July 21, 2012

Accused former professor pleads not guilty

From Staff Reports

— A former Dalton State College professor indicted by a Whitfield County grand jury on multiple counts of child molestation and rape pleaded not guilty on Friday.

Monte Gale Salyer was indicted on six counts of aggravated child molestation, four counts of child molestation, two counts of rape and one count of statutory rape. The alleged offenses occurred over a period of years involving three individuals, District Attorney Bert Poston has previously said. Poston said on Friday that calendar call, when attorneys say whether the case is ready for trial, is scheduled for Sept. 7, with trial set for Sept. 17.

Salyer was an associate professor of English and English as a Second Language at the college. He was placed on leave from teaching after the charges were filed. A college spokeswoman said he later resigned.

A sheriff’s office investigation found Salyer allegedly molested an 8-year-old relative and two other children he befriended at church.

• Also in court Friday, a Tennessee man charged with murdering a retired Tennessee state trooper and trying to cover it up with arson pleaded not guilty. Daniel Hank Yokley, 52, of Winchester, was charged with three counts of murder, aggravated battery, robbery and first degree arson in the 2008 death of William “B.J.” or “Billy” Malone. Malone was 88 and lived at 3983 Chattanooga Road above Tunnel Hill.

Poston said calendar call for Yokley is also set for Sept. 7 with trial to start on Sept. 17.

Malone had rented a residence to Yokley in Tennessee, said investigators with the sheriff’s office and the Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI).

A fire at Malone’s home on April 28, 2008, was put out by the Whitfield County Fire Department and Malone’s body was discovered, according to a story at the time in The Daily Citizen. Examiners found that Malone had a large laceration and some facial fractures that were inconsistent with a fall, said Capt. Rick Swiney with the sheriff’s office.

Swiney said after Yokley’s arrest that evidence was uncovered linking him to the crime. Investigators Dan Sims with the GBI and Detective Jeff Wells of the sheriff’s office believed robbery was the motive and that the residence was set on fire in an attempt to cover up the homicide.