, these children were basically let go their entire life. Which we don’t do that as parents.”

“None of this should have ever occurred because somebody should have known where these kids were,” Weaver continued to address the court, “That’s not how you raise children. I think every bit of this could have been prevented if the parents were just exercising what they should be doing as parents to begin with, which is knowing where there children are on a school night at 1 o’clock in the morning.”

All suspects are expected to face a Grand Jury soon in Fannin County and move forward to trial.

You can read more about the McKinney Murder Case by following the links below:

Fatal Shooting in Fannin County
Details Emerge Surrounding Murder Case in Fannin County
Two More Arrested in McKinney Murder Case
McKinney Murder. What Happened That Night. FYN Exclusive Interview With Survivor Anna Franklin
“Pop and Rob”: McKinney Murder Motive Revealed By Prosecution
Bond Denied for Accused McKinney Killer
40 Years To Serve 15: Cloer Accepts Plea Deal in McKinney Murder Case
Two Adults 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

Author

Natalie Kissel

Natalie@FetchYourNews.com

Two adults have now been arrested in McKinney Murder Case

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Blue Ridge, Ga. – Two more have been arrested in the McKinney murder case.


Twenty year old Michael Chase Havard and twenty year old Kevin Jack Chamaty. Both individuals are being charged with murder.


Attention was first drawn to Havard and Chamaty when Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI) Special Agent Jamie Abercrombie testified at an initial appearance and bond hearing for the juveniles also charged in the case.

(Left to Right) Kevin Jack Chamaty (Age :20) and Micheal Chase Havard (Age :20) have been charged in connection with the murder of Justin McKinney.


According to Abercrombie another individual came forward on night of Wednesday Dec. 5, 2018. Havard voluntarily arrived at the Fannin County Sheriff’s Office and told staff that he had information regarding the McKinney murder.


Abercrombie said, “Havard provided a written statement.” The Special Agent also told about how Havard shed light onto the shooter of Franklin.


Havard was visiting a friend, Kevin Chamaty, who resided at Lakota Cloer’s residence on Dec. 3. Cloer who had been charged in the McKinney murder accepted a plea deal in which he will have to serve 15 years behind bars.


It was during this visit that Havard recalled Hunter Hill, Blake Dickey, both of which have been charged with the murder of Justin McKinney and assault of Anna Franklin, along with Cloer and another individual, 15 year old Levi Manuel, were discussing the plans to “pop and rob” McKinney.


According to the interview with Havard, Hill said that the four were “going to rob someone who had marijuana and pills” and asked Havard if he wanted in. Hill also told Havard that they were going to shoot everyone there and take whatever they have.


Havard declined and left with friend Chamaty to go to Walmart. Chamaty received a call later that night in the early morning hours of Dec. 4 from Cloer. Cloer stated that he was on Maple Grove Road and was in need of gas.


Havard and Chamaty drove to meet Cloer and gave him gas for his truck. Cloer was by himself and told Havard that he had dropped off Hill, Dickey and Manuel on Elrod Lane.


Having not heard from Manuel, Havard and Cloer went to look for the three. Chamaty parked at a church and waited for Havard to return.


As Havard walked down Elrod Lane, he says that he saw a light and heard “it’s me” in a voice that he recognized as Manuel.


Once back to Cloer’s truck the juveniles, along with Havard, met Chamaty and proceeded back to the Cloer residence.


“Mr. Hill had made statements that everyone was dead,” Abercrombie recalled Havard’s testimony. Havard also stated that Manuel made comments that he had unloaded a clip into the girl and that Hill, who was last out of the residence, stated that he had finished Franklin off and killed Donald Majors, a third resident who was present at the Franklin home where McKinney had been murdered.


The boys at this point believed that everyone in the home was deceased.
Havard stated that Manuel was the one who had the .25 caliber handgun, and admitted that he had advised Cloer to dispose of the weapon.


Cloer attempted to scratch off the serial numbers on the handgun before getting rid of the weapon. Chamaty then drove Havard and Cloer to the “cliffs at Nottely Lake” where Cloer threw the gun into the water.


Havard later took FCSO Investigator John Arp and GBI Special Agent Abercrombie to Nottely Lake and showed where the handgun had been thrown. With the help of divers the gun was recovered.


FetchYourNews will keep you up-to-date as further details emerge surrounding the 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

Natalie@FetchYourNews.com

40 years to serve 15: Cloer accepts plea deal in McKinney murder case

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Blue Ridge, Ga. – There was a noticeable absence at the preliminary hearing that was held regarding the death of Justin McKinney and the deadly assault of Anna Franklin.

In the courtroom were Blake Dickey (also known as Blake Dye), Hunter Hill, and attorney Bruce Harvey who spoke on behalf of his client Levi Manuel. All three boys have been accused in the shooting death of McKinney that took place on Dec. 4, 2018.

Not in the courtroom during this initial phase was the fourth juvenile accused in the case, Lakota Cloer, and while his attorney Charles Fulcher was present, unlike Harvey, he did not speak to his client’s absence.

After bond was denied in the case of accused shooter Blake Dickey, the courtroom cleared, and Lakota Cloer was brought in. Cloer’s family, along with family members of Justin McKinney, watched as Cloer plead guilty to lesser charges. Emotions were high on both sides.

Appalachian Judicial Circuit District Attorney B. Alison Sosebee spoke first, “We have reached a negotiated plea offer. This is a 3 count felony accusation.”

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, Special Agent, Jamie Abercrombie, Dustin Hamby, Captain, Justin Turner, Investigator, John Arp, Chief Deputy, Major Keith Bosen, Elrod Lane, Maple Grove Road, Chase Havard, Kevin Shamaty, Lakota Cloer, Levi Manuel, Bruce Harvey

16 year old Lakota Cloer was arrested in Dec. 2018 for his role in the McKinney murder.

Sosebee explained that family members of the victims had been notified of this deal, and that there had been extensive discussions with defense attorney Fulcher.

The new charges that were agreed upon as part of this arrangement are:

1 Count Aggravated Assault : This charge is in relation to victim Justin McKinney. Cloer is being charged in aiding and abetting in this crime, as well as having knowledge of the crime.

1 County Robbery by Intimidation: This charge is in relation to the motive that ultimately ended in the death of McKinney and the serious injury of Franklin. As with the other charges this applies to Cloer since he engaged in discussion and planning of the crime. Along with aiding and abetting Cloer also admits to providing a gun to co-defendant Levi Manuel.

1 Count Aggravated Assault: This charge is in relation to victim Anna Franklin. Cloer admits guilt to intentionally aiding and abetting in this crime that involved the use of a deadly weapon.

By reaching a plea bargain, Cloer waived several rights including that to have a trial by jury and for his case to be seen in front of a grand jury.

It was revealed during this hearing that Cloer had previously been diagnosed with bipolar disorder and had been and is currently on medication to combat symptoms. Despite this diagnosis no competency or psychological testing was performed to evaluate Cloer’s state of mind.

Fulcher having spoke with his client, Cloer, on many occasions felt that he was competent to make decisions and said to the court: “I don’t have any concerns whatsoever about his competency. He understands the consequences of the decisions that he makes today.”

Appalachian Judicial District Chief Superior Court Judge Brenda Weaver asked Cloer a series of questions to satisfy the court of Cloer’s competency and to have a record of his replies.

Weaver also questioned Cloer’s mother, Amanda McGaha, about her feelings on her son’s mental state and if she felt Cloer understood what was happening in the courtroom. McGaha replied that she was confident that her son understood the proceedings now that he was on proper medication.

Cloer was able to reply clearly to each question asked by Judge Weaver which allowed the proceedings to move forward.

Weaver explained that sentencing for his plea would take place that day, but that a restitution hearing would be scheduled at a later date. A restitution hearing will determine what, if any, payments Cloer will have to pay to the victims for the harm caused by his wrongful acts.

After thoroughly explaining what a plea deal means and giving a detailed account of what rights Cloer would be waiving by pleading guilty and accepting the charges, Weaver asked Cloer, “Has anyone used any force, threat, pressure, or intimidation that caused you to enter this plea?”

Cloer replied, “No, you honor.”

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, Special Agent, Jamie Abercrombie, Dustin Hamby, Captain, Justin Turner, Investigator, John Arp, Chief Deputy, Major Keith Bosen, Elrod Lane, Maple Grove Road, Chase Havard, Kevin Shamaty, Lakota Cloer, Levi Manuel, Bruce Harvey

Cloer sets alongside accused Levi Manuel at a first appearance in Fannin County.

With that the sentence was handed down.

For the first Count of Aggravated Assault in relation to Justin McKinney, Cloer is sentence to 20 years having to serve 15 of those years in the Georgia State Prison System.

The second Count of Robbery by Intimidation will have Cloer serving 10 years in the Georgia Prison System. This sentence is to run concurrent with the sentencing from Count One.

Lastly, Cloer was sentenced to 20 years of probation for the Aggravated Assault of Anna Franklin. This sentence is to run consecutively with the sentencing from Count One.

Overall, Cloer received a 40 year sentence, 15 of those years to be served in prison with the remaining 25 years to be served on probation.

A victim impact statement prepared by McKinney’s mother, Debra McKinney Bignardi, was read by District Attorney Sosebee.

According to this statement, at the time of McKinney’s murder the family was also dealing with the impending loss of one of McKinney’s nephews “who spent his last days on Earth mourning the loss of his uncle”.

Bignardi was left wondering why. Why the death of her son, why if he had done something wrong that the boys did not feel that he too deserved a fair trial as they were getting.

She noted 6 families were victims of this crime, and that by taking the life of her son, Justin McKinney, that the boys had also in a sense taken their own lives, and that all the families are left to mourn the future.

Bignardi pleaded that the boys be able to find programs while in prison to provide some sort of rehabilitation: “Our hope is that when these young men are released from prison they are not worse off than when they went in.”

After the emotional victim impact statement was read, Judge Weaver spoke to the court, “It is never easy to sentence young people.”

“This is a tragedy in every sense of the word,” Weaver went on and expressed hope that others will learn from this. Weaver stated that she hopes for youth to recognize and stay away from activities that can lead to criminal behavior, and that parents will be more involved in their children’s lives, knowing who they are with and knowing where they are.

Weaver concluded the hearing by saying, “My heart goes out to all of the individuals involved in this case.”

As court was recessed Cloer was allowed to briefly speak to his family. The group shared a very emotional goodbye before Cloer was escorted out of the Fannin County courtroom to begin his sentence for his part in the McKinney murder case.

You can read more about the McKinney Murder Case by following the links below:

Fatal Shooting in Fannin County

Details Emerge Surrounding Murder Case in Fannin County

Two More Arrested in McKinney Murder Case

McKinney Murder. What Happened That Night. FYN Exclusive Interview With Survivor Anna Franklin

“Pop and Rob”: McKinney Murder Motive Revealed By Prosecution

Bond Denied for Accused McKinney Killer

 

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

Author

Natalie Kissel

Natalie@FetchYourNews.com

Bond denied for accused McKinney killer

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Blue Ridge, Ga. – Only one of the four accused in the McKinney murder case sought bond after the preliminary hearing took place in a Fannin County Courtroom.

Appalachian Judicial Circuit Superior Court Judge Brenda Weaver presided over the case and as the preliminary hearing came to a close stated, “The Court does find that probable cause has been established.”

The State had met their burden of proof in establishing a case against the boys being charged with Malice Murder, Felony Murder, Aggravated Assault, and Aggravated Battery. Now the burden of proof fell upon the defense to satisfy reasoning for letting any of the boys out on bond.

Fifteen year old Blake Dickey (also known as Blake Dye) sat alongside his attorney David Farnham as the court began the bond hearing.

Farnham argued that his client, Dickey, should be considered for release, and did in fact satisfy all the factors required by state law in Georgia for this consideration.

According to Farnham, Dickey had no prior convictions and had never been involved in anything violent in his life. If released Dickey did not pose a threat to the community and was not a risk for intimidation of any witnesses.

Farnham went on that if the court granted bond, Dickey would return to school where he would be supervised by a panel of teachers and that Dickey would begin residing with his mother where he would be under constant supervision at home.

Lastly Farnham pointed out that both of Dickey’s parents reside in Fannin County and said, “”He’s not a flight risk, Judge. His entire family is here.”

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, Special Agent, Jamie Abercrombie, Dustin Hamby, Captain, Justin Turner, Investigator, John Arp, Chief Deputy, Major Keith Bosen, Elrod Lane, Maple Grove Road, Chase Havard, Kevin Shamaty, Lakota Cloer, Levi Manuel, Bruce Harvey

Accused Blake Dickey (left) sits next to accused Hunter Hill at a previous hearing.

The Appalachian Judicial Circuit District Attorney, B. Alison Sosebee stepped in and presented her thoughts regarding the bonding of Dickey.

Sosebee pointed out that prior to the arrest Dickey was residing with the Hill family and added of the boys, “They were in an unsupervised environment, that clearly allows them to travel at will.”

While Farnham had stated his case for release, Sosebee argued that he had failed to present sufficient evidence backing his claims, which is required by Georgia law for cases of this nature: “there has been no evidence presented on behalf of the defendant in this case.”

After hearing both sides, Judge Weaver denied bond for Dickey agreeing that the burden of proof on the defense’s behalf had not been satisfied. Weaver added to this, “The issue of supervision has been in the Court’s mind during most of this hearing.”

Attorney Karen Shelley opted to not file a motion for a bond hearing at the time, leaving her client, accused 15 year old Hunter Hill to remain in a juvenile detention facility for the time being.

A third party in the group of juveniles accused, Levi Manuel, will have a preliminary hearing and possible bond hearing at a later date. This comes from Manuel recently switching his legal representation.

Attorney Bruce Harvey of Atlanta, Ga. will now represent Manuel in the McKinney murder trial. This move came as a surprise to the court and to Manuel’s previous council attorney Andrew Wehunt.

Judge Weaver noted that while she had received Harvey’s appearance filing that she did not see a withdraw from Wehunt, and thought that Wehunt might have been taken off guard by this move.

Harvey, the high profile Atlanta based attorney, has represented his fair share of clients in Manuel’s position and was already making moves in the courtroom as he asked for a delay in Manuel’s first appearance / bond hearing.

According to Harvey, Manuel’s previous council had filed a motion for a psychological and competency evaluation to find out if the boy was capable of standing trial. This evaluation was never completed and Harvey felt that moving forward without this information would not be in his or his client’s best interest.

Judge Weaver along with District Attorney Sosebee agreed to have this testing done and postpone the first appearance hearing. Manuel’s hearing has tentatively been moved to take place on Feb. 18, 2019.

You can read more on the McKinney Murder Case by following the links below:

Fatal Shooting in Fannin County

Details Emerge Surrounding Murder Case in Fannin County

Two More Arrested in McKinney Murder Case

McKinney Murder. What Happened That Night. FYN Exclusive Interview With Survivor Anna Franklin

“Pop and Rob”: McKinney Murder Motive Revealed By Prosecution

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

Author

Natalie Kissel

Natalie@FetchYourNews.com

“Pop and Rob”: McKinney murder motive revealed by prosecution

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Blue Ridge, Ga. – The prosecution painted a picture of what took place in the early morning hours of Dec. 4, 2018 that left one Fannin County resident, Justin McKinney, dead and another, Anna Franklin, seriously injured.

According to the state’s findings, the McKinney murder was not a case of revenge but rather a cold blooded, premeditated murder, in which the juveniles involved intended to “pop and rob” the victims.

Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI) Special Agent Jamie Abercrombie was assigned to the case when Captain Justin Turner of the Fannin County Sheriff’s Office (FCSO) contacted GBI for assistance with the murder.

Special Agent Abercrombie recalled listening to the 911 call placed by victim Anna Franklin the night of the murder.

“Hunter Hill and Blake Dickey were at her (Franklin’s) residence at the time of the shooting,” Abercrombie said recollecting Franklin’s initial call for help, “and that is how I first learned of Mr. Hill and Dickey.”

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, Special Agent, Jamie Abercrombie, Dustin Hamby, Captain, Justin Turner, Investigator, John Arp, Chief Deputy, Major Keith Bosen, Elrod Lane, Maple Grove Road, Chase Havard, Kevin Shamaty, Lakota Cloer, Levi Manuel

Accused Hunter Hill (15) and Blake Dickey (15) set in a Fannin County Courtroom at a previous appearance.

Both Dickey and Hill knew the victim McKinney well and had been to his home on numerous occasions to buy marijuana.

The scene at 135 Elrod Lane in Morganton, Ga. was laid out, as Abercrombie described walking into the single-wide trailer. The kitchen and living room had an open floor plan and there was a bedroom located on either side of this main area.

After walking up the ramp that led to the front door, Abercrombie said of what she saw when she entered the home, “Mr. McKinney was deceased in the floor of the kitchen area and the wood-stove area.”

There was a single spent 410 shotgun shell located at the scene, and this was the weapon used on McKinney. According to Abercrombie, “He had been shot in the back of the head.”

Franklin who had already been taken to the hospital had been shot through the arm, which she had used to shield her face during the attack, and the bullet, unable to be removed, remains in her neck.

Two .25 caliber shell casings were found at the crime scene. These belonged to the weapon used to attack Anna Franklin.

Abercrombie later learned that a third resident of the home had been present the night of the shooting. Donald Majors was asleep in the second bedroom when the shooting occurred, but having drank heavily before retiring Majors did not even know a shooting had occurred.

“They (FCSO) woke him up. He was asleep in his room and law enforcement woke him up,” Abercrombie told the story of Majors being unable to provide any details of the night during her interview process.

Abercrombie, along with GBI Special Agent Dustin Hamby, located both Dickey and Hill at Fannin County High School the next day, and by coordinating with school staff were able to apprehend the two fifteen year olds in the principal’s office and take them in for questioning.

“He was not truthful with me in the beginning,” Abercrombie said of her interview with Dickey.

After a short time Dickey did tell his story of the night and admitted that he had been the one to kill McKinney with the shotgun. Dickey stated to Abercrombie that they had planned it out and that they had planned to shoot both McKinney and Franklin.

Dickey did claim that the killing was done out of revenge. According to Dickey, McKinney had been selling Hill’s older brother, Logan Hill, methamphetamine (meth) and that Logan had become severely addicted and was injecting the drug.

This addiction had left Logan hospitalized, and McKinney was the one who provided the meth. Dickey was the only juvenile involved that Abercrombie heard this motive from at that time.

Hill who was interviewed by Special Agent Hamby backed up Dickey’s recollection of events, and both boys were arrested on the spot.

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, Special Agent, Jamie Abercrombie, Dustin Hamby, Captain, Justin Turner, Investigator, John Arp, Chief Deputy, Major Keith Bosen, Elrod Lane, Maple Grove Road, Chase Havard, Kevin Shamaty, Lakota Cloer, Levi Manuel

District Attorney B. Alison Sosebee at a previous appearance with defendant Lakota Cloer (16) present.

When left alone with FCSO Chief Deputy, Major Keith Bosen, Hill is noted as claiming if given the chance, he would do it again.

Dickey also mentioned that 16 year old Lakota Cloer had driven them to the residence on Elrod Lane. This was the first mention of someone other than Dickey and Hill being involved, but more would come forward that would implicate Cloer as well.

Another individual came forward on night of Wednesday Dec. 5, 2018. Chase Havard voluntarily arrived at the Fannin County Sheriff’s Office and told staff that he had information regarding the McKinney murder.

Abercrombie said, “Havard provided a written statement.” The Special Agent also told about how Havard shed light onto the shooter of Franklin.
Havard was visiting a friend, Kevin Shamaty, who resided at the Cloer residence on Dec. 3. It was during this visit that Havard recalled Hill, Dickey, Cloer and another individual, 15 year old Levi Manuel, were discussing the plans to “pop and rob” McKinney.

According to the interview with Havard, Hill said that the four were “going to rob someone who had marijuana and pills” and asked Havard if he wanted in. Hill also told Havard that they were going to shoot everyone there and take whatever they have.

Havard declined and left with friend Shamaty to go to Walmart. Shamaty received a call later that night in the early morning hours of Dec. 4 from Cloer. Cloer stated that he was on Maple Grove Road and was in need of gas.

Havard and Shamaty drove to meet Cloer and gave him gas for his truck. Cloer was by himself and told Havard that he had dropped off Hill, Dickey and Manuel on Elrod Lane.

Having not heard from Manuel, Havard and Cloer went to look for the three. Shamaty parked at a church and waited for Havard to return.

As Havard walked down Elrod Lane, he says that he saw a light and heard “it’s me” in a voice that he recognized as Manuel.

Once back to Cloer’s truck the juveniles, along with Havard, met Shamaty and proceeded back to the Cloer residence.

“Mr. Hill had made statements that everyone was dead,” Abercrombie recalled Havard’s testimony. Havard also stated that Manuel made comments that he had unloaded a clip into the girl and that Hill, who was last out of the residence, stated that he had finished Franklin off and killed Majors.
The boys at this point believed that everyone in the home was deceased.

Havard stated that Manuel was the one who had the .25 caliber handgun, and admitted that he had advised Cloer to dispose of the weapon.

Cloer attempted to scratch off the serial numbers on the handgun before getting rid of the weapon. Shamaty then drove Havard and Cloer to the “cliffs at Nottely Lake” where Cloer threw the gun into the water.

Havard later took FCSO Investigator John Arp and GBI Special Agent Abercrombie to Nottely Lake and showed where the handgun had been thrown. With the help of divers the gun was recovered.

The shotgun was also recovered. Manuel who was residing at the Cloer residence at the time of the murder, gave investigators the gun which had been hidden between the mattresses in his bedroom.

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, Special Agent, Jamie Abercrombie, Dustin Hamby, Captain, Justin Turner, Investigator, John Arp, Chief Deputy, Major Keith Bosen, Elrod Lane, Maple Grove Road, Chase Havard, Kevin Shamaty, Lakota Cloer, Levi Manuel

Accused Levi Manuel (15) and Lakota Cloer (16) at previous hearing regarding McKinney murder case.

Manuel was later interviewed and told his side of the events that night. He claimed to not know Justin McKinney.

Stepping outside briefly after the three boys entered the home, Manuel said that he heard a gunshot, and rushed back inside. Once inside he saw Dickey standing over McKinney’s body.

At this point Manuel says that he aimed his gun above Anna Franklin and shot. Manuel admits to having shot the gun more than once. According to Abercrombie, Manuel claims “they got scared and ran out and forgot to take anything”.

Much like the Manuel and Havard account, Cloer paints Hill as the mastermind behind the crime, saying that Hill presented the entire idea and said that he knew someone they could “pop and rob”.

According to Abercrombie, Cloer also stated that “Mr. Dickey follows whatever Mr. Hill does”.

“Mr. Cloer knew that pop meant to kill and Mr. Hill made statements they would kill him (McKinney) and take what he had,” Abercrombie told of Cloer’s testimony and added that the boys had intended to steal marijuana and pills.

Cloer says that Hill never mentioned his brother, Logan Hill, never mentioned revenge and did not show any anger about McKinney.

According to Abercrombie, “Mr. Cloer stated that Mr.Hill stated that his motive was specifically to rob McKinney and kill him.”

Cloer admitted to his involvement saying that he did give Manuel the handgun that he later tried to alter and dispose of, and that he was also the driver that dropped the boys off.

After the testimony of GBI Special Agent Abercrombie was complete, Appalachian Judicial Circuit Superior Court Judge Brenda Weaver made the ruling to move forward with the charges against Hill, Dickey, Cloer and Manuel: “The Court does find that probable cause has been established.”

The charges against the accused include Malice Murder, Felony Murder, Aggravated Assault, and Aggravated Battery.

A search warrant was obtained for the 135 Elrod Lane where the crime took place. Marijuana was the only illegal substance found at the home. The juveniles remain in custody awaiting trial.

 

You can read more about the McKinney murder case by following the links below:

Fatal Shooting in Fannin County

Details Emerge Surrounding Murder Case in Fannin County

Two More Arrested in McKinney Murder Case

McKinney Murder. What Happened That Night. FYN Exclusive Interview With Survivor Anna Franklin

 

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

Additional charges filed in McKinney murder case

Community, Featured Stories, News

Blue Ridge, Ga. – Additional charges will be faced in the murder of Justin McKinney and the assault of Anna Franklin.

Three of the 4 juvenile suspects charged in connection with the crimes that took place in the early morning hours of Dec. 4, 2018 appeared in Fannin County Superior Court on Monday, Jan. 7 for another first appearance hearing regarding new charges.

Fifteen year old Hunter Hill, 15 year old Dalton Manuel and 16 year old Lakota Cloer were all present with individual legal representation to hear the charges that they will now be facing.

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, Karen Shelley

Accused LaKota Cloer and Dalton Manuel sit with legal representatives as new charges are read.

Fifteen year old Blake Dickey (AKA Blake Dye) was not present as his lawyer, Defense Attorney David Farnham, was out of state and unable to attend. Farnham waived his client’s right to this first appearance.

Originally Cloer’s attorney had filed a motion for the appearance to be a preliminary hearing as well as bond hearing. After discovery of the new charges, however, Cloer’s attorney opted to keep these motions filed but move the hearings to a later date.

Emotions were high in the courtroom as family members of the victims as well as the accused were present. Not present was alleged victim Anna Franklin.

“She (Franklin) was notified of the proceedings,” District Attorney B. Alison Sosebee said explaining the absence of Franklin to the court. “She is not present today. She did decline to appear.”

Appalachian Judicial Circuit Superior Court Judge Brenda Weaver told those attendance the reasoning for the day’s hearing, ” One of the purposes of a first appearance, of course, is to allow the defendants to know what they are being charged with.”

Weaver then proceeded to read the charges against the teens. In the first warrants served in Fannin County for the year of 2019 all four suspects will be facing the same charges “individually and as a party to the crime”. These charges include:

1. One count of malice murder
2. One count of felony murder
3. One count of aggravated assault
4. One count of aggravated battery

Felony murder entails a murder that is committed during the process of another felony. Having initially been charged with only malice murder, the added charge of felony murder came after charges concerning the aggravated assault and battery of Franklin were added.

Weaver gave detail into the additional charges stating that aggravated assault is “when said accused assaulted Anna Franklin with a deadly weapon” and that aggravated battery is due to the extent of harm Franklin had received “by rendering a member of her body, her left arm, useless.”

Franklin who was shot during the Dec. 4 altercation deflected the bullet by throwing up her arm in a defensive manner. The bullet entered and exited the arm before entering Franklin’s face and becoming lodged in the neck.

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, Karen Shelley

Accused Hunter Hill listens to new charges in McKinney murder case.

In the state of Georgia malice murder means the intent to take a life without legal justification or mitigation. In this case the State does not need to prove a motive in order to obtain a conviction but instead will attempt to show that the person accused deliberately intended to take another person’s life.

Foreshadowing came to the future direction of the trial as Defense Attorney Karen Shelley, representing accused Hunter Hill, objected to media presence in the courtroom.

“I would ask the court to perhaps consider less media coverage because of the delicate nature,” Shelley presented her reason for objection, stating that the accused in this case are all juveniles and that media coverage could prematurely sway public opinion.

Ultimately, Sheley’s request that her client not be photographed or recorded was denied with Weaver stating that the hearing was “open to the public” and the media would not be providing information that was not readily available for anyone in attendance.

“There’s going to be a venue objection when we go to trial on this matter,” Shelley stated of Weaver’s ruling, “if the media is covering this case, which the community is already began to cover.”

The defendants were dismissed with Weaver stating of their rights that all accused “are presumed to be innocent until such time that they are found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.”

A Grand Jury is expected to convene on Feb.18, 2019. The motion for a preliminary hearing and bond hearing could take place before this date.

 

Additional Articles Related to McKinney Murder Trial:

Details emerge surrounding murder case in Fannin County

Fatal Shooting in Fannin County

Two more arrested in McKinney murder case

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

 

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

Author

Natalie Kissel

Natalie@FetchYourNews.com

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