Jury deliberates in Balfour case and other news from areas around Chattanooga

Jury deliberates in Balfour case and other news from areas around Chattanooga

December 19th, 2013 by Staff Reports and Associated Press in Local Regional News

Jury deliberates in Balfour case

ATLANTA - After about three days of testimony, the fate of a Georgia state lawmaker accused of inaccurately claiming mileage and expenses from the state rests with a jury.

Sen. Don Balfour was indicted in September on felony charges of making a false certificate, theft by taking and a count of false statement and writing. He is accused of illegally claiming legislative expense and mileage pay and double-billing the state and his private employer for some expenses.

The Snellville Republican took the stand Wednesday and told jurors the state overestimated how much he owed. He said there were many days when he was doing state work and didn't claim a legislative per diem as he could have.

Sheriff's patrols to be increased

BRADLEY COUNTY, Tenn. - Bradley County Sheriff's Office Capt. W.G. Campbell announced Wednesday plans to increase patrols throughout the county this weekend to deter serious injury and fatal crashes.

Campbell, who supervises the traffic unit, said the effort involves his personnel and the entire patrol division. Some deputies will be compensated for overtime hours through a state grant awarded for the enforcement initiative.

"Bradley County has the opportunity to end the year with the fewest number of traffic fatalities in more than 20 years if we can get everyone to be careful and obey traffic laws," Campbell said. "Last year we lost 24 people in traffic crashes. As we head into the last weekend before Christmas, the fatality count for this year stands at seven."

Statistics going back to 1994 show the county recorded 10 fatalities in the years of 1995, 1999 and 2005. Those years shared the lowest number of roadway deaths during the period.

Nude teen photos spark investigation

LAWRENCEVILLE, Ga. - State agents are investigating social media accounts on which nude photos of metro Atlanta teenagers are being shared.

Georgia Bureau of Investigation Special Agent Debbie Garner tells WSB-TV that the agency is gathering information from the accounts and trying to get the photographs removed.

Posts on Twitter and Instagram mention Gwinnett County. The Atlanta station reports that students whose photos are online appear to come from several Gwinnett County high schools.

Garner said it's possible the girls willingly allowed the photos without realizing where they would end up.

Facebook threat case retired

COLUMBIA, Tenn. - A prosecutor has decided not to pursue terrorism charges against a Tennessee man who wrote on Facebook last year that he felt like going on a rampage like the one at a school in Newtown, Conn.

Prosecutor Kyle Dodd told The Daily Herald that he didn't feel like there was enough evidence to move forward with the case against 20-year-old Shawn Lenz.

Lenz was arrested on Dec. 16, 2012, two days after the school shooting in which 20 first-graders and six adults were killed.

Dodd said Tuesday that he decided to retire the case for the next year, meaning the charges won't be actively pursued unless reactivated for some reason. If that doesn't happen, the case will be dismissed on Dec. 17, 2014.